In 2024, the Australian city of Brisbane will become the newest city to host the accessible art phenomenon, the Affordable Art Fair. It is the 15th international city to join the global brand for a four-day celebration of art, which will be taking over the Brisbane Showgrounds with more than 40 art galleries presenting affordable art.
Next year will mark 25 years since the launch of the Affordable Art Fair in London in 1999. The celebrated global brand is owned by Ramsay Fairs UK under the direction of the founder, Will Ramsay.
What is the Affordable Art Fair?
With 17 fairs operating in 16 cities around the world, including London, Brussels, New York, Stockholm, Amsterdam, Hamburg, Singapore, Hong Kong, Melbourne and Sydney, the Affordable Art Fair has revolutionised the art market with its fun and accessible approach to art appreciation.
What sets them apart, as the Fair’s name suggests, is that they offer thousands of original works for sale, priced from as low as £50 to a maximum of £7500.
New host cities Berlin, Brisbane and Austin (US) will join the enterprise in 2024, demonstrating the growing demand for quality, affordable and contemporary art.
Regional Managing Director of the Affordable Art Fair – Asia Pacific and Australian Fair Director, Stephanie Kelly Gordine says the mission of the Affordable Art Fair is to democratise and demystify the art world, and make art accessible to all. She adds that, unlike traditional art fairs, every exhibited work is from a living artist, every artwork on display lists a sale price and every artwork is looking for a new home.
To date, more than 3.1 million art lovers have already visited an Affordable Art Fair and a staggering 568,000 original artworks have been sold, valued at more than £430 million.
As part of its staging, the Affordable Art Fair covers a wealth of information for aspiring art collectors via an expertly curated website. For the group’s next fair in Brisbane, potential buyers can browse a rich and informative variety of topics including “How to start collecting art”, “Tips for buying and owning art” and “What’s trending at upcoming art fairs?”, as well as interviews with artists and collectors.
It is a similar offering as the UK’s next Affordable Art Fair, which will be held in London’s beautiful Battersea Park, 6-10 March 2024, and will be followed by Affordable Art Fair Hampstead, London, presented 8-12 May 2024.
The fair aspires to welcome art lovers of all ages, backgrounds and experience levels and invites them to explore and enjoy each country’s most exciting living artists in a relaxed, social setting. And, for those on a budget, there’s also the option of buying art in instalments. Providers and galleries alike will be on hand to discuss these options with art buyers.
ArtsHub speaks with Stephanie Kelly Gordine and Bec Statton (co-owner of The Toowoomba Gallery with Nicole Hall) to gain a better insight into the Affordable Art Fair Brisbane.
The Affordable Art Fair model has been successfully implemented since 1999, how can it maintain its credibility with the increasing popularity of buying art online?
Gordine: Nothing compares to seeing an artwork in person, falling in love with an artwork and being able to take it home with you that day. At the Affordable Art Fair, you can see thousands of artworks under one roof with a range of styles, prices and sizes. Plus, you can ask our friendly galleries any questions you may have about the artist or artwork.
Online art is a great way to discover new galleries and their artists, and get a glimpse into an artist studio and how they make the art. As the Affordable Art Fair is only hosted over four days, we aim to provide a full art experience with something for everyone to enjoy with artists in action, large-scale sculptures and fun education activities. Whether you’re there as the doors open on Thursday for the first look at the art, joining the late-night party on Friday night, or enjoying programming with your family on Sunday – our fairs have something for everyone.
With the ever-increasing cost of living, what assurance do you have that potential buyers won’t be hesitant to invest in art in this volatile financial market?
Gordine: Art is an emotional purchase, whether it takes five minutes to fall in love or five years to find the perfect piece. We understand people are much more considerate with their purchasing, and so we have a rule across all our fairs that prices must be transparent, so attendees know what they love and what they can afford. There are artworks priced from $100 right up to $10,000 (£50 to £7500). We encourage our galleries to focus on bringing art at all price ranges. When perusing the fair aisles, it’s all about discovery, so visitors should keep a keen eye out for our hot pink “Under $1000” and “Under $500” stickers dotted around the fair.
The “buying art in instalments” model is a great incentive for potential art buyers. How popular is this system?
Gordine: Paying in instalments can be helpful for splitting the cost of your artwork payments monthly, particularly for visitors buying a more expensive work. Do speak with our friendly galleries during your visit to see if this is a service that they offer.
Statton: A growing number of our buyers are taking up our layby option. This allows them to secure a great piece of art and spread out the payments.
With original works priced as low as $100 (£50), how can potential art buyers be assured of the quality of the artwork?
Gordine: We work in partnership with the galleries to ensure they curate a strong stand with quality artwork and have global rules to help maintain quality. All our galleries are happy to answer questions about the artist and their techniques, so you can get a better understanding of the work that went into the artwork and the pricing of the work.
Statton: The Affordable Art Fair is a great avenue to access new and relatively undiscovered talent. Buyers can be assured that the artwork is of good quality due to the reputation of the Affordable Art Fair and the galleries that show under its banner. Galleries see a lot of art and will only choose works that they believe in the potential and quality of.
Have you exhibited previously with the Affordable Art Fair? What have been your successes, are there any artists or art that audiences are drawn to?
Statton: We have exhibited in both 2022 and 2023 in Sydney and Melbourne, and have thoroughly enjoyed both shows and the cities that house them. Our art is varied to suit the styles and tastes of our buyers, so it is difficult to highlight a particular style that is most successful. However, some of our most successful artists across both shows include Angela Hawkey, Polly Kimmorley, Sarah Abbott, Kylie Sirett, Emma Hercus and Joanna Davies.
So whether you’re a lover of landscapes, smitten with sculpture or an ardent admirer of abstracts, the Affordable Art Fair will offer an eclectic and electrifying smorgasbord of paintings, sculptures, installations, photographic works and limited-edition prints to suit the taste, the space and the spend, no matter the size or buyer’s budget.
The next Affordable Art Fair to be presented in the UK, will run from 6-10 March 2024 at the London’s Battersea Park; find out more. It will be followed by Affordable Art Fair Hampstead, London, presented 8-12 May 2024.