Young Ambassadors: The Something Else Collective | SUITCASE Magazine

When we first heard about The Something Else Collective here at SUITCASE, we thought it sounded a little too good to be true. It’s an artists’ collective, formed by Sascha Bailey, son of British photographer David Bailey, curating its first show featuring Sascha’s brother, Fenton, as well as Connor Hirst, son of Damien. Impressive.

The show, titled “The Route Less Travelled” opened  Thursday 1st May and features the work of eight artists, none of whom have received a formal education. We spoke to Sascha as well as co-curators and partners in The Something Else Collective, Lily Bloom and Connor Fitzgerald-Bond, about the exhibit and were astonished to discover that all are under the age of 21, making it all even more fascinating. Learn more:

SUITCASE Magazine: Tell us about The Something Else Collective. How did it come about?

THE SOMETHING ELSE COLLECTIVE: It was a natural progression as we were friends prior to launching The Something Else Collective.

SM: What artists have inspired you in this exhibition and in your everyday work?

SEC: Artists from all different fields have always surrounded us and we noticed a pattern in the struggles they faced in art education. We’ve been constantly inspired by each artist’s passion for their work and that’s pushed us forward.

SM: Do you think that unlike an academic subject, creative talent doesn’t necessarily need to be taught in an institution and can in-fact be self-created and developed? 

SEC: There’s always an element in the production of art that can be taught, but talent cannot. Art schools do have their place but it’s difficult to explore your creativity in a constrained environment.

SM: Aside from the fact the seven artists featured in “The Route Less Travelled” have not received a formal education, what are the other reasons they were chosen to showcase their work?

SEC: Their pure passion and love for their work.

SM: Do you find working on projects such as “The Route Less Travelled” with like-minded artists and creatives helps develop your ideas and work as opposed to working alone on individual projects? 

SEC: Definitely, the opportunity to learn from each other is always there, and we all have something unique to bring to the table so our ideas evolve together.

SM: What makes education feel insignificant to you and your needs? And what do you plan to do or recommend that others plan to do for development if education is not an option? 

SEC: We don’t feel it’s insignificant. It’s definitely important to know what you are doing and have a plan. The artists we’re working with decided to put everything they could into their art; some have worked part-time jobs to support themselves on this journey. This works for them as individuals and it shows in their art. We would never recommend either path as they both have their benefits.

SM: Is it questionable to state that education can often be a hindrance in the art and design industry? 

SEC: No, it can be a hindrance. It’s a complex issue as some can flourish in education, whilst others diminish.

SM: What are your thoughts on work experience and interning to get to where you need to be in the art world? 

SEC: We feel that all experience is good experience; but when you’re working for corporate giants for six months in return for a travel card and a line on your CV, it’s a bit excessive.

SM: How would you describe your work aesthetic? What are you currently working on? 

SEC: Fun, firm, and fair. Our heads are in “The Route Less Travelled” at the moment.

SM: You are all under the age of 21 and it’s truly remarkable that you’re working on a project of this scale. Do you think being ‘young ambassadors’ to the art world is important? Is it important for you to stay ‘in the loop’ with the new and upcoming in the art world? 

SEC: Yes, definitely. There are still many people our age who believe that the Mona Lisa is the only painting in the world. The worldview of ‘youths’ is changing but it needs to progress faster in order to recognise all the talent that’s out there. As young people, a project of this scale excites us, we’ve got so much to look forward to, and this is only the beginning. We’re at the centre of the loop and have our ears to the ground.

SM: You all come from such different aspects of the industry. Do you think this helps when you’re all developing ideas and bringing attributes to the table? 

SEC: We have three unique minds that are constantly on the go so there’s always someone to bounce off of and to question our ideas.

SM: How does it feel to be a part of the development of a new generation of artists? 

SEC: There’s so much excitement surrounding what we’re doing from both sides. We’re hoping to capture people’s imaginations and make them question what they know about art.

SM: Growing up with art in your blood, was it a natural progression to develop your career within the industry? 

Sascha Bailey: For me personally, the penny dropped when I was 11 years-old. I went along to the Frieze Art Fair with my dad who was taking pictures of the notable people there. At the time, I was obsessed with drawing manga so I decided to price my drawings and put them on the wall. I made £100 that day and realised this is what I had to do.

SM: Do you find it inspiring to work with family (like your brother, Fenton Bailey, who is featured in the exhibition) and friends? 

SB: Yes, I love it. A lot of the time, I get asked if it’s difficult but to me, anything worth doing isn’t easy.

SM: Are you inspired by your father’s work? 

SB: Yes, most definitely. His success is a constant inspiration.

Intro by Robin Reetz, @reetzrobin

Interview by Kelly Robinson

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