London has one of the most diverse and exciting art scenes in the world but it is not always easy to navigate your way through this vast city and to understand the complexities of its extraordinary art world. There is just so much going on and we all know that some of these events and galleries can be quite intimidating especially if you don’t have hundreds of thousands of pounds spare to spend on a masterpiece.
How refreshing it was then to welcome back The Other Art fair to London this year. Since its launch in 2011, The Other Art Fair has welcomed more than 167,000 visitors from around the world to its fairs, while becoming a mainstay of the London art scene. It has now established itself as an international event, with editions in London, Sydney, Los Angeles, Brooklyn, Melbourne, Chicago and Bristol.
This year The Other Art Fair kicked off its 17th edition in London with a four-day event at The Canopy in Kings Cross and the BAM! team couldn’t wait to get there! Firstly, having benefited from an incredible flow of investment, this is now one of the most exciting areas in London with world-class buildings, amazing landscapes and street markets all contributing to its hip vibe. Whatever preconceptions you may have about this previously seedy area – forget them!
Presented by Saatchi Art, what sets the The Other Art Fair apart from other events is that it offers both new buyers and seasoned collectors the opportunity to discover new and emerging talent at affordable prices. Chosen by a committee of art industry experts, this pioneering platform’s 140 exhibiting artists are all making waves in their field but have yet to be snapped up by blue-chip galleries.
There are plenty of ways to get involved even if you’re not intending to make a purchase. The artists, without exception are keen to engage with visitors and more than happy to tell you about their work and help the viewer interpret it. What always strikes us is just how much the artist’s appreciate it if you ask questions about their work – they seem truly grateful and humbled by your interest.
In a world that sometimes takes itself a little too seriously the laid back and friendly atmosphere is a refreshing change from those galleries that can sometimes feel a little intimidating. The Other Art Fair adds a sense of fun and really does open up the world of art to everyone making it accessible to all. In addition, by cutting out the middleman and giving you direct access to the artists, if you are looking for a new piece of art to jazz up your home, it’s a great place to bag a bargain that could ultimately prove to be a solid investment.
Alongside a host of interactive performances, the fair offered free kids activities, Saatchi Art guided tours and good bags, live music throughout the weekend from Soho Radio, Hand Poke tattoos by Brazilian artist Nara Ishikawa, plus a lively bar and a superb on-site restaurant.
If you missed this fabulous event, then make a note in your diary for 3rd-6thOctober when The Other Art Fair will be showcasing another London event at Victoria House, Southampton Row. If you are an aspiring artist and want to get involved you can follow them on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/theotherartfair/
Whilst the glorious summer may be over, and along with it we said goodbye for another year to many of the wonderful Art Fairs in and around London. However this is one of the Art capitals of the world and there is always something new to explore.
This week the BAM! team braved the biting cold, and with hats and gloves firmly in place got out and about to visit London’s only contemporary print fair.
With over 350 specialist artists and exhibitors, Woolwich Contemporary Print Fair is the only fair in London to deal solely in contemporary printmaking, and the largest of its kind in the UK, set in the impressive former carriage factory at the Royal Arsenal, Woolwich.
Celebrating every aspect of printmaking – from etching and lithography, to woodblock and screen-printing, exciting and emerging talent sat alongside established practitioners and we were privileged to be able to see first hand the work of amazing creators such as Chris Ofili, Paula Rego and Norman Ackroyd RA.
There was an incredible range of prints for sale and we were able to chat with these talented exhibitors taking advantage of their unsurpassed knowledge to learn more about this unique craft. With a plethora of interactive demonstrations and workshops, and a programme of talks and tours we were able to take a peek into the incredible practice of printmaking. Check out the video below to see Ewa having her first go at print making! If any of our readers were considering starting a collection this would be a perfect platform to gain invaluable insight into what to look for. If you missed it this year, make a note in your diary to look out for it in 2019 – perhaps we’ll see you there!
Formed in 1956, the MFPA is an international, for-profit association wholly owned and run by disabled artists. The Association came into being when Erich Stegmann, a polio-stricken mouth painter, gathered together a small group of disabled artists with a common goal to make a living through their artistic efforts; to have a sense of self worth and pride that until then had eluded them.
To this day, the MFPA’s motto worldwide remains
“Self Help – Not Charity.”
Combining his creative abilities with business acumen, Stegmann established the MFPA as a co-operative organisation that reproduces the artists’ work mainly in the form of cards, calendars and books, helping them meet their financial needs. One of Stegmann’s main objectives was that the MFPA must never be regarded as a charity simply because its members are disabled. To Stegmann, the word “charity” was as abhorrent as the word “pity.”
The Association maintains that it is not a charity and does not qualify for charitable assistance.Over 60 years later and this small group has grown to be an international organisation more than 800 members in 78 countries. All of these talented artists paint with brushes held in their mouths or feet as a result of a disability sustained at birth or through an accident or illness that prohibits them from using their hands.Singapore is home to 15 of these amazing Artists and BAM! is extremely proud to showcase some of their beautiful paintings and share some of the stories behind these great creatives.
