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Affordable Art Fair

Scandi Vibes at the Affordable Art Fair post Lockdown

by | Oct 23, 2021

The Affordable Art Fair has returned with fanfare after lockdown and the re-opening in Battersea this autumn was the best ever. Lots of colour, abstracts, celebrity portraits and photographs as well as ceramics and sculpture on display – and for sale from between £50 – £6,000. Lots of glam celebrity paintings and photograps embellished with glitter or other special effects and even a couple of Damian Hirst limited edition prints.

However, one theme caught our eye – it has been a trend for some time….. naive art. The childlike paintings of flower pots and people are pure charm and although they look as if you and I could easily do them (and much cheaper!) they are often quite complex and with a profound message. A feast for the eyes and food for thought – and lots to hang on the walls.

Sunkissed by Samantha McClubbin
Cerise Tulips Against Duck Egg Blue by Asison McWhirther

Here we pick our favourites that would look particularly brilliant in a Scandi room – eyecatching colours and standout shapes and concepts to complement the minimal architecture. Above left is the beautiful Sunkissed by Samantha McCubbin at £795 and, right, Alison McWhirther’s Cerise Tulips Against Duck Egg Blue at £1,990. We love pink, such an upbeat and warm colour on a white wall – the tried and tested vase with flowers.

As below: We Laughed Until We Cried byIona Sanders (love the titles of some of the paintings) at £1,200 and (right) One For The Road by Jessica Cooper at £3,400. Never tire of the look – it’s just how its interpreted.

We Laughed Until We Cried by Iona Sanders
One For The Road by Jessica Cooper

‘Typical’ art which people may expect to see in a Scandi home

There was so much colour and glizt, celebrity art, graffiti and sculpture that it left not much room for what might be considered Scandi style art, ie minimalist. In our view such paintings would make a room look severe, at DU we’re all for mixing it up. But here below are some of the pieces which look like ‘home’… by Claire Thorogood and Kate Felton-Hall.

Lilya by Clarire Thorogood
Thamesscape Wapping to Canary Wharf by Kate Felton-Hall

Perfect paintings for a Scandi Boho look

Our all time favourite – indeed, we’d like to think DU was one of the first on the scene with this look as far back as early 1990s – is the Scandi Boho look. This is where white and colour clash, minimal vs busy or where the cool north meets the hot south. The room is calm painted in shades of white while the art on the walls are busy and colourful.

And most of all – the art tells a story… While the room is neutral and brings a sense of peace, the painting on the wall tells a different sotry, most usually a personal story connected to the imagery or to the artist or where it was bought or received as a gift. Below are two paintings from a Swedish gallery, Aurelia, which fit into the Sandi Boho look perfectly, both by Sigbrit Kvarning.

Cockatoo by Sigbrit Kvarning
Yellow Car by Sigbrit Kvarning

Still, below is arguably our favourite of the Affordable Art Fair 2021: Party time by Craig Mooney, £2,990. Wonderfully ironic, and yet who hasn’t ever felt like sitting down with a good book in the middle of a party. The details are blurred, but the story it tells is very clear. And it is very boho as the woman, if she really is at a garden party, is someone with her own mind and happy and easy-going enough to step aside with somethign to read.

Garden Party by Craig Mooney

There are many glitzy art fairs in beautiful marquees such as Masterpiece in the grounds onf the Royal Hospital in Chelsea and other sin Berkeley Square and the Duke of York’s off Sloane Square. But part of the charm of the Affordable Art Fair is the cosy environment, workshops on the premeses to help visitors work their own creative juices, and of course the affordability of the pieces for sale.

Did you miss the fair? Then click here for a chance to browse the Affordable Art Fair’s resident galleries and buy pieces from both emerging and established artists.

Accessible art in a relaxed anvironment

The fair was launched in 1999 in Battersea and has spread to other parts of London and abroad to Milan, New York and Stockholm. Will Ramsay set up the event to be a place for everybody to enjoy and buy art, not merely for those already in the art bubble and closely connected to the art network – to those who might find galleries intimidating. The fair has stayed true to Ramsay’s vision.

The charity launch of both the spring and autumn events are busy but understated with the west London crowd out in force to catch up with eachother and get a new piece for their wall or mantelpiece.

The fairs take place annually with the exception of Singapore, Battersea and New York, which hold spring and autumn editions and run across four days. Affordable Art Fairs showcase talks, programmes and artist-led workshops, and most also provide art-based activities for children.  Founded by Will Ramsay, the Affordable Art Fair was organised as an alternative to the traditional gallery scene.[3] With its price ceiling of £5,000/€6,000/$10,000, the fair aims to appeal to and make art accessible for all.[4][5] The fair announced nearly 200,000 visitors each year.[6]

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