In conversation with Lucinda Costello – UK Director of Affordable Art Fair

What can visitors expect to see at this year’s Battersea Spring fair?

As we return to the beautiful park we call home, we invite you to leave behind the winter months and join us in a celebration of colour. Our Workshops, Talks and Tours focus on colour – the impact of colour on mood and atmosphere; how colour can be used in therapy; how to tie a colourful bouquet with florists Bloom & Wild; even how to grind your own pigments and use them to create a masterpiece.

What part of the programme are you most looking forward to?

We’re absolutely thrilled to welcome artist James Burke as our Artist in Residence. You can spend some time with his works on stand D1, and even become part of the art by blowing air into his Everything and Nothing balloon… you’ll just have to go and see what I’m talking about.

One of the joys of creating Affordable Art Fairs is working with so many knowledgeable gallerists, brimming over with enthusiasm for their artists’ work. I urge you to dive into the fair and start exploring – you’re amongst friends here. You can slowly develop your own taste or maybe now’s the moment to take the plunge.

Lucinda Costello

Please walk us through the fair!

Our pop-up Print Village was such a hit in autumn we have brought it back and made it even better for spring.

Head out to the entrance where you’ll find our container village taken over by print studios demonstrating the art of printmaking, as well as street food vendors providing fresh, wood-fired pizzas and traditional churros. If it’s the next big thing you’re looking to invest in, then be sure to follow the fair guide to find our Platform Project installations from an incredible crop of emerging artists. Curated by Becca Pelly-Fry of thriving west London arts hub Elephant West, this year’s showcase offers the best in contemporary, large-scale work all with a relationship to the very topical subject of the environment.

Why was Affordable Art Fair established?

The very first edition of the Affordable Art Fair launched in London’s Battersea Park in October 1999 in answer to a lack of accessibility in the art world and looking to provide a platform for galleries at the lower end of the art market to reach a much wider audience. 10,000 art lovers descended upon the fair to browse and buy 1000s of original contemporary paintings, sculptures, photographs and prints in a relaxed and friendly environment.

So, you’ve come a long way.

We now welcome over 185,000 art enthusiasts each year to our fairs globally, where they can take their pick from a mix of local, national and international galleries showcasing a wide array of affordable artworks by established artists and rising stars. Since our humble beginnings, over 2.5 million people have visited an Affordable Art Fair, taking home over 485,000 pieces of artwork to loving new homes.

What are some good questions visitors should ask about art they love at the fair?

Our gallerists provide a wealth of expert knowledge and are incredibly friendly so everyone is welcome to ask as many questions as they like at the Affordable Art Fair.

In order to assess the value of a work you could start by asking more about the artist’s CV – a top tip is to listen out for the names of well-known art schools as a good indication of their background. You should also look more closely into the medium as something using more expensive materials is likely to come at a higher price. Most importantly, you really need to fall in love with a work before you commit so take your time, listen to your gut and enjoy the experience!

Who are your favourite artists right now?

I really love the work of our Artist Showcase for Battersea Spring Dionne Cole, her intricate paper forms are so detailed and delicate, they are a must-see! I also really love the work of Alexandra Gallagher, represented by Contemporary Collective Gallery, especially ‘Selfies With Bond’ the piece that inspired our spring campaign. Her effortlessly cool aesthetic would transform any interior.

When people find something they’re interested in buying, how can they use Own Art to spread the cost?

We’re super excited to have introduced the Own Art scheme at Battersea Spring to make buying art even more affordable by offering interest-free loans that can be paid back over 10 or 20 months. Firstly, look out for the Own Art logo on participating gallery stands, once you’ve found an artwork you love you can discuss spreading the cost of your chosen piece in interest-free instalments with the gallerist. You’ll then be taken to the dedicated team at Stand A1 where they will be able to process your application. It will take no more than 15 minutes and you’ll receive a decision immediately.