Chester Arts Fair – Review

This time last month, the Chester Arts Fair was well underway.  Visiting the fair was a real eye-opener for me as it was the first one I had been to, and being someone who wanted to become a freelance artist, it came as a huge inspiration. At first it was very daunting entering the place as it all seemed very professional and quite intimidating, to me, everyone knew what they were doing and it felt a little bit like they were looking down on me, as if they knew I had no idea what I was doing.

After a while of walking around and murmuring words such as ‘quality of line’ and ‘the form of it’ (as if I knew what I was talking about.) we approached a stall titled; Christopher Delni Offord.

Offord’s work stood out to me due to it’s subliminal qualities and its natural flow of abstract colours that, in turn, create a slightly more realistic finish. Creating the sublime phenomenon is my aim with my work at the moment, so Offord’s work was inspiration for that. Having spoken to him, he kind of put the whole idea of becoming a freelance artist into perspective for me, he spoke about getting work out there and pricing and there being a lot of competition. I showed him my website and some of the works on there to which the first thing he said was ‘animal art sells very well at art fairs, especially ones with character to them’ (hopefully referencing my work) he also asked about my pricing and once I told him, he said I should be selling for more, which was a confidence boost. He then spoke about his own work and the reason behind it.

Other artists weren’t as friendly and approachable, with one (apparently) telling someone off for taking a picture of her work (although they weren’t actually taking a photo at all). I did manage to take some pictures, but I always made sure I asked the artist first and once you explain who you are and why you want to take a photo, they seemed fine with it. however, it was a bit extensive. In the art world, you need to get your work out there, not hide it away, and not let people take photos. If you think someone is planning on copying you. there’s not much you can do, some people’s styles and motifs are very similar, resulting in similar work anyway. it is going to happen. It is a shame how some artists there were looking at people. I did often feel their eyes evaluating me as I tried to appreciate their work, it just made me feel uncomfortable to be honest.

Overall, mixed emotions about the Chester Arts Fair. On the one hand, I felt as if it was too intimidating and people there weren’t that friendly to people just browsing, and not ready to buy their work. On the other hand, there were a few open people I sort of felt I could speak to, and in a way, they could be my way into the business, after all, it is important to have connections. Also, it gives me an insight to what it would be like if I were to be in the arts business. Perhaps I need to toughen up a bit.

Fiona

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