So it was with much excitement that we jumped on the early train from the North to sample the delights of the 2018 Affordable Arts Fair in Battersea. As usual this world wide phenomena will feature over 100 galleries and quite literally thousands of pieces of art for all to fall in love with. Landmark Street Art is all about great street art, but that is by no means all we do and our links with contemporary artists and the contemporary arts market means we always look to see what is out there. We are not exhibiting here (but watch this space for news on where will be later on in the year!) and I am desperately trying to go and be subjective and not spend money, however with the quality of art that the galleries present usually means I live in little hope of not being one of the many who will be walking away with that ‘new purchase’ grin!
New fair director Lucinda Costello only joined the team in January so this is her chance, as she puts it, to “kick off the year of fairs with another art filled extravaganza in beautiful Battersea’. The idea being to provide a fair that is focused on quality but also price points that don’t exclude the masses. After all art in all its forms should be about the many, no one is that interested in having amazing work locked up in bank vaults knowing it is purely owned as an investment. In the words of the leading interior design tastemaker ‘Mad About The House’… “trust your instinct - buy what speaks to you and what you love” A great stance that, thankfully, doesn’t feature the words ‘investment’ or ‘return.’
What will you see when you go to the fair I hear you say? Well the truth is it’s pretty tame and street art doesn't feature at all but dodge the prams and there is an amazing array of work and each gallery brings its own slant and selection to the table. Why I love fairs so much (apart from being an industry geek!) is that while checking out whats going down and seeing up close and personal pieces I know and love…I get to be wowed and surprised by new emergent artists and see first hand pieces I have previously only seen on a screen. For instance this year I finally got to see some work by Dan Hillier, I have followed him for several years and been agog at the beauty and intricacy of his prints while seeing him produce them on Instagram ( Dan Hillier Instagram ) but they look so different both in scale and of course the nuances of texture, finish and detail as well as the relationship between the frame and the piece itself. And I am very glad to say, his work didn’t disappoint!
So with a strict policy that means galleries have to stick to a price point that offers nothing priced over £6000 and that 75% off the work on any stand must be less than £4000 you will have plenty to tempt you. The vast majority of things I saw were between £250 and £2000 and with lots of galleries, like us, offering the Own Art scheme from Arts Council England, (click here for more info) offering 0% interest and zero deposit … you owe it to your eyes, your walls and your soul to make a purchase!
Over all, although it is not strictly our sort of fair, I am very happy I went and to finish with here are my favourite finds!
I’m always a sucker for text! This piece by James Joyce really jumped off the wall, a lot of fun!
This stunning installation of works by Johan Thunell from Sweden was a site! Standing staring at them staring back at me, brilliant!
These small character studies by Mattias Sammekull , also Swedish, look like they could have been painted in a previous century and I found myself totally captivated by the characters in them.
Jenny Boot never fails to deliver and her large scale photographs could stop traffic. “Alexandra” with her bullet necklace definitely