University of Sussex: BA Media Practice
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The Young Creatives

The Young Creatives

Joel O’Neill

‘The Young Creatives’ is a visual exploration into modern conceptions of the ‘starving artist’. Once a typical figure of Romanticism in the late 18th and early 19th centuries in paintings and works of literature, such depictions usually presented the ‘starving artist’ as living a bohemian, antibourgeois lifestyle – independent, and defiant towards societal norms and conventions. Simultaneously, they also revealed the oppressive attitude of society towards them by conveying the poverty and subsequent existential fears of such artists.

Today, such romantic depictions of the subject have disappeared and have been replaced by the perspective that the ‘starving artist’ is simply a myth to those who simply haven’t worked hard enough to achieve their creative goals. In observing that the barriers to entry in creative fields has been raised increasingly higher, this project attempts to convey what a young ‘starving artist’ in today’s society looks like. Focusing on subjects that are at a budding stage in their careers within the creative arts, this series of photographs presents the spectator with each artist’s own individual plight; individual personal stories about the difficulty in being able to establish a career in a society where paid creative opportunities are difficult to come by.