Art Fair Advice from Ryan Stanier, founder of The Other Art Fair


By Fiona Jones | 27 October, 2016


Ryan Stanier made his entrance into the art world with Artbeat - a commercial gallery space in Covent Garden with the sole purpose to promote emerging artists.

Despite being in London, a city known for it's creativity, Ryan found that many emerging artists struggled to sell work without Gallery representation, with this in mind and off the back of the success of Artbeat, Ryan launched The Other Art Fair in November 2011. An artfair like no other it offered emerging artists a place to sell art to both established and first time buyers, get gallery exposure and offer the public access to some of the best undiscovered artists

We spoke to Ryan about how to create success at The Other Art Fair.

What are your main goals when you run the fair?

When we run the fair we mainly look to give our artists and visitors a unique experience; unique to any other art fair. We want our artists to feel as though they have made progress in terms of gaining more recognition and opportunities, and for our visitors to discover these impressive emerging artists and become a part of a really exciting contemporary art industry that is constantly evolving.

What do you look for when selecting fair participants?

For each Fair a highly regarded independent Selection Committee is appointed who work closely with the Fair Director to ensure a diverse range of Artists are chosen. The process is driven purely by meritocracy and the Selection Committee are asked to select 40 Artists each who present a strong body of work which will sit well within the Fair, and who they feel recognize and represent the value of the fair beyond artwork sales.

From your experience, what are art fair buyers/visitors looking for?

Everyone has their own individual tastes and most buyers and visitors come to the fair knowing exactly what type of art they are after. Some also don’t however, and the fair gives them a great environment to discover new art and artists.

Are you ever able to predict who does well?

It’s not really a matter of being able to predict it. A lot of it comes down to how well the artists are promoted in the run-up to the fair. Our artists are good at publicising themselves on social media and additionally a large part of our marketing is focused on supporting the artists and engaging our huge network of gallerists, collectors and critics who are searching for the next big thing.

What is the best way to stand out at an art fair?

The nature of the fair tends to attract artists who have long-term visions and a certain entrepreneurial flair. These types of artists stand out particularly at art fairs because the are selling their work face-to-face, which is hugely different to selling their work in a gallery or online. In the lead up to the Fair we run Artists briefings and workshops advising on how best to present their work, themselves, and get the most out of their stand (at the fair).

 


"Using social media and building up a database of contacts and buyers is so important when it comes to establishing ones-self in this industry. Not using all the resources available could be the difference between ‘making it’ and not making it in the current contemporary art world."- Ryan Stanier


What is the worst way to stand out at an art fair?

It’s not uncommon for artists to get little-to-no guidance at art fairs about how to set up their stands to effectively represent themselves and their work. We put a lot of thought towards how to guide our artists and run a series of informative artist workshops in the lead-up to the fair to make them more industry-ready. We will also have our guest curator Rebecca Wilson on-site for October to assist and advise artists on how best to set up their stands so as to not under-represent themselves.

What are the most common mistakes made by participants?

Like I said, it’s important not to under-represent yourself as an artist. Using social media and building up a database of contacts and buyers is so important when it comes to establishing ones-self in this industry. Not using all the resources available could be the difference between ‘making it’ and not making it in the current contemporary art world.

What is the best piece of advice you could give to an artist attending their first fair?

Some of our artists may have never taken part in an art fair before joining us, which can seem a little daunting at first. The fair is a perfect setting and opportunity to make new contacts, acquire new collectors and to just grow their databases as much as possible. It’s not often they get to come into contact with so many potential buyers and gallerists in one place.




 

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