The Affordable Art Fair is an annual event which is the good news because the bad news is that you have missed this years event as it ran from the 22nd to the 25th October at its home Battersea Park just south of the river in London.
It is a super event for anyone wanting to buy a piece of original art and you can find something to fit most pockets as prices range from £50 up to £3000. This is where the affordable part of the title comes in as there is a cap on the prices here so you will not find any works by Gilbert and George or Damien Hurst but you might find yourself buying something by the next big thing in the art world if you are lucky as a number of art students look to sell their work here alongside established artists.
Access is pretty easy, there is a free shuttle service from Sloane Square tube station although it is a nice walk from here to the park anyway, alternatively you can drive but parking is restricted and Boris will get £8 from you in congestion charge.
The event is housed in a large tent in the park and there is a huge range of art including paintings, prints and sculpture and some of it is really good.If the painting is not sold with a frame there is a framing service and also a bubble wrap sevice to protect your purchase when transporting it home.
In all 120 galleries exhibited their work this year and entry was £12 with free entry for under 16's, there are workshops for the kids and a creche and there is a cafe on site for refreshmentsand a chance to have a sit down.
The variety of work is excellent and if you are looking to buy thereare some goodpurchases to be had especially in the present climate where you can always enter into a bit of haggling over the pieces if you want something, most artists and galleries want to make some sales to cover thir costs. I love this show it is well worth checking out and popping in yourdiary for next year or check out the website for any regional events.
For most of us the world of art does not intrude too often on our own. Once I had been advised that, based upon my limited ability, an O level in art was not a viable option my own exposure to the painted medium of art was restricted to a dutiful visit to the Louvre while in Paris, the picture of the tennis player scratching her bum and in later years cries of disbelief when they announced the latest entrants for the Turner prize.
If you have ever had the desire to own an original piece of art but been put off by the perceived cost or the fear of being ripped off then the Affordable Art Fair may just offer you a solution. I had always entertained the idea of owning some original artwork by a famous artist but tended to find that all the good paintings by Dali were out of my price range or one of the Saachi brothers had purchased everything on the market. Then I came across the Affordable Art Fair and problem solved.
The Affordable Art Fair was originally held every year in Battersea Park and has now become so successful that it is held twice a year in London with additional shows in Bristol, New York, Melbourne and Sydney.
I have always attended the Autumn Show and have been for the past three years. This show is held in a large marquee in the centre of the park over 4 days to include a weekend, towards the end of October. The second London show is held in the March.
Located in the centre of London you do need to give getting there some thought. If you chose to drive there is very limited parking in the park and during weekdays you will have to pay Uncle Kens congestion charge and the event is sign posted around the park.
The nearest tube station is Sloane Square and there are shuttle buses provided by the event, which will drop you outside the event and return you to the square at the end of the day.
The main consideration to make is whether you intend to make any purchases and the likely size of these as carrying a large oil painting on the tube is not the easiest however there is a taxi rank at the event and in Sloane Square if you have any large purchase to transport.
Tickets purchase in advance were £9 this year (concessions £7) while the on the door price is £10 (£8) with children U16 entering for free. I have registered with an art gallery in London called Wills Warehouse and every year I get a half price ticket for the event from the gallery.
What is there to see?
The key selling aspect of the show is the fact that all of the work is originals and none of the pieces can sell for more than £2,500. In fact prices start from as little as £50 for some pieces of sculpture and it is rare to see anything over the £2k price tag.
The show hosts about 130 galleries, dealers and artists from all over the country all under one roof with a wide diversity of styles, mediums and formats. Paintings make up the bulk of the exhibits however there are also a considerable number of sculptures available. Whatever your taste be it the more conceptual modern art to classic landscape scenes there will be something that catches your eye. Prices do vary across the whole spectrum ad at the last show I bought a lovely oil painting of a coastal scene framed for £245 which now has pride of place in the dining room.
The stands are set out in long walkways with each plot numbered so if you see something you like you can make a note of the number and return later once you have viewed all the exhibits.
One of the great things about this show is if you do buy something you can walk away with it on the day, with all exhibitors accepting credit cards. There is no need to wait until the end of the show. Some paintings come framed others do not however on site you can get a frame fitted and also it is possible to get your purchase bubble wrapped to protect it in transit. This is great and differs from other venues where all purchases are only available at the end of the show. If you do not want to carry your purchase around there is a storage area from where you can collect your purchase at the end of the day.
One very popular section is the recent graduates exhibition which features a selection of works by emerging fine art graduates however these tend to sell fast.
There is a free crèche however there is also things to do for children with free print making and sculpture workshops that provide a hands on experience for children.
There are a number of coffee stalls and a champagne bar as well as a reasonably sized café serving sandwiches, salads, quiche, cakes and hot drinks although this does get very busy over the lunch period, better to time you visit to allow you to lunch at the many restaurants on the square and along the Kings Road.
This is well worth a visit especially if you are keen to buy some art without breaking the bank. For more information check out the web site on
I hope you have enjoyed my review.