There’s something about the word ‘art’ that, I think, can be quite intimidating. I’ve been involved in many discussions over the years, where various folk after various dinners have attempted to answer ‘what actually IS art? And usually, depending on the amount of wine that’s been consumed, this descends into a muddled argument where no one seems to be able to agree and one smartypants will pipe up saying that they could paint like Pollock when they were 3 and what’s the big deal anyway?
You could be forgiven for thinking that the art scene is occupied only by the very wealthy and knowledgeable, and that unless you have a pad in Mayfair and you can speak French fluently (unless you are French – this idea totally doesn’t work if you’re French. Please substitute with a different language. But not English. That doesn’t work either) you couldn’t possibly penetrate it, or hope to be able to invest in a piece for your own living room wall.
But you’d be very, very wrong indeed.
The Affordable Art Fair, (which is back this weekend in Battersea Park) is an art fair like no other and has revolutionised and democratised the art market with its fun, open, very un-scary and accessible approach. Works are available to buy from hundreds of emerging and already established artists… and every single piece is priced between GBP100 and GBP5000. In addition to these artists, there will also be art displayed and available to buy from emerging talent in their specially created Recent Graduates’ Exhibition, which I love. It’s hard getting your foot on the first rung in any industry, but we all know that the arts are notoriously difficult. What an incredible opportunity this is for new artists!
“Exploring work from emerging artists at the very start of their careers can be an exciting way to find pieces for lower price points – buying work by artists who are just starting out not only means you’re potentially backing a future superstar, but also means you’re providing early-career artists with the financial support that will allow them to continue developing their practice in the future. But, ultimately, if you buy what you love you can’t go far wrong!”
– Will Ramsay, Founder, Affordable Art Fair
If like me, you quite fancy making a savvy investment but you can imagine yourself going to the fair, staring at all the art and not having a scoobydo what you should be looking for, brilliantly the Affordable Art Fair’s experts will be on hand to share their top tips on how to spot a piece of art that has the potential to rise in value.
And for a little pre-fair prep, here are some top tips from Fair Director, Luci Noel:
“When you find a piece you are drawn to think about the next steps. Talk to the gallerist at the fair to find out more about the piece and the artist. There are a few key questions you can ask that will give you a good idea of whether the piece might be a good investment for the future:
- Where the artist studied and how widely they have exhibited since graduating – an artist who is really committed to their own career will have the tenacity to keep going through the tough years
- Whether they have been picked up by significant collectors/collections
- How well their work has sold or if they have won any prizes – a piece by an artist whose work is already in demand is far more likely to bring you a good return on your investment”
– Luci Noel, Fair Director, Affordable Art Fair
The fair isn’t just about buying art – it’s also about jumping into the world of art and having a go! There are all kinds of workshops, talks and tours and you can find all of them on the Affordable Art Fair’s website. There are drawing classes where you can have a crack at drawing some ‘strange fruit’ a print studio to get down and dirty in ad Sunday Sofa Sessions in the Talks Lounge. There’s plenty for families and kiddiwinks too – it really is a celebration of art and is open to everyone.
I recently moved house, which has been the biggest investment of my life. LM and I wandered the streets of London for months trying to find the place that we would call our home for the next few years (at least…)
Although we wanted to make a savvy investment, we also knew that we had to fall in love with the house too. Most importantly, this would be somewhere we adored, felt happy in and wanted to invite our friends and family round to eat biscuits and sing silly songs. (Just us?) (Or rather, just me?) The investment part was almost secondary, although of course we wanted to be mindful of it and not make a bad financial decision. And the very same should apply to art, I think. Although you may have your investing hat on when you visit the fair, try to make sure you love it too.
You may love it so much that you never want to sell it… and that, I would argue, would become one of the most satisfying and wonderful investments you ever made.
Affordable Art Fair Battersea
20 – 23 October 2016
Buy tickets here.
This post was sponsored by Affordable Art Fair and all thoughts and opinions are my own.