Amateur vs. professional artist

Working as an (assistant) curator of contemporary art for the last few years and therefore dealing with many different kinds of artists, I started concerning myself with their attitude and what does it mean for the exhibition. Recently I did a show that raised a series of questions, which are the starting point of this research.

In my research, I want to be dealing with questions of where do self-taught/amateur artists come into the art world. Is there an exact point you can determine when an amateur advances to a professional? Does lacking formal training change the interpretation of the artwork on display? Is having an academic background even important? Can you learn a set of skills you need to be a successful artist, without going to art school? Moreover, how is your art validated? When does the stigma disappear? And when do curators come into that equation?


Jesih, N. (2016) Inhale/Exhale, Alga Gallery, Izola. Available at: (Accessed 16 December 2016).
Roelstraete, D. (2011) ‘We, the subjects of art’, The Exhibitionist, 4, pp. 13-16.
Sholette, G. (2005) ‘Heart of darkness: A Journey into the Dark Matter of the Art World’, in Hall, J., Stimson, B. and Tamiris Becker, L. (eds.) Visual Worlds. New York and London: Routledge, pp. 91-104.
Wali, A. (2002) Informal arts: finding cohesion, capacity and other cultural benefits in unexpected places. Available at: (Accessed: 4 December 2016).
Wallis, C. (2011) Arts policy library: informal arts. Available at: (Accessed: 4 December 2016).


1. featured image: personal archive

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