From 10 to 13 March, Battersea Power Station will host the Affordable Art Fair, an egalitarian and approachable entree to the art world.
In 1999, gallery owner and art enthusiast Will Ramsay wanted to find a way to democratize art and make the process of buying and selling art accessible to people from all walks of life. To satiate these desires, Ramsay founded the Affordable Art Fair (AAF)- a place for artists and gallery owners to sell their works to everyday people for affordable prices. What started as a single fair at Battersea in 1999 has blossomed into a phenomenon in both Britain and the international community. The fair has traveled to Amsterdam, New York, Seoul, Stockholm, Hong Kong and Bristol, to name a few host cities.
This week, the much anticipated fair has come is taking up residence at the Battersea Power Station. This will be the seventeenth year the park has hosted the AAF. The event features work from 116 contemporary galleries from across the world and 1,100 artists. In keeping with the original mission, prices are affordable- all works range from £100 to £5,000, making it the perfect place for those just starting out or those wishing to build their collections.
The mix of art is eclectic; there is something here for people of all different tastes and predilections. Inventive sculptures stand next to grungy photography and serene landscapes hang walls away from diverse portraits and contemporary paintings that are sometimes bold, sometimes obscene and sometimes nostalgic.
Local, national and international galleries are represented at the fair, contributing to its both community focused and global nature. You can buy a Bristol made seascape, graphic prints from Paris, dark and moody paintings from Munich, curious Dutch sculptures or naturalist paintings of London landmarks.
The curators of AAF find a balance between established artists and up-and-coming ones and are always on the lookout for promising new talent. The fair is laid out to encourage meandering. The space is maximized and filled to burst with art. It would be easy to get lost in the sea of assorted works.
“We’re all about art being accessible to everyone, so we’re looking forward to passers-by enjoying an eclectic mix of artwork depicted on the structures and experiencing the trick of the eye we’ve created using shapes and perspective.” Luci Noel, director of the Affordable Art Fair, said.
Every London fair (Bristol and Hampstead also host shows) draws in approximately 22,500 visitors. In line with the founding egalitarian philosophy, gallery owners and artists mingle with families, long time collectors, first time collectors, students, business people and everyone in between. There is a sense of camaraderie and bonding over a mutual love and appreciation of art at the fair.
In addition to the wonderful art, the fair sells drinks at the champagne bar that sits in the middle of the room. There is also café and bar that overlook the fair, giving visitors a bird’s eye view of the goings on below. There are workshops for budding artists, talks and tours for those interested in getting a more hands on experience.
The Affordable Art Fair is an un-intimidating and democratic way to view and purchase art. No matter your budget, taste or experience, the fair acts as a welcoming stepping stone into the art world.
Battersea Evolution, Battersea Park: 10 – 13 March, 2016
Opening hours: Thurs & Fri 11.00am – 6.00pm, Sat & Sun 10.00am – 6.00pm
Late View: Thursday 10 March, 5.30pm – 9.30pm
Ticket prices: £10 – £20 (concessions £8 – £13)