All the Fun of the Art Fair

Two weeks ago The Other Art Fair, presented by Saatchi Art, opened in west London. It was a massively instructive, inspiring, tiring and insightful experience! Here are the highlights...

The day before, I'd travelled into London with the artworks and delivered them to the fair location, The Truman Brewery in Shoreditch - a very funky part of town that always leaves me feeling rather drab by comparison to the hipster locals!

The next day, Thursday morning, I and 139 other emerging artists, set-about unwrapping artworks and hanging them on our stands. After hours of lifting and adjusting, the show opened at 3pm for the private view which ended at 9pm - a long day to be greeting people and explaining the work.

The next day, the show opened at 1pm and ended at 10pm! I'm normally in bed by then so, I was pooped by the end! However, there were enlivening moments when two people separately lingered to tell me that mine was the only stand they stopped at in the whole show because it was the only work they saw as unique and sincere. You can imagine how much this meant to me. You see, the fair was full of high impact, high key work and the First Impressions series is very subtle and rests on it's meaning rather than the ka-pow factor. So, I had wondered if anyone would notice it. They weren't the only ones to say that the subtle, textural quality of the pieces is their virtue - many art students came and expressed that opinion.

On Saturday, the show opened at 11am and ended at 7pm - a lot more tolerable timetable but, feet and back were certainly aching by then. This was the day that two of the series were acquired in the same hour! The first piece, "Topography of Hurt" is the by-line for the series and the most quintessential example of the idea. I'm so glad it sold first and to a lovely lady from Buckinghamshire who collects art and who connected to the piece and the meaning because of a family member. 

The second piece to go was taken by the delightful artist Penny, from Devon, who immediately sensed the emotion in the work, who loved the subtle texture, and with whom I had a long conversation about family hurt and the crumples it leaves behind - so gratifying! I named the piece in her honour - "Penny's Life".  Of course, it's especially flattering when a fellow artist chooses your work.

On Sunday, the piece most eye-catching, "Far From Black & White" (not shown on the website) was acquired by a tall, handsome, sensitive man who took the pice all the way back to California, and his husband, to their new home in LA. I'm international! And finally, "Pink Baby Skin", which was auctioned for charity, was acquired by a distinguished gentleman, Wayne, who loved the colour and immediately understood the idea behind the work as he'd been a headmaster and said he could tell those children who'd been crumpled as they arrived at school. 

Amid the moments when people found the work worthy of purchase, I had innumerable conversations with people who sensed the mental angst represented in the series and, when they read about it (in a flyer given to visitors) they connected even more deeply. I can't tell you how much this meant to me. It was a risk to take this meaning-driven, abstract work on paper (the only example at the fair) to a place with a crowd largely enamoured by figural paintings on canvas. But, I'm so glad I backed myself, my idea and the people it represents. One fine young man looked at "Brown Skin" and said it was how he felt inside...nothing could be more worthwhile, for an artist, than to uniquely represent a part of the human condition without words.

If you weren't able to make the fair, here's a wrap-up of the event with a taste of the atmosphere...

 Thanks for your ongoing support...more news to come...