The Other Art Fair: Show devoted to rising talent returns this weekend
- Credit: Archant
Over 100 emerging artists from 23 different countries are in town for The Other Art Fair, which runs in King’s Cross between Thursday and Sunday.
The fair's journey began in 2011, when founder Ryan Stanier made a move to help exciting new artists get the exposure he felt that they deserved.
"The whole idea was two-fold," he says. "First and foremost it was set-up to give a platform for artists that don't have an exclusive arrangement with a gallery. Opportunities (for these people) in terms of showing at art fairs are limited.
"The other thing was that there was a lack of places where somebody who was buying their first property - and wanting to own some original artwork - could go. The Other Art Fair gave people the chance to meet the artists and talk about their work."
It's fair to say that Stanier was on to something. The Other Art Fair was acquired by Saatchi Art in 2016, and in the eight years since its creation has hosted 38 editions presenting over 1,100 artists. It's now an international hit, with 12 versions of the fair scheduled this year in cities including New York, Chicago, Los Angeles, Sydney and Melbourne.
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This weekend's event in London will give eight final-year students from Central Saint Martins a free stand, as Stanier's team introduce the crowds to a new generation of artistic talent and flair.
"When you graduate as an artist the big question is: what do you do next?," Stanier adds.
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"It's not like if you graduate in law, you join a law firm. As an artist you are really out there on your own. When Central Saint Martins had their graduate show, we went round and spoke to loads of artists, selecting eight that we wanted to work with.
"The whole idea is that we put together a package - they get a booth at the fair, but we're also working with them to create their own online presence; a bit of mentorship, I guess."
The fair's Guest Artist is Chris Levine, a man famed for his lenticular works of The Queen, and his portraits of figures like the Dalai Lama and Kate Moss. Levine will launch a limited edition print exclusively for the fair.
"The Other Art Fair is for unrepresented artists in the early stages of their career, but to have an artist of Chris's level wanting to be involved gives us a lot of credibility," explains Stanier, who lives in Primrose Hill.
Other highlights over the weekend include the One Small Step exhibition, where 12 leading artists will each transform an astronaut helmet into a piece of art to coincide with the 50th anniversary of the Apollo 11 moon-landing. The Other Art Fair has also partnered with the CALM Art Collective, whose mission is "to use art to help create happier lives for those suffering with mental health issues."
The fair is working with Kate Bryan across all 12 of its global editions this year as part of its Greener Future theme. Bryan has programmed a series of events, initiatives and exhibitions putting forward environmentally-friendly art at this weekend's event.
There's also a Live for Love installation to check out as well as a chance to get involved yourself at Naomi Vona's 'create your own colourful pride poster' stand.
Reflecting on how far the fair has come since 2011, Stanier says it "obviously feels brilliant."
"When I started, it was about how do we get people involved in art without it being super pretentious? How do we create something that's open and fun?
"I didn't want a shopping experience, where the only thing to do is to buy something. In the last two years we've sold 20,000 artworks, and artists are able to continue their practice and progress their careers because they're making money off the back of this."
The Other Art Fair is at West Handyside Canopy & The Crossing, N1C 4AA from July 4-7. More details and tickets here.