Monday, 28 April 2008

Yet more art...

It's Spring, so it must be art overload. Having just blogged Brighton's Open House art festival, I have just been reminded that May is also the month for the annual Battersea Contemporary Art Fair. Now in its sixteenth year, this is the largest artists’ fair in the UK, and features over 150 artists from the UK and overseas, selling paintings, photographs, sculptures and prints directly to the public (ie with no commission - saving up to 40%). So, rather than just looking at the art, you can buy it, if you so wish.

I went there a few years ago with my partner’s cousin, who was exhibiting her photography there. The venue is part of the Old Town Hall complex, and is about ten minutes’ walk from Clapham Junction station. It is a little pricey to get in (£7 adult, £4 concessions, free to U16s), but the range and quantity of art on display is impressive. Not every stall will take your fancy though - some of it is very mainstream, others very eclectic, so it depends on your taste. As well as straightforward art, there are artists who specialise in painting things like your pet’s portrait, if you are so moved. But there’s bound to be something that takes your fancy.

Unfortunately for me, I seem to be born with expensive tastes: rather than the stuff around £40, I seem drawn like a bee to a honey pot to the stuff in the £4,000 bracket. I don’t know if this means I have good taste, or just an eye for the commercially popular. My other half and I eventually bought a photographic print for around £90.

One of the big differences compared with an art gallery is the buzz created by such an event: last year, it attracted over 3,500 visitors over the week-end, and there are quite a lot of children wandering around, so the atmosphere is much more relaxed and informal, with lots of chatter and noise. Refreshments are available, and there’s a also jazz band playing during the Friday evening reception.

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