Left confused by how to ‘make it’ in the creative world without nepotism or financial backing, Calum Hall decided to become the vector between the creative and the commercial. He started Creative Debuts to do just that, and has created a platform that showcases young and emerging talent from around the world, and has even gained accolades such as being one of Forbes 30 under 30. We chat to Calum about the Creative Debut’s journey, and why institutions need to do more to support young people!
What was the inspiration behind Creative Debuts?
Growing up in a working-class single-parent household in Northumberland, it wasn’t a surprise that my fellow A level Art students and I had no idea how people make it in the art world. However I was surprised when I moved to London for Uni to discover it wasn’t just a problem for a rural community in the northeast of England but in fact, a systemic problem affecting so many talented emerging artists from all over the world. What I felt was needed was a vehicle to be the bridge between the creative and commercial worlds, with a focus on celebrating and supporting artists from marginalised communities. Creative Debuts does this through an artwork subscription service, bespoke projects, events and no strings attached grants.
Why is it important for you to support emerging creatives?
I can’t really think of it being any other way. I have always believed in fighting for the underdog and It’s especially important to be aware of one’s privilege and do everything we can to best champion those who don’t yet have a seat at the table.
The incredible talent I see daily and the stories that are being told through these artworks are inspiring and deserve to be celebrated. But what matters to me are the people that make these artworks. Creative Debuts has always been so proud of the community that shows us love and comes to our events and we are privileged to be able to team up with so many amazing artists
How can companies and institutions do more to support young creatives?
Cash = king. We currently have 3 no strings attached grants (The Black Artists Grant, Working-class Writers Grant and the Digital Artists Grant with Moniker Foundation) – we are always open to additional sponsors and more grant opportunities. If grants aren’t for you, but you have some nice blank walls, we would love to talk!
There's a lot of disparity in the art and creative worlds, how would you like to see the industry change in the future?
The art world unfortunately is a mirror image of the injustices faced across all aspects of society. Especially that which is poisoned by privilege and entitlement (look no further than the UK Government). I would like to live in a fairer society where love is prioritised over profit and all artists have equal opportunities and access.
What advice would you give to anyone starting a creative platform?
Have a mission you believe in.
What's your career highlight?
Leaving my full-time job to become Creative Debuts full time. That was the drea, and everything since then has been a bonus!
What bit of career advice would you give your 18-year-old self?
The journey is the film.