Why The Other Art Fair Provides A Real Alternative To Frieze

For a second year running, The Other Art Fair is hoping to provide a radical alterative to the established model of art fair by cutting out the gallery middleman, and providing a platform for emerging artists to sell work directly to art buyers.

Last year The Other Art Fair wowed punters with its pointedly unpretentious atmosphere, and accessibility to new buyers. The inaugural event  was a breath of fresh air in its determination to be different – to be ‘the other’ –, evading the pomp and circumstance that pervades so much of the artworld, and giving visitors a chance to engage one-on-one with the artists, uninhibited by the distancing systems of representation and salesmanship.

We catch up with The Other Art Fair Director, Ryan Stanier, to the get his take on the ‘What’, the ‘Why’, and the ‘How’…

AL: What’s the big idea behind The Other Art Fair? And why now?

Ryan: There is quite a debate raging at the moment within the media as to what the future for galleries will hold. The last few years has seen a real sea-change in the way in which artists view themselves.

Because of the internet and other communication tools now available to them, artists have become far savvier in the way in which they promote themselves. Branding has therefore become an equally important issue within the art world as in any other environment. As a result, The Other Art Fair provides another outlet for self represented artists.

The idea behind The Other Art Fair was to find the best unrepresented artists and introduce them to an audience of art buyers. We achieve this by having a selection committee made up of experts from all areas of the art world. Their role is to choose the 90 participating artists from over 500 applications.

AL: So are you proposing the death of the commercial gallerist?

Ryan: No, because at the same time as bringing art directly to art buyers, the fair also provides a platform for artists to meet gallerists – as well as being a fertile ground for gallerists seeking new talent. Last year 18 of the 87 artists showing ended up working with a gallery.

AL: Last year was, by all counts, a great success. How are you going to top the inaugural event in 2012?

Ryan: Topping last year’s fair will be difficult as we experienced such an incredible launch. That said, in order to maintain its success each fair will be unique with a new panel of judges, 90 new artists, a new venue and a new programme of events.

And this year, alongside meeting artists directly, visitors can participate in a curated tour of the fair with Jotta, take part in a theatrical life drawing class with Art Macabre, or simply enjoy live music from ‘TOAF Unplugged’, which will feature 30 minute live music sessions with unsigned musicians.

Words/Questions: Thomas Keane © 2012 ArtLyst

The Other Art Fair will take place @ Ambika P3 between 10-13 May 2012. Tickets can be purchased from £6 in advance…

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