I've been asked loads of times about the art fairs I do, by folks who haven’t ever been to one before. I’m so sad that some people don’t come because they’re worried they might look like a numpty and get something wrong. So I thought I'd jot down my top 10 tips for anyone considering buying art at art fair this year - there is no need to be nervous and you're going to have a great day out with my easy guide.
Amongst the most famous art fairs in Britain are The Affordable Art Fairs, and Fresh Art fairs. These are “gallery only” art fairs and as a buyer you get an opportunity to see the work of hundreds of artists from dozens of galleries all in one place. It's incredibly convenient and really exciting. Last weekend was Battersea affordable art fair which is busy and large and wonderful. There are other types of art fairs too, where you can buy directly from the artists too. Amongst my favourites are Contemporary Art Fairs who host Windsor, Surrey and Newbury art fairs. This weekend is Surrey art fair held at Sandown Park racecourse.
1.Research. If you get a chance to go to the Art fair website before you visit. This way you can see which artists are exhibiting. You might also be able to get a discount on tickets in advance or even find the artist on social media to gain private view tickets on the opening evening.
2. Do a lap.
Sometimes it can be a little overwhelming wandering around. I recommend you do a lap first. Have a relaxed wander around, collect the business cards from the artists you are interested in then go to the café for a cup of tea and decide which artists you're going to have a chat with.
3. Don’t be afraid to talk or not talk! Whichever you prefer.
Personally I believe lots of people really like to browse before they engage with the artist. Feel free to do that. Some artists will greet you with simply a nod and a smile, others will introduce themselves. If you are uncomfortable chatting straight away then simply say “we’re just browsing” or indeed say “we are on our first lap”. All the artists will know what you're talking about and will leave you to browse with out any hassle.
4. Don’t take photos without asking. If I have been chatting to someone for 20 minutes about a particular painting that they love and then they say to me “do you mind if I take a picture" I will always say yes. However there are times when people wander up to the stand and just take a photo without asking. Some artists find this really difficult to cope with, maybe it's because they've been copied before.
Sometimes GCSE or A-level students want to take photographs of my work. If they speak to me first and pick up one of my cards they can then have access to my members page on my website - on that page they will find tutorials and all sorts of helpful things for their coursework. So sometimes speaking to the artist means they get far more freebies than if they just surreptitiously take a photo. So don't be afraid of asking…most artists will say yes but only when you ask first.
5. Relax. I think there are lots of programs on telly with art critics that don't appear to speak the same language and make the art world unfathomable for most of us. This is not the case at an art fair - If you are buying a beautiful work of art for your home you need to be happy and relaxed. Maybe you want to hear the story about how the art was created, maybe you don’t - you’re the one that wants to buy the art; you're in charge.
6. Take a break. Art fairs can be overwhelming as there's just so much to choose from and sometimes you really can't take it all in. So do feel free to stop off at the café sit down and have a nice old chat and a cup of tea while you work out what you want to see next.
7. You can't like everything! Walking on by when you’re not interested in a stand isn’t offensive to the artist. We understand.
8. Decision-making. This is a tricky one I think it's perfectly reasonable for somebody to want to go home and think about buying a work of art if it's a large piece or if it's an expensive piece. However I have seen the pain of somebody going away to think about it and coming back to my stand and seeing the piece they’d fallen in love with was sold. I have noticed a rise in recent years with people buying work after the fair directly online. The choice is yours.
9. Have an open mind. You might surprise yourself with what you like. You might also be surprised at the high quality work you can get at affordable prices.
10. Enjoy yourself. Buying art should be a pleasure. Enjoy it all.
This section will not be visible in live published website. Below are your current settings:
Current Number Of Columns are = 3
Expand Posts Area = 1
Gap/Space Between Posts = 10px
Blog Post Style = card
Use of custom card colors instead of default colors =
Blog Post Card Background Color = current color
Blog Post Card Shadow Color = current color
Blog Post Card Border Color = current color
Publish the website and visit your blog page to see the results