Fair Director Ryan Stanier tells the story of how The Other Art Fair became such an instant success for artists and art lovers…
For anyone with an artistic streak, London is a vibrant hub of creativity, with a profusion of commercial galleries and pop-up spaces as well as a diverse annual program of art fairs. The city is bursting with artists exploring every medium – be it moving image, or sculpture, drawing or photography. With a London audience eager to discover ‘the next big thing’, why is then so difficult for talented artists to gain recognition?
Commercial galleries play a pivotal role in representing and developing artistic talent. The number of artists they support, however, is limited and leaves 99% of practising artists without exclusive representation, the majority of whom are young artists searching for their break.
For these undiscovered artists, The Other Art Fair is a unique platform from which they can independently showcase their work: to gallerists, curators, critics and collectors. Not only about selling artworks, these four days enable artists to launch their work in the contemporary art world, gauge the public’s response to their pieces and meet fellow artists for potential future collaborations. The fair is wide-reaching in its audience, attracting individuals who support artistic practice in other ways: advertising agencies, fashion designers and corporate companies looking to commission pieces.
The Other Art Fair is unique in its approach to supporting artists. In addition to the four days, we support them throughout the year by offering free seminars and workshops, the opportunity to sell online and connecting individuals with companies and associations.
I’m pleased to say that this model thus far has received much success. As a direct result of the fair, many artists are now working with galleries in London, LA and New York. Artists have sold to collectors, first time buyers and art dealers not to mention numerous commissions with advertising and design companies.
As a fair visitor, you have the opportunity to meet, discuss and buy from 100 emerging artists chosen by our esteemed panel of experts. It enables you to discover from the most exciting new talent. By purchasing artwork at the fair, you are directly supporting emerging artistic talent and contributing to the growing opportunities for these undiscovered artists.
As Stylist Magazine said “Visit The Other Art Fair to discover the next YBA”.
How did The Other Art Fair begin?
The success of setting up two pop-up galleries in Covent Garden highlighted to me both the abundance of exceptional, new, emerging artists in London and the amount of interest in buying work directly from these unrepresented talents.
It seemed nonsensical that, as a city, we were producing some of the most exciting creative minds, and yet it was becoming more and more difficult for them to gain recognition.
From this realization The Other Art Fair was born – providing a place for artists to sell work directly to both established and first time buyers and gain exposure to galleries. It was also an opportunity for visitors to gain unprecedented access to the best undiscovered artists.
How has The Other Art Fair grown?
The Other Art Fair was launched in November 2011 at the Bargehouse on the South Bank. Over three days, UK’s best eighty unrepresented artists were showcased to 4,300 visitors.
This successful launch prompted an overwhelming response of over 400 artist applications for the following fair. In order to accommodate such interest from artists and visitors, the fair moved to Ambika P3 in Marylebone. The three editions of the fair (May 2012, November 2012 and April 2013) have seen a continuation of the fantastic sales and opportunities generated at the inaugural edition. The visitor experience is further enhanced by a lively programme of features including ‘The Others Live’, ‘The Others Talk’ and ‘Photo 15′.
The fifth edition of The Other Art Fair took place at The Old Truman Brewery on 17-20 October 2013. Situated in the heart of London’s cultural East End, The Old Truman Brewery is a landmark arts venue and hosts a hive of creative businesses, galleries and events and provides the perfect new home for the fair during what is London’s most important and internationally renowned art week. The fair presented alongside Moniker Art Fair, London’s premiere event for contemporary art with its roots embedded in urban culture. The combination of the two fairs created an exciting spectacle attracting 10,000-plus visitors to the capital’s East End and forming one of the major satellite events of London’s art week. The new partnership emphasises both fairs’ formidable reputations for showcasing artists operating under the radar of the traditional art establishment. This year will also see the fair launch outside of London for the first time in order to reach new audiences and represent a different range of artists.
What can visitors expect from The Other Art Fair?
The first thing visitors will discover upon arrival is the unique atmosphere at The Other Art Fair. The aim is to create an inclusive environment to encourage people to explore their own reactions to contemporary art in a vibrant, buzzing setting.
Throughout the day there are Other creative things to enlighten, entertain and inspire visitors: live performance art, free curated walks, acoustic music sessions and a bar to relax with a coffee or a refreshing cocktail away from the bustle of the fair.