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Three Types of Art Fair: Which One is For You?
Money-focussed, Artist-focussed, or Indie - which is your fav?
Art Expert 14 Sep 2021

Money-focussed, Artist-focussed, or Indie – which is your fav?

The world is unlocking and art fairs are desperate to open their doors following almost two years of cancellations, postponements, and downsizing. Gallerists, artists, and collectors alike are hyped to be back in the art fair scene in order to network, scout out talent, and sell.

We reckon there are three key ‘types’ of art fair, and we’re here to guide you through them to ensure you go to the type of event that’s right for your needs whether you’re an artist, collector, or gallerist. 

Artist-Focussed

‘Artist-Focussed’ art fairs are the ones where the booths are manned by the artist themselves, or a single representative for that artist (rather than representing an entire gallery). These fairs tend to have friendlier vibes, and feel less intimidating. Artists are there to make connections with (usually lower-budget) collectors, and gallerists are more likely to be visitors – not stallholders – seeking out new talent. 

Examples: Roy’s Art Fair, The Other Art Fair, Moniker
Recommended For: Artists Looking to be Scouted

Money-Focussed

These fairs feel much more commercial, are often intimidating, and are somewhere you’d go for business, not pleasure. The stalls are mostly hosted by galleries or collectors, and pricelists aren’t available unless you ask or do a secret nod. Artists might be attending in order to network with gallerists (which will be tricky, as they’re probably not interested in you unless you’re already a known name), and big-budget collectors will be there to find their next investment piece. This is a breeding ground for bitchy-behaviour, with gallerists, curators, and writers going to keep an eye on what everyone else is doing.

Examples: Frieze, Design Biennales, PAD, Art Basel, FIAC
Recommended For: Big-Budget Collectors

Indie

Indie fairs have a more arts-and-crafts feel, and you’d be just as able to buy furniture, crockery, and clothes as you would be a painting. Stalls are manned by creators and serious agents/galleries scouting out new talent are probably nowhere to be seen. These are great for artists networking with each other, and for making multiple, lower-value sales. People buying from these fairs might not even think of themselves as “collectors’, but they will be interested in who you are as a maker.

Examples: DIY Art Fair, Art Car Boot Sale
Recommended For: Lower-Budget Collectors and New Artists Looking to Network

Author: Verity Babbs

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