Aberdeen Art Fair: An Interview with Gerry Muldoon
Aberdeen Art Fair is back home for their 9th year this year, returning to the Aberdeen Music Hall following its three-year closure.
We chat to the Director of the fair, Gerry Muldoon, to see what this means for the fair, as well as the fantastic charity they’re raising money for.
Explain how the Aberdeen Art Fair came to be.
My company, GM Events Ltd, started the AAF some nine years ago following 18 months consultation with art galleries, artists, art organisations, and the public to find out what demand there would be for such an annual event.
What was the demand and how easy/difficult was it to meet these expectations?
Demand for exhibition space, since year one it has been increasing each year, hence the reason we were very keen to return to the Music Hall and its larger capacity.
As there are some very good other art fairs out there, we had to ensure that we had various points of difference and offer something unique. Hence why we offer two makes of stands, one of which offers exhibitors on a budget the opportunity to take part. Also, we are aware that art galleries may only be able to send one member of staff to the art fair as they keep their gallery open, so we also offer free of charge stewards to assist in helping carry their work into the event, as it can be quite laborious transporting their art. We are also completely transparent in our marketing and PR activities, so a potential exhibitor can make an informed decision when they see the large scale investment we make to promote our art fairs.
What would you say is unique to Aberdeen Art Fair?
That we have art galleries exhibiting alongside individual artists.
And how do you think this benefits the art fair?
This benefits both the galleries and artists as it provides a great opportunity for both parties to network and we have received numerous testimonials from artists who have picked up exhibition work from attending galleries. Our customers also tell us that they like being able to meet the artists in person and are often surprised to find out that the person on the exhibition stand is in fact the artist.
Do you have any tips for those who are on the fence about purchasing artwork?
Don’t be afraid to go into your local art gallery and speak to them about your potential purchase, as they have so much experience and great advice to offer.
Is there anything in particular about this year’s art fair that you’re looking forward to?
For this year’s ninth year, the AAF returns to the Aberdeen Music Hall following its 3 year closure and nine million pound refurbishment, and to celebrate this return we are offering free admission to the public for the first time in the event’s history.
How are you liking the new space?
The new space is great and affords us more exhibition room and is more user-friendly but at the same time, it still holds the old character that has made it such an iconic location.
How would you say the Scottish art scene has developed in recent years?
I would say that firstly there are more artists working in Scotland than there has been and with the internet it is harder, and not necessarily easier, to get their voice heard out there. That is why art fairs/festivals are becoming more popular. As Scottish and British culture evolves, so will its art, so I think given everything going on at the moment we should be in for exciting times ahead, especially when you see some of the fantastic creative work coming out of the art schools.
“Don’t be afraid to engage with the exhibitors as they have so much enthusiasm for their work”
Any advice to anyone attending the fair this year?
Don’t be afraid to engage with the exhibitors as they have so much enthusiasm for their work and they can tell you about the story and interpretation behind the art that you will see and about the artists many of whom will also be in attendance.
The opening times are as follows: Friday 30th August 6 pm – 9 pm; Saturday 31st August 10 am – 5.30 pm; Sunday 1st September 10 am – 5 pm.