I wasn’t sure what to expect from my first Affordable Art Fair. Was it going to resemble the “Starving Artists” shows that pop up at Marriott Hotels? Would everything be sofa-sized? I read that prices at the show would range from $100 to $10,000. Compared to Sotheby’s auctions, these are indeed affordable prices, but $10,000 for a piece of art is still beyond most people’s budgets.
I did the math (2/3 of my art given away, 1/3 sold for a few hundred dollars each) and decided that this was a venue that might work for me in the future, if the qualifying process is not too onerous and does not depend on knowing the right people. I not only don’t know the right people, I don’t even know who they are.
Overall, definitely worth a trip. Also, only three blocks from where I live. Win-win!
Student discount ticket and I was inside. It definitely had that generic art show/coffee fest vibe, with movable walls and gallery signs, but I appreciated that the show’s color scheme was hot pink and white. It said young and fresh!
I was only three or four booths in when several paintings grabbed my attention. Polka-dots in bright colors. I could not possibly resist. And who did they turn out to be by? Damien Hirst. I kid you not. Practically the last man I expected to find at an Affordable Art Fair. Okay, so they were woodcut prints in editions of 55 each, but they were signed by the artist and depending on the size could be had for a mere $2570 to $5040 apiece. Including the frame. I wanted one. I wanted all of them.
Completely out of the question, of course. If I had the cash, that isn’t how I’d spend it. If I want to, I can paint my own polka-dots. But how are ordinary “affordable” artists supposed to compete with big guns like that?
There were several artists from my own grad school program represented (more hope for me for next year), and I was especially pleased to see that Minseop Yoon’s art had migrated from the Emerging Artists area into Established Artists and was showing (and selling) in both spaces. Good for her!
I was also interested to notice that most of the galleries represented were international, and therefore their artists were unknown to me. But as usual, I was attracted to brightly colored paintings and resolved to make more brightly colored work, even though the group crit I endured right before rushing off to the Affordable Art Fair seemed to end in a concensus that my work wasn’t depressing enough.
Wouldn’t it be just dreadful if my work weren’t depressing at all?