The Bloomsbury Art Fair opens this week (6-8 July) and offers visitors a great opportunity to buy and enjoy great works of art at an event that celebrates the talents of many established, as well as emerging, contemporary artists. Victoria Holton, one of the directors of the Fair, spoke to Aesthetica about the challenges of such a diverse programme.
A: Firstly, could you tell us what makes The Bloomsbury Art Fair different from the other art fairs that are taking place in London this year?
VH: The Bloomsbury Art Fair is a philanthropic venture. It is also an Art Fair without snobbery, having been devised and put together by people from outside of the art world.
A: Could you talk us through the highlights of this year’s programme?
VH: We have an exciting line up of exhibitors and some stunning art work. We’re intrigued by “Paul” – a one-armed, one-eyed robotic portraitist. We’re also looking forward to watching the graffiti Art Battle on Thursday evening and have developed a more varied Arts Programme aimed at all ages.
A: Could you tell me a bit more about the “Unsung Heroes” project?
VH: The “Unsung Heroes” project centred around a photo competition – the theme of which was “Heroes”, as it encapsulates the very reasoning behind the Fair, which champions and supports people who have suffered a catastrophic injury and who return to their lives with flair, inspiration and positivity.
A: What is really interesting about the festival is the pairing of international visual art from the likes of Damien Hirst alongside the work of artists such as Sophie Morgan. What are the main challenges in displaying such diverse works under the same roof?
VH: The main challenge comes with attracting exhibitors who, while they may not be as renowned as the likes of Hirst, can offer something equally as interesting, inspiring and desirable.
A: There are some big names featuring as part of the festival this year, but the programme also gives exposure to early career artists. Who should we be most excited about seeing in the emerging section?
VH: Photographer Ellie Kealey and painter Yasuhiro Onishi are two exciting, emerging talents to look out for. Kealey has spent much of the last year in Afghanistan working with development projects and documenting changes taking place throughout the war-torn country, while Onishi completed his Fine Art degree in 2010 and was subsequently selected for “The Catlin Guide 2011.”
A: In addition to the works that will be on show visitors can also look forward to a specially created arts programme run by ArtInsight. How does this programme make the most of the fair’s location?
VH: The stunning courtyard will hold a giant tipi in which there will be live demonstrations by some of our exhibitors along with a children’s creative area. Amongst others, the children’s creative area will host patients from Great Ormond Street Hospital which is 2-3 minutes walk away. We’ve also got live music in the evenings for our guests to enjoy.
A: You had an incredibly successful inaugural year. What do you think contributed to the fair’s success in a crowded fair calendar?
VH: The anticipation of a new event that offered something slightly different, and in an attractive, “non-edgy” location that has its roots embedded in artistic history.
The Bloomsbury Art Fair, 06/07/2012 until 08/07/2012, Goodenough College, London House, Mecklenburgh Square, London, WC1N 2AB. www.bloomsburyartfair.com
If you just can’t wait until the weekend, Rise Art have teamed up with Bloomsbury Art Fair to offer their members free admission to the fair preview today from 5-9pm. Jump to it!