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Made in Arts London at the Affordable Art Fair: How’d it go?

We invited London College of Communication journalism student, Jamie Davies, to visit Affordable Art Fair and asked him for his take…

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Made in Arts London was back at Affordable Art Fair Hampstead for 2024! Made in Arts London is Arts SU’s online not-for-profit shop and supports UAL students who want to sell their work to the public, through practice at various selling events and theory through workshops and talks.

We invited London College of Communication journalism student, Jamie Davies, to visit and asked him for his take on all things Affordable Art Fair…

 

Earlier last month, hundreds of art exhibitors from all over the world converged on Hampstead to join the hustle and bustle of the latest Affordable Art Fair.

Now in its 25th year, the organisation’s many fairs aim to create accessible, affordable spaces for contemporary art to be showcased, discussed and, hopefully, sold. With artworks ranging from £50 - £7,500, it's safe to say that the fairs are a genuine space for anyone to grab themselves some outstanding original art. Plus, they're a spectacle in themselves, packing huge event spaces with more art than The National Gallery (please don’t check me on that).

Of course, Made in Arts London also joined the festivities! And they were kind enough to invite me along to check things out. I also saw Hampstead Heath for the first time, which was reason enough to get the Overground that far north of the river.

Bringing with them some fantastic work from University of the Arts London (UAL) students in a collection called ‘The Space Between’, the students’ work was displayed alongside pieces from the likes of Gutmans GalleryHanoi Art House, and Lemongrove Gallery.

 


Photo: Emily Waters

 

There were plenty of charitable art organisations in attendance, too, including work from ARTHOUSE Unlimited (AHU), who champion and nurture the talent of artists with physical and learning disabilities. Hearing them talk about the way AHU artists’ eyes light up when they see visitors enjoying their art would warm anybody’s heart. It certainly did mine!

Friendliness really was at the heart of the event, though. More than anything, visitors were there to grab a drink, enjoy the art and celebrate the people behind it. Everybody was happy to chat, although some had clearly taken the offer of ‘grabbing a drink’ a little too far. Word of advice: nobody gives their best sales pitch after four G&Ts.

“It’s relaxed, but it’s also buzzing. It’s exciting. Everyone here has an appreciation of art, and that feels really good,” said Josephine, exhibiting on behalf of Jackson’s Art Prize.

Wishing it was your work up there? It could have been! The Affordable Art Fair is just one example of an opportunity that the Arts Programme helps UAL artists reach out for, encouraging and enabling them to develop professionally (all while having a great time in some really exciting spaces).

“A lot of students don’t get taught how to price their work during their studies, how to edition their work or how to think about selling or framing it,” said Arts Progammer, Lotte Dawson. “Our focus is on professional development.”

 


Photo: Emily Waters

 

From preparing their work and presenting it, to negotiating with professionals and talking with the public, the Arts Programme team made sure someone had the back of all the UAL artists exhibiting at the Affordable Art Fair. After all, it can be intimidating facing these things alone.

Plus, thanks to the Professional Development Fund, the team was able to pay for services and equipment, as well as cover the myriad hidden costs of exhibiting that would have otherwise made this opportunity inaccessible for some students. Whether it be transporting vases, accessing bespoke framing or printing work to a larger scale, the Arts Programme team made sure that students wouldn’t have to front the cost or scale back their ambitions to meet a reduced budget.

With mentoring, workshops, real-world opportunities and more, the team provides year-round support just like this, and not just for the students exhibiting at the AAF! Sound like a good opportunity? If visiting the AAF has taught me anything, it’s that the answer is a resounding ‘yes!’

- Jamie Davies, London College of Communication

 



Photos: Emily Waters

 

The photos from Made in Arts London’s showcase are now live here on Flickr.

Visit 'Opportunities' on our website to see upcoming events you can get involved with.

 

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