All you need to know about the Buy Art Fair and The Manchester Contemporary

Waleska Nomura Heart in Love Black

Waleska Nomura Heart in Love Black - Credit: Archant

“You won’t sell any real art up north” they were told but the organisers of the Buy Art Fair in Manchester proved them wrong. Get ready for the region’s biggest art show...

Artful Frank Herholdt

Artful Frank Herholdt - Credit: Archant

Q. Buy Art Fair and The Manchester Contemporary. What’s the difference and why both together?

Buy Art Fair is all about making it as easy as possible for everyone to buy original and affordable art. When you walk in you’ll be greeted by a host of galleries with the art work for sale clearly priced and a huge selection from over 500+ artists to choose from.

Our 80 galleries make the journey from all over the UK and Europe for the weekend and have work for sale from established artists, big household names and even celebrity artists, so you can always trust the quality and integrity of the work on sale.

Prices range from £50 for a limited edition print, which is a really affordable way to start collecting, right up to original pieces at £5,000+ for something totally unique. So whether you are looking for beautiful landscapes, edgy urban art, a contemporary sculpture or a famous name investment piece you’ll find it at Buy Art Fair.

The Manchester Contemporary sits alongside Buy Art Fair and provides a platform for critically engaged emerging artists, often being seen as “the next big thing”’. The Manchester Contemporary gives you the chance to buy work from these exciting artists at the very start of their careers. The galleries that represent and champion these artists are on hand to answer your questions and as the work is more challenging, we also have tours hosted by experts who will walk you through The Manchester Contemporary, sharing their insights and expertise and answering questions.

Buy Art Fair and The Manchester Contemporary work so well together as they provide the opportunity for anyone and everyone no matter what their budget or taste to buy original contemporary art.

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Q. Tell us how the shows started

The idea for Buy Art Fair came about because we felt that the North of England deserved its own credible art fair that would rival anything London or any other European city had to offer, and as exhibition organisers we were very fortunate to be able to do something about it.

Apple Pie House Gateway II By Fleetwood

Apple Pie House Gateway II By Fleetwood - Credit: Archant

Our research highlighted that many of the people who were interested in purchasing contemporary art did not know where to start. Where do you go? Which galleries are best? Which artists are worth buying? How do I find the time to visit galleries? A sentiment backed by The Arts Council’s Taste Buds Report which looked at the Northern Art Ecology and found that there was not the same infrastructure in place to support contemporary artists in the North of England as there is in London.

It has been a real journey since our launch in 2008 as we didn’t receive universal support, a typical sentiment being “you won’t sell any real art up North”. How wrong they were! Buy Art Fair has now sold over £2m worth of art, which means there are some very stylish walls in homes across Cheshire, Lancashire and Manchester. In fact the market here is so strong and so diverse that it means that Buy Art Fair collectors are snapping up work from artists across all genres be it sculpture, paintings, photography, glass wear and urban art. We have impeccable taste in the North!

Following the success of the inaugural Buy Art Fair in 2008 and in order to really deliver the ambition to be a leading art fair for the UK we began our relationship with the Arts Council England to create a ‘sister event’ which would compliment Buy Art Fair’s more established artists and provide a platform for critically engaged emergent visual artists, The Manchester Contemporary.

Q. Who has exhibited in the past?

We’ve had affordable prints for sale from Tracey Emin, whose My Bed recently sold for £2.54m and is now on loan to The Tate. Other big name artists include Damian Hirst, one of the most influential artists of his generation. Pure Evil, seen on Channel 4’s, 4 Rooms and the BBC’s The Apprentice painted live at Buy Art Fair last year to excited crowds. Hugely popular artists Kerry Darlington, Winner of the best-selling published artist award 2014, made a personal appearance at Buy Art Fair last year to meet collectors and sign and dedicate work along with rising star JJ Adams, recently described as “the Zappa or Hendrix of the Fine Art Scene”. Buy Art Fair has also featured original work for sale from much loved Northern based artists such as Burnley born Liam Spencer, whose work is currently on display in Manchester Art Gallery.

Q. How does the event help artists?

Buy Art Fair creates a platform for galleries to sell the work of the artists they represent and to reach out to buyers who would never visit a conventional high street gallery. Collections have begun at Buy Art Fair and many visitors return year on year to buy work from the same artists to add to their collection. The Manchester Contemporary showcases the work of emerging artists who for them, to have a piece bought by an influential collector or a public gallery can put them on the path to huge success. By purchasing original art at Buy Art Fair and The Manchester Contemporary you are making a real difference to artists working today, the galleries that support and nurture their talent and you get to take home a piece of art that you love.

