Taking part in an art event is always exciting, daunting and usually involves a lot of organising, hard work and tiredness but also joy, growth and recognition. One such event, The Other Art Fair Bristol, 26-29 July, gave me the opportunity to exhibit in a high-profile show alongside seasoned peers.
This year I set out several goals to take my artistic endeavours further. The goals took me out of my comfort zone but this was necessary for me to develop my experience and skills as a professional artist. These included the completion of my new website, featuring a brand new fortnightly blog (which you’re visiting and reading right now, of course!) plus personal creative challenges such as experimenting with producing larger sized paintings and making more daytime themed urban art. Another significant goal for me was taking part in The Other Art Fair Bristol UK, in July.
As it was my first showing at a major art fair I knew that there was much to take onboard and learn. Planning, painting and organising started months before the event, and included creating work specially for the show, as well as advertising it on social media. Meticulous planning aside, I knew that much invaluable experience would really come during the four days when I was at the event. There was some trepidation as I did not know initially how visitors in Bristol might respond to my urban themed paintings of wheelie bins, workman barriers and parked vehicles in residential streets at night. The reaction, however, was highly positive and encouraging, and many visitors stated how much they enjoyed viewing my work and commented on the ‘unusual' themes displayed in my landscape paintings. It was a pleasure to meet and chat with people who showed a genuine delight for my work.
Another great experience was the relationships that I forged with the other exhibiting artists. Each one had a unique and original creative style, and all were at different stages in their careers e.g. one artist I spoke