Working class art is 'undervalued' said Abingdon Studios owner

Blackpool artist Garth Gratrix presented an award for young creatives at the Saatchi gallery in London

Wednesday, 17th November 2021, 2:25 pm
Updated Wednesday, 17th November 2021, 3:34 pm

A Blackpool artist presented an award at a top London gallery - and took the opportunity to warn that the creative sector risks becoming less dynamic and diverse.

Garth Gratrix handed out £15,000 to young artists and curated an exhibition for The Robert Walters Group UK Young Artist of the Year..

The 37-year-old, who owns Abingdon Studios in Abingdon Street, Blackpool town centre, hopes more North West creatives will apply next year after seven of the 10 finalists were from London.

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Garth Gratrix, Blackpool born artist, presenting a £10,000 cheque to the winner of the Robert Walters Award for Young Artists 2021 at the Saatchi Gallery, London

The University of Central Lancashire graduate said the event, at the Saatchi gallery, was a 'real boost to aspirations and confidence' for early-career creatives.

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He said art is in danger of becoming more elitist, with the pandemic leaving working class artists feeling ‘undervalued and under supported'.

“Many creatives couldn’t even afford materials to bring ideas to life, let alone pay bills and rent,” Garth said.

“We were all told to rethink and retrain as if the problem was 'us' all this time.”

Garth raised over £60,000 for Fylde artists during the pandemic.