Untitled: Oriol Angrill-Jorda

Untitled: Oriol Angrill-Jorda - Credit: Archant

Q. What advantages does Buy Art Fair give those who want to invest in art?

Being able to see so much art in one place means people looking to invest in a piece of art in the hope it will be worth more in the future can compare work from hundreds of artists and therefore make the best decision as to who to buy. Buying at an art fair is great because you can speak to so many gallery owners in one place, who are more than happy to help and advise you on their artists. If you look on our website we’ve some fantastic collecting advice from The Contemporary Art Society, The Own Art Scheme and also videos of the gallerists themselves sharing their knowledge and expertise, so you can even do your homework before the Fair! Our advice is to always buy with your heart rather than trying to guess which artists will go up in value. Buy what you love, take it home and enjoy it, you can’t lose.

Q. How can the event help those who haven’t bought art before?

There’s no better place to buy art for the first time than Buy Art Fair. Whether you have a few pounds to spend or thousands Buy Art Fair is open, friendly and welcoming. If you know next to nothing about art it doesn’t matter, gallery staff are more than happy to answer any questions and love telling people all about their artists and work. By walking around the fair certain pieces will jump out as they appeal to your taste and with clearly displayed prices there’s no awkwardness of asking how much a piece is only to find out it’s out of your budget. The only challenge is to not completely blow your budget!

Q. Where is Buy Art Fair and The Manchester Contemporary being held this year?

Buy Art Fair and The Manchester Contemporary take place at the Old Granada Studios. The iconic film and television studios once home to Coronation Street, Cold Feet and Cracker will be taken over by Buy Art Fair and The Manchester Contemporary. Gone is the set of the Rovers Return, replaced by white walls ready for art to be hung.

Q Why is this significant?

Granada is a culturally resonant name in the North and has a massive history and connection with the arts. Granada’s founder, Sir Sydney Bernstein was a hugely important and influential art collector and art work by Chagall, Modigliani and Giacometti adorned the walls of Granada Studios to inspire staff creativity. After his death many of the pieces were bequeathed to Manchester Art Gallery and can be seen there today or made their way into private collections. Without a doubt Old Granada Studios is going to become one of the most important cultural and creative spaces in the country, and Buy Art Fair and The Manchester Contemporary will be blazing a trail.

Q. How many galleries are taking part this year?

Over 80 galleries will take part in the fair from right across the UK. There are also galleries from Spain and Amsterdam taking part adding an international flavour to Buy Art Fair and a chance to see artists work that you wouldn’t normally have the opportunity to buy. Some of the galleries have taken part in the fair since the very first Buy Art Fair in 2008, for others 2014 will be their first year exhibiting in Manchester.

Q. How does it work for them?

By exhibiting at Buy Art Fair galleries meet buyers and collectors they would otherwise never meet. Whether they are based in Manchester, London or further afield the open atmosphere of the fair means visitors who otherwise would not visit a gallery are happy to look at and buy the work for sale. Many visitors return year on year to buy work from the same gallery as they have a trusted, friendly relationship with the gallery owners.

Q You have some exciting exhibitors this year, who should we be looking out for?

We will have some wonderful galleries returning this year such as Antlers Gallery (Bristol), Arusha Gallery (Edinburgh), Cloud Gallery (Chester), Atelier Rose & Gray (Hale), ArtDog (London), and Hepplestone Fine Art (Heskin) who will also be joined this year by Olivia Connolly Gallery (Brighton), Tint-Art (Sussex) and The Art Shop (Amsterdam) who will be exhibiting in Manchester for the first time in 2014. There are so many it’s impossible to choose! You can look at all the galleries now on our website and browse some of the art for sale.

Q. Do you need to know anything about art to enjoy the Fair?

Not at all. Buy Art Fair breaks down all the boundaries that can stop people becoming art lovers. It’s a relaxed and friendly fair and a great day out, with live music, live painting, and delicious food and drink which all add to the ‘festival’ atmosphere. Tickets are free so even if you are unsure about what you are looking for, you can visit, have look around and if something catches your eye there’s nothing to stop you from taking it home. The gallery owners and artists are delighted to answer your questions, however silly you might think they are, they are the experts and are here to help.