Rajinder was just 26 years old when a motorbike accident left him paralysed from the chest down, rendering him a complete tetraplegic. Prior to his accident Rajinder was training as a technician for a petrochemical company and afterwards tried to continue working in telemarketing but the inability to move his hands made it impossible. Having always had a flair for the arts, Rajinder took the plunge, picked up a brush with his mouth and started to paint. He felt absolute joy as he began to create, and this joy expresses itself in all his beautiful artwork. Rajinder has been with the MPFA for 12 years now and credits them with providing him with an opportunity to forge a career as an Artist.
After a car accident left Zhang paralysed from her shoulders down, this former Chinese language teacher resolved not to allow herself to sink into a state of depression but instead, to move onwards and upwards and create a new and different life for herself. She started to hold a brush between her teeth and paint. It was tremendously difficult for her at the beginning and suffering regular dizzy spells meant she was unable to steady the brush. However, Kaini was determined to succeed and with perseverance overcame all the odds to become a very successful artist. “My paintings are colourful and cheerful” she explains of her work, “They reflect my life. I want my art works to inspire others to be courageous and optimistic.”
Kaini is currently working for the Association of Mouth and Foot Painting Artist Worldwide, striving to change society’s perceptions of physically challenged citizens such as herself. Her dream is to one day have a solo exhibition.
Aaron Yeo Kwok Chian
Aaron was born on 21 January 1979. On 12 November 2006 he was involved in a motorbike accident on his way home from work, sustaining spinal injuries which changed his life forever. For a long time after his hospital stay he did not know what to do until he met another tetraplegic, Gilbert Tan Yue Liang, who introduced him to mouth painting. In painting he has discovered a hidden talent that he pursues with a passion and being a part of the MPFA, means he is able to earn a living and not be a financial burden to his family.
Raymond was born in 1965 and as an only son, his family had high hopes of him continuing to run the family drinks stall business. A fateful day in August 1993 was to change all this. Raymond was travelling back from dinner with friends in a car that was hit by a taxi. The car over turned and Raymond was left paralysed from the chest down. Raymond was married with a young son and was surrounded by a supportive extended family who helped him accept the drastic changes to his life. However, it took him almost 17 years after the accident to work through his confusion and realize that he could do something to help his family financially and not to be a burden to them. From then on, his interest in the arts started to blossom. Using the help of YouTube videos he taught himself how to paint, learning to control the brush with his mouth. In 2011 Raymond joined the MFPA and has never looked back. In 2017 he joined us at the official launch of BAM! delighting our guests with a live demonstration of how he creates his beautiful paintings.
In 1982, at just 20 years old, Daniel met with a tragic car accident which left him paralyzed from his neck downwards. For the next 25 years Daniel relied on the help of his family for both emotional and financial help. However, all this was to change when in 2009 some friends introduced him to MFPA and presented him with a challenge – to paint by mouth! The complete loss of all his finger movements meant that wielding anything with his hands was an impossible feat but the idea of being able to create something of artistic value intrigued him and he persevered in his artistic endeavours. Despite the obvious difficulties, Daniel found painting to be therapeutic providing welcome relief from the endless television programmes, which often prove to be the only available pastime to those largely confined to bed. With the help of friends and family, Daniel was able to join painting sessions and grew to be an impressive mouth painter. Today he is an inspiring Artist with real meaning and purpose to his life.
Christina was born in 1972 and before a tragic car accident in 2005 left her paralaysed from the chest down, she enjoyed her career as a Prison Office. The accident in Malaysia was so severe that Doctors told Christina she would be permanently disabled.
Refusing to be defined by her new disabilities, Christina was determined to forge a new life for herself and got to know a group of friends who all painted with their mouths. Christina was intrigued and wanted to know more. Prior to her accident she had no real interest in the arts, but life had now changed so she picked up a brush and with steely determination taught herself to be a skilled painter. She was recognised by MFPA as a Student Member in March 2012 and today Christina’s work can be seen all over Singapore including on BAM! In 2017, Christina was also present at our official launch and we proudly watched her live demonstration where she created a special piece for the BAM! auction.
We’d like to introduce you to BAM! Artist Winnie Wong. Winnie was born in Hong Kong and fell in love with drawing and painting at the tender age of five. Being determined to pursue her passion, in 2017 she made the brave move to leave an amazing corporate career in Singapore to venture into unknown territory – that of striving to become an independent, aspiring artist.
As well as exhibiting her work publicly and helping collectors in the United Kingdom, Australia, Hong Kong and Singapore, Winnie is also known for her artistic entrepreneurial spirit, describing herself as a “dynamic design thinking practitioner” who is keen to contribute back to society and to use her artistic talents to make a difference to people’s lives.
Design Thinking is a methodology used by designers to solve complex problems, and find desirable solutions for clients. A design mindset is not problem-focused; it’s solution focused and action oriented towards creating a preferred future. Design Thinking draws upon logic, imagination, intuition, and systemic reasoning, to explore possibilities of what could be—and to create desired outcomes that benefit the end user. To Winnie, it is also an approach and attitude which she applies to building both her work and her life.
Using Design Thinking, Winnie has created “Dialogue in Art” (https://dialogueinart.com/about-us/) which came into fruition as she observed how an increasing amount of people were turning to technology and social media as a temporary means of escape when faced with the daily stresses and struggles of life. Winnie believes that such behaviour discourages real dialogues from taking place and gradually influences people to conform to the norm as they look for solution from the outside world. Winnie’s aim is to create opportunities for people to open up their minds by encouraging authentic expression and celebrating differences.
Art is a powerful vehicle to connect people to their emotions. It drives dialogue effectively not only because it can be understood universally, but also because the creation of art externalises the unconsciousness and make thoughts visible. ‘Dialogue in Art’ aims to provide a safe place for people to explore emotional truth, find their authentic voices, and be inspired to be different by creating a pressure-free, friendly, and innovative experience through art.
These are three strongly held beliefs that Winnie injects into all her projects and if you want to read more about Winnie’s community collaborations, please visit her website. Too see her beautiful artwork, you just have to click on the BAM! app
Connecting to Emotions
Art is a powerful vehicle to connect people with their true emotions and make thoughts visible
Initiating a Conversation
Art invites people to talk and explore things that matter
Inspiring to be Different
Art encourages divergent thinking, authentic expression and celebrates differences
London has one of the most diverse and exciting art scenes in the world. Alongside New York, this is the capital of the 21st-century art world. In 2016, thanks almost exclusively to this vibrant and exciting city, the UK accounted for 21% of global art sales. As global sales amount to around US$56bn, this is certainly not a periphery industry!
Alongside the city’s museums, high end galleries, seasoned dealers and critics there are endless exhibitions, solo shows, and numerous seasonal fairs exhibiting a wide range of artwork and very often providing an opportunity for art lovers to meet and engage with the artists – which is always a bonus!
Eager to be a part of this cool scene, BAM!’s ambassadors have been out and about eager to meet with all the talent of established artists as well as the new, young and emerging. Whilst there’s still plenty more to come, here’s a round up of what we’ve been up to so far:-
Reading Art Festival
First off we headed to Reading where Art lovers and Artists could meet face to face, to browse, talk, admire and hopefully buy. Now a regular feature in Contemporary Art Fairs Calendar, – Reading was set up in 2010 and is now a prominent national arts event. Bringing together over 160 artists, printmakers, photographers, sculptors, ceramicists and selected galleries from the UK and Europe, they offer the very best in contemporary art.
With artwork on offer from £40 to £4,000 there was something for everyone and the accompanying workshops, demonstrations and wine tasting made it a full, fun art filled day.
As BAM! is all about community building and establishing mutually supportive relationships, the highlight of our day was seeing some of our very own BAM! artists in action, happily exhibiting their amazing artworks and engaging with the hundreds of visitors who had flocked to see them.
Pabeo Mixed Media Event
Our Brand Ambassadors were delighted to attend the opening night of the Pebeo Mixed Media Exhibition at The Menier Gallery. This competition attracted over 460 entrants from across the country and here we were privileged to see the work of the final selected 72. We also got to chat to the winner @cindylesman @suzonlagarde and @markzalton – hope to see your work on BAM! soon guys!
Parallax Art Fair
Billed as the most popular Art Fair of it’s kind in London, and now we know why! With over 200 independent exhibitors from around the world this was a non stop journey of discovery; an event for everyone with no barriers or expectations about how much you know about art. All the artists were happy to answer our ‘amateur’ questions and indeed the whole ethos of Parallax is to promote an egalitarian approach to art offering mutual encouragement to new and emerging artists as well as continuing support for those more established.
Great to see our very own BAM! Artist Yulia Lisle exhibiting – and, not suprisingly everyone one of her beautiful paintings sold. You can see more of Yulia’s work on BAM! but you’ll need to act fast!
The Glam Rock Years
Stewart Dalzell has been an enthusiastic supporter of BAM! since we launched last year, so of course we were delighted to reciprocate by popping along to the opening night of his new Ziggy Stardust exhibition of paintings at London’s Clerkenwell Gallery. The show, entitled “Icons – The Glam Rock Years” featured seven, large scale paintings all inspired by classic 1970’s glam rock albums – an era Stewart is passionate about. Fusing the painting styles of Picasso, bacon and De Kooning with his love of music, Stewart has created a visual ‘Greatist Hits’ of his favourite era in rock ‘n’ roll.
A big thank you to Stuart for allowing us to position a couple of BAM! triggers so visitors to the exhibition could try out BAM!’s augmented reality feature – great fun was had by all!