The Affordable Art Fair opens its doors once again in leafy Hampstead June 12th to 15th this week. 113 galleries exhibit a range of contemporary art within the 'affordable' bracket, showcasing their wares and artists, established names, emerging names, paintings, photographs, sculpture and original prints between £40 and £4,000.
Just as Ayn Rand's Roark subversively demolishes the Corlandt building after promises are broken and his designs changed, these artists are undermining a society that no longer functions for the benefit of the common people. Their art not only brings home the reality of today's surveillance state, but asks, do we have to live this this?
Each year curator Justin Hammond travels the length and breadth of the UK visiting art schools and colleges and attending their degree shows. Through his observations, along with recommendations from tutors and those in the art world, his task is to choose 40 of those he considers to be the most promising young talent for inclusion in the annual Catlin Guide.
I've been a bit flighty the last few years, but I'm naturally quite earthy. I guess I just have to balance the fact I'm really a traveller, who got a bit sidetracked for too long, with somewhere to oil paint, cook, dig and bathe. I dread to think how much of my life I've spent in a depressed stupor.
I imagine driving somewhere in a van, France, Italy, the sense of freedom makes me happy, I stop off at a beauty parlour in some small town and get my nails painted pale pink, my hair extra blonded, I feel good. I by chance get invited out to dinner by some vague male apparition, I go out of curiosity, this is like tripping, I try to see what he looks like, Dennis Weaver in McCloud, crikey.
I'd fallen into a little pit of minor despair, (a big black hole, couldn't move), all energy had gone and I was feeling a bit hopeless, thank goodness a quick trip to the Smoke revived me. I walked lots, covered quite a few miles, squashed lots of errands into a few hours, it was nice to be back 'home' in the city with my boy, all be it briefly.
When I have finished a painting, I find it hard to summon up the confidence to start on another, I can fall into a bit of a pit, so if there are already roughed in works, it's like I'm not really stopping. I'll probably do a different kind of work soon, I'll probably be in a different place. Though these works, feel like my main work, I keep coming back to them.
I've been making paintings on hand-made paper for a few years now, I love the feel and look of them, not for the faint-hearted, a few crinkles can scare a canvas traditionalist off, I'm dead proud of them. One collector in LA said his framer had never seen anything like them, which I think is a bit of a compliment...
There comes a stage in life when clip frames and old art posters just don't cut it anymore. You yearn for something different in your living space, art that doesn't bear the hallmarks of former student living or décor on the cheap. But you don't have a lot of money and, assuming you're not after a landscape painting to match the curtains, you don't know where to start.
I recently embarked on a good spring-clean of my files and book shelves at home. My main task was to thin out the serried ranks of policy and evaluation reports that accumulated during a period of freelance employment in the early to late 2000s - the high watermark of the last Labour government's investment in the arts and creative education.
The Marrakech Museum for Photography and Visual Arts (MMP+) is a new home for the arts, somewhere that with all the political and social unrest you see every day in North Africa, will send out a message to the rest of the world that Morocco is a country where contemporary culture can and will triumph over reactionary thinking.