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Affordable Art Fair 2024

Who said collecting has to cost you a fortune? Last May, the ArtULTRA team visited the Affordable Art Fair at Hampstead Heath, held between May 9-12, which indeed proved that collecting doesn't have to break the bank. In this review, we are sharing some of our highlights, including our favourite booths and artists.

Designed for emerging collectors and artists alike, the fair’s primary aim is to democratise art by making original artworks available for a broader audience. This year’s edition, which also marked the fair’s 25th anniversary, featured over 100 galleries from 15 countries including Turkey, South Korea, Singapore and South Africa. Catering for a variety of budgets and tastes, price point ranged from as low as £50 to £7,500, offering something for both first-time and more seasoned collectors.

Upon entering the fair, we were struck by the immersive installation of the Belgian artist, Jules Wittock’s Labyrinth. Referencing the iconic strokes used by pop artist Keith Haring, Wittock’s piece is an intricate maze that invites the viewer to get lost in the work, before finding their way out.

Browsing through the buzzing corridors, we were pleasantly surprised by the breadth of the exhibited work. Although predominantly featuring wall based pieces, sculpture and 3D art were also plentiful. A highlight of the fair was its eclectic approach to showing both emerging and more established artists alongside one and other. Undoubtedly, our favourite was the booth of Made in Arts London, an initiative by the Students' Union of the University of the Arts London (UAL), that spotlights and sells the works of up-and-coming artists fresh out of art school. Notably, the beautifully crafted ceramic pieces of recent graduates, Gemma Smale and Nibras Al-Salman were standouts.

Similarly, it was refreshing to see an 'Under £500 and £1000' curated section, featuring affordable yet high-quality pieces (including works from the above mentioned recent graduates) - perfectly suitable for first time buyers who are still finding their feet in the art market. Celebrating its anniversary, this year’s Affordable Art Fair also hosted the final shortlist of the Jackson’s Art Prize , an international competition aimed at rising visual artists. Alongside the first-prize winner (Andrew Torr’s painting, Estate), Watering by Japanese artist  Daisuke Minowa, a delicate yet textured oil painting, was particularly strong.

Amongst the more established artists, Axelle Gosse’s textile installation, Fara (Envie d’art Gallery) and Walter Jangala Brown's Tingari Cycle (Bay Gallery) immediately captured our attention. Inspired by nature, Gosse is using a unique roping technique that imitates organic forms, while Brown, an aboriginal artist, works with tribal iconography to create vivid dreamscapes. While these pieces were by far the most expensive - slightly above the 7,500 ceiling set out by the fair - there seemed to be some equally great yet more affordable works from lesser known artists. For one, the stunning mixed media painting of Kanika Shah, Cherry, truly impressed us for its originality of mixing printmaking with painting techniques. We were also happy to see photography, not least for its accessibility in price. The atmospheric series of photographer Enda Bowe (Narrative Gallery) instantly stopped us in our tracks, and the (low) price points of his works were an added bonus.

Overall, we had great fun exploring so many talented artists, in particular budding talents and recent graduates. The fair also provided us with a valuable snapshot of current and emerging industry trends within the market. Meandering down the corridors, we have seen a real abundance of abstract and landscape paintings focusing on nature, and a clear tendency indicating a straying away from figuration, a genre that so far seemed to dominate the art market. Seeing that recent graduates and early-career artists are gaining more and more traction, and that their works have begun to be seen as valuable investments amongst collectors, was a breath of fresh air. We’ll be back!


The booth of the Jackson's Art Prize

Ceramic Vase by Gemma Smale

 Fara by Axelle Gosse 

Photographs by Enda Bowe

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