What to expect at this year’s Fresh: Art Fair

Peregrine Study, by Jim Starr, at Paragon

Peregrine Study, by Jim Starr, at Paragon - Credit: Archant

With the third Fresh: Art Fair fast approaching we ask co-founder Anthony Wardle what’s coming up

Why do you buy art? That’s not a rhetorical question. Ask yourself...is it for purely practical reasons to fill a gap on a wall or a space on a shelf? Is it to create a particular ‘look’ for a new house or a rather tired old room? Is it simply to gaze in admiration at the originality and skill of an artist, or perhaps to invoke a dream or memory, or make you think or smile or even laugh out loud. Or all of the above.

One thing I do from time to time is walk around my house and note the art that I pass every day without a second look… if art fails to give me pause or pleasure it may be time to move it to the departure lounge.

Take pleasure in the buying

But selling work is only the start of the problem… buying art is not something you can easily do on Amazon. Art is slow in developing an online market… you need to see it, feel it, walk around it, even live with it a little. But it takes time to get around enough galleries to find the piece you love, and all too often we begrudge this time. So… go to an art fair.

At Fresh: Art Fair you’ll be able to visit 50 galleries in one place, see 5,000 works by 500 local, national and international artists, all in a couple of enjoyable hours with a glass of wine in your hand. Sound good so far? There’ll be original prints and paintings, sculpture, glass and ceramics from as little as £100 to £30,000 but most of them well within most people’s budgets. There’ll everything from emerging talent to Royal Academicians… Blake, Hockney, Hirst, Emin, Sutherland, Piper, Frost and McLean will all be there. And a good deal more.

Frames and framing

At the Fair this April we’ll be exploring some of the mysteries of art. There’ll be talks and demonstrations by leading London picture framer and fine art fabricator Darbyshire. Working with artists, galleries, collectors and museums, Darbyshire creates frames and display cases for many of our most famous names. They will shortly have a consultation service from their workshops in Stonehouse. Their talks will explain how to choose frames and how framing is important in art conservation.

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Art and interior design

There will be two talks on the Saturday of the Fair by Interior Designer and Instagram phenomenon Dee Campling. Dee is Cheltenham-based but reaches the whole world of interiors… she will talk about the role of art in interior design and take your questions.

Prints and print-making

Perhaps the biggest mystery of all will be explained by painter and print-maker Jim Starr while he shows you how it’s done.

There are prints and there are original prints. The first are simple reproductions produced on huge machines sometimes in thousands and involve no artistic skill whatsoever. You might as well take a photograph of a painting and print it on your old HP… that is a print. They tend to be cheap and you will NOT find them at Fresh.

Original prints on the other hand, are produced in many ways but always with the direct involvement of the artist. They may be etchings, engravings, lithographs, screen prints, woodblocks or linocuts. They are often called impressions rather than prints and are always produced in numbered editions and signed by the artist. Each colour in a print usually requires a separate stone, plate, block, or stencil, and any of these basic processes may be combined in the creation of a finished work. Jim will be working on a screen print throughout the Fair.

Art valuation

International fine art auctioneers Bonhams will be with us again to give you advice on selling your old art (that stuff that was handed down to you years ago… that you never look at). This year they will give some informal talks about the mysteries of art valuation.

Bringing their own particular works of art, our partners H R Owen will again display a range of Specialist Cars on the Centaur forecourt, by such notable ‘artists’ as Aston Martin, Bentley, Ferrari, McLaren and Porsche.

Presiding over the entire Fair and the Private View in particular will be our sponsor St. James’s Place Wealth Management. At the Private View there’ll be live jazz, good wine, a thousand or more guests and a huge buzz. You can buy tickets online. u

Fresh: Art Fair will be in the Centaur building at Cheltenham Racecourse from April 26 to 28, with a Private View on the evening of April 25. Visit Freshartfair.net for more information.

Read our interview with Anthony and Ellie Wardle, founders of Fresh: Art Fair here.

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