The last few months have been quite busy for Bruno Pacheco. His usual tasks - painting and a part-time job in a primary school - have doubled. He has not been able to dedicate much time to painting because he was too occupied getting everything ready to move to his new studio and looking for a space to show his work.
"Packing the paintings and the material has been hard. But finding a gallery space was a nightmare," he says. "Galleries don't want to show the work of artists who have never shown before. You are lucky if they take five minutes to look at your portfolio."
These comments are not exceptional. Fine-art graduates invariably face this straightjacket: they must produce work while trying to pay back their student loans. The caution and sometimes complete lack of interest shown by galleries can be devastating.
The situation these artists experience contrasts with the glitzier end of the British art scene, particularly in London. Recent exhibitions at the Tate Modern and the ICA present London as the capital of the art world.
The works of the young British artists (YBAs) are auctioned in New York along with Rauchenbergs and Kleins. There are even plans to immortalise the British art world, and top YBA personalities, in a film that will trace the stellar ascensions of Damien Hirst, Tracey Emin, Gary Hume and others from the 1988 show, Freeze.
The top-end of the market is buoyant. But what about the future? Does the increase in the number of galleries, greater public interest and the extra pounds 125m over the last three years in the Arts Council's budget assure continuity? Do new artists benefit in any way from this?
Commercial galleries rarely offer space to artists who haven't already achieved some degree of recognition. Public galleries tend to go for the safe option, as Kristy Ogg, curator at the Showroom, confesses: "We try to show young and emerging artists who have been showing a little bit." It's the same story for Tamsin Dillon, of Chisenhale: "We exhibit emerging artists with previous shows due to the difficulty of the space."
Matt's Gallery seems to be a different case. "I show good work, made by young or old artists," says Robin Klassnik, director of the gallery since it opened 21 years ago. The last show featured the work of Nathaniel Mellors, a student at the Royal College of Art.
The British art scene, according to Klassnik, has not changed much in the last decade. "It has always been difficult to show," he says. "There are never going to be enough galleries for the amount of artists that are being trained. …