Caption: ‘Fuck you CSM- I cut myself too deep, my cuts wont’t stop bleeding. But luckily a guy at waitrose bondaged me up. so my day is just going FINE.’ (Message found on the back door of one of the ‘non gendered’ loos of Central Sanit Martins).
How much an artist has to have suffered to be an artist?
After a good walk into Central Saint Martins spaces for an afternoon, a clear answer to this question might arrive.
In terms of style, there is nothing to say, creatives at CSM look cool! But what lays behind all the dyed hair, fancy make up, exaggerated clothes from Renaissance to perversion or military service inspiration?
The heavily eccentric and extremely colourful (or very dark) appearance, that makes them all similarly different, clearly translates an unstable psychological condition and a dramatic suffering situation.
It might seems dramatic, but it is probably not, at least not for the future public. Artists and virtuous creatives have always been troubled: Les Poètes Maudits described by Verlaine wrote marvellous poems under the influence of drugs and alcohol that they were taking to forget their miserable condition, Van Gogh left to the posterity outstanding canvas, simply as a result of his totally distraught mind; and even the wise Seneca cut his veins after having left some of the most important philosophical reflections of the antiquity.
‘Bad childhood good artist: good childhood bad artist’
stated Marina Abramovich, in a recent interview with Monocle. The amazing warrior-artist from former Yugoslavia explained how being lonely, emotional and melancholic, has been the only way for her o succeed in the world of art. Examples of this genre could be infinite, see Alexander McQueen case, that unfortunately ended in a more tragic way (but has started at CSM…).
From the outside the Temple of Granary Square is the place to be, the place to look at for future fashions, the non plus ultra of creative avant-garde; but from the inside, through critical and disenchanted eyes, it is a disquieting environment, a distorted reality pervaded by a conformed nonconformism.
The total freedom given by this unique Academia is mainly an occasion for the at least 80% of disturbed students to express their darkest side, and to find a sort of redemption, a damn paradise, through Art.
As the greatest artists from the past have demonstrated, this is perhaps the best way to create genial outputs. So, let’s continue to believe in the CSM myth, but maybe let’s not hope to have our beloved studying there.