Entertainment behind the scenes
Lady luck – the artist’s main Muse?
OK, there are some artists out there who are considered to be pretty special. Michelangelo could carve a mean nude and Picasso was quite good at painting in blue. But visiting a new exhibition this week made me wonder whether the most important factor in an artist’s success or otherwise is none other than Lady Luck?
Mat Collishaw was part of the “Young British Artists” brat pack in the 1990s, and had a relationship with one of its leading lights Tracey Emin. Like his contemporaries, his art had the power to shock and disturb. His ideas, it seems to me, were no less interesting than his peers’, and his technical ability on a par. And yet, while Hirst, and to a lesser extent, Emin rose to superstardom and considerable wealth, others like Collishaw did not.
Hirst, in some ways, is the Warhol of his time, with a keen eye on what the media and collectors like Charles Saatchi can do for his profile. He is also seen by some as a genius who developed a new way of making art. Perhaps he deserves more credit than he tends to get for amassing a personal fortune estimated at over $250 million.
But at the same time the question lingers – is Hirst really any better than Collishaw, or, for that matter, any other of his contemporaries who have receded into relative obscurity? If not, then did he just get lucky?