The Affordable Art Fair London October 2010

It’s late October in London and the frantic Frieze Art fair week has finished. All of the multi-million pound international dealers have left to prepare for Art Basel Miami. So what is left to fill the gap? The Affordable Art Fair! Will Ramsay founded the fair in 1999 with the aim to make contemporary art accessible to everyone, and to show you don’t need to be an art expert or a millionaire to enjoy and buy art. Ten years on The Affordable Art Fair is a leading showcase for contemporary art. Since 1999, these fairs have sold over £100 million of art and had an audience of more than 650,000 visitors worldwide. In 1996 Will opened Will’s Art Warehouse in south west London to bridge the increasing interest in contemporary art and the London gallery scene. By concentrating on relatively unknown artists not carrying a premium for reputation, the gallery was able to offer works from £50 – £2,500 from a stable of over 150 artists. The response to Will’s Art Warehouse encouraged Will to take his approach to the next level, and in October 1999 he launched the first Affordable Art Fair in Battersea Park. 10,000 visitors took advantage of the ease of buying, breadth of choice, affordable prices and user-friendly approach. In 2001 Will launched a second event in Battersea Park, the Spring Collection, to showcase entirely different artists from the Autumn Collection. Now over 23,000 people come to each London fair to enjoy the art exhibited by the 120 British and international galleries. In the same year he established a fair in the West Country; AAF Bristol now takes place every May. This year AAF has been selected as one of the UK’s coolest brands by an independent council and more than 2,500 members of the British public. As brands are unable to nominate themselves to be a Cool Brand, it just goes to show how much support the fair has from its visitors! AAF has also become something of a global phenomenon with fairs taking place in Amsterdam, Paris, Brussels, New York, Milan and Singapore, while affiliate events include Sydney and Melbourne. Globally, 783,000 people have visited an Affordable Art Fair, buying over £120 million of art. The recession has seen consumers develop a more thoughtful way of spending. This ‘considered consumption’ has led to us valuing purchases with personal value and longevity – so whether it’s for emotional or financial investment, come down to the fair, follow your heart and chose a unique piece of art you can take home and treasure forever. Buying art can provide a lifetime of enjoyment and inspiration and no one should miss this opportunity. “Aside from the work on show – which is consistently interesting and strong – is the way the Recent Graduates section complements the rest of the fair. And Jess agrees: “when you walk into the main bit of the fair it’s always very busy. So Recent Grads provides an intermediate area and a bit of breathing space. Because we’re not solely commercial, I can hang the work in a way that one of the commercial galleries probably couldn’t. It’s almost like an anteroom to the rest of the fair. People often come out of the main fair, sit in the Recent Grads section for a bit of a breather and then dive right back in again.” Photo© sarah jane lynagh  Visit The Fair See Details



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