[Stella Loves] Affordable Art Fair 2015 or how to source contemporary art on a budget

One of my favourite quotes by Andy Warhol: 'Art is anything you can get away with'.

One of my favourite quotes by Andy Warhol: 'Art is anything you can get away with'.

Striking artwork is one of the key ingredients to achieve a successful interior design. If you're still unsure about the actual definition and what constitutes art, may I refer you to Andy Warhol's wise words on the image above... 

I wrote it before, and I'll repeat it, there is nothing more important to finish off the look of a room than a fabulous piece of contemporary art. For me, it's up there at the top of the list of essentials, with a sofa or a bed... In fact, more often than not, I tend design a room around some artwork (existing or picked especially for that room) instead of treating artwork as an afterthought.

It's a shame really, but buying (what used to be indecently expensive) art has been a luxury only the rich and famous could afford for a very long time. Luckily, buying and collecting art has been democratised and pretty much anyone can source or buy art these days, either online or in person. And the cliché of those stuffy and snobbish art galleries that were so intimidating, you'd feel nervous just getting through the door, are officially over. Even better, somewhere along the way, buying affordable art became cool. This has a lot to do with events like The Affordable Art Fair, if you ask me. Launched back in 1999, it's now become a bit of a global thing with fairs taking place across the wold, from London to Singapore, via Milan and New York. The concept is very simple, just like its name: 'To make art accessible and affordable to everyone, by providing a relaxed, unstuffy environment so people feel confident to explore,' according to its founder Will Ramsay. 

I attended the Battersea fair this weekend, like I do most years, which gathered over 100 galleries and 1,100 artists showcasing pieces up to £4000 with a focus on art under £500. The first thing I should mention for the mamas out there who will read this, is that the AAF team cleverly offers a free creche at the event. Yes, you read this right, FREE. CHILDCARE. While you browse (and have a cheeky G&T break at the fair's bar, with both hands). TOTES HASHTAG GENIUS, non?

This year, I fell in love with a handful of new pieces from artists I already knew and loved, and also found a bunch of new artists I had not come across before. So, in case you missed out on the fun, you can see a little sample of my fave artists showcased at the event below. In the spirit of making your life easier (you know I am useful like that), there is a link to the artist's website, the actual price (instead of the annoying 'price on request' nonsense) and a link to the gallery that exposed at the fair, from which you can buy straight away. 

1. Richard Levine

Medicated Mickey III, 2014 - mixed media print, 80 x 80 cm, edition of 10, £400 (unframed), from Liberty Gallery

Medicated Mickey III, 2014 - mixed media print, 80 x 80 cm, edition of 10, £400 (unframed), from Liberty Gallery

Marty McDouble, 2015, 75.5 x 75.5 cm, Limited edition Giclee and silkscreen print , Signed and editioned by the artist, Edition of 40, £200 (unframed)

Marty McDouble, 2015, 75.5 x 75.5 cm, Limited edition Giclee and silkscreen print , Signed and editioned by the artist, Edition of 40, £200 (unframed)

Love & Happiness – 2015, 22.7 x 22.7 x 3.8 cm, Resin mould and acrylic in perspex box, Original artwork signed by the artist , £750.00

Love & Happiness – 2015, 22.7 x 22.7 x 3.8 cm, Resin mould and acrylic in perspex box, Original artwork signed by the artist , £750.00

Lips S3 - Steel Kiss - Oil on board with neon light outline,  60x80cm, £3500, George Thornton Art

Lips S3 - Steel Kiss - Oil on board with neon light outline,  60x80cm, £3500, George Thornton Art

I am aware that £3,500 might not tick the 'affordable' box for most people but the chaps at George Thornton Art Gallery are part the the 'Own Art' campaign, which is a super clever scheme that lets you spread the cost of your art purchase from a choice of 250 partner galleries over 10 months with an interest free loan. Check them out here. You're welcome...   

4. Andy MacGregor

Gold Paper Pineapple, Semi 3D, Made to order, Limited Edition, Size: A1, £1200, Print Club London

Gold Paper Pineapple, Semi 3D, Made to order, Limited Edition, Size: A1, £1200, Print Club London

Sweet Savage, Mixed media original collage, 110 x 150 cm, framed, £3500, from Liberty Gallery

Sweet Savage, Mixed media original collage, 110 x 150 cm, framed, £3500, from Liberty Gallery

Woman with Water Pistol, Fine Art Photography, Ed5, 60x90cm, £4850 (unframed)

Woman with Water Pistol, Fine Art Photography, Ed5, 60x90cm, £4850 (unframed)

Night Lighting, 101x101cm, Ed.1 of 15, £1200 (unframed), from The Artful Project.

Night Lighting, 101x101cm, Ed.1 of 15, £1200 (unframed), from The Artful Project.

Happy art shopping peeps!