Words by Christina Sanders It was recently revealed that Charles Saatchi is launching his own televised talent contest, Saatchi's Best Of British, in order to discover the 'next big thing' for the UK art scene. It will be something like Next Top Model, but with more talent or a X-Factor for the art world. With those selected living together in a big house and attending Saatchi’s special art-school, with access to great studios and tutors for three months. Then at the end, he will export the winner’s work to a show he is organising in Russia. The announcement of this show has received a very mixed reception. Many bloggers and columnists are panning the idea as desperate and contrived. However, I do not think it is fair to dismiss Mr. Saatchi so quickly. Lets not forget that he has done a lot for modern art; just look at his new Kings Road gallery space, it is the largest completely free gallery in the country. He maybe a mega rich business man (who made his money advertising the Tories) but now, he is most definitely doing some good and giving something back. He has a great collection of art from around the world and unlike many collectors he is happy to share it with the public, for free! His website for artists, Saatchi Online, allows anyone to have their own profile, upload their works and even enter competitions to show in the main Saatchi Gallery in London. It has proved very successful with thousands upon thousands having signed up. It shows that Saatchi has already embraced one modern phenomenon, social networking, for arts gain – and look, the art world hasn’t collapsed because of it! Unlike many-a closed-minded art bore, all who are currently up in arms about this Saatchi/Reality TV travesty that is ruining art, I don't hate Saatchi, mainly because I understand that contemporary art is worthwhile. It drives me mad when people look at something and just because it isn't Jackson Pollock, they think it isn't any good. Have they forgotten that all the same things were said about those very artists who are now considered masters?  Anyone who hates something new and different coming along so much shouldn't consider themselves an art lover because good art is all about change and embracing the new! The artist who wins Saatchi’s Best Of British will undoubtedly get loads of publicity, having Charles promoting them will insure they become well known and sell their work. However a lot of commercial galleries are notoriously picky about the type of artists and art buyers that they wish to work with. Could being associated with a television show tarnish the image of ‘earnest arty-ness’ that a new artist has to have in order to be taken seriously? Look at the X-Factor; though it has created some stars, none are considered as respected musicians. For Best Of British though, the artist will be creating original works relying on their own aptitude and creativity, not re-hashing the work of other people. So hopefully genuine talent will shine through. Let us not forget that art is a business. Yes, it is about also a very personal thing for the individual artist, but, If you want to spend time making art and not working in a bar or shop to fund it, then you are going to need to make some money, normally by selling your work! It is a difficult time for all business at the moment, so surely any boost to someone starting out is a good thing! I respect many of the artists Saatchi has discovered and promoted, I have always been a fan of the Young British Artists (Damien Hirst, Tracey Emin, Sarah Lucas, Angus Fairhurst, Chapman Brothers etc) because they were (and occasionally still are) extremely exciting; they blew everything else out the water in the 1990s. However, recently Saatchi has been looking further afield for his talent. With shows from America, China and now the Middle East, I think it is a good thing he is turning his attention back to UK Artists, there are some very talented people in this country. For more information see the BBC press release: http://www.bbc.co.uk/pressoffice/pressreleases/stories/2009/01_january/25/saatchi.shtml And to enter go here: http://submityourart.princesstv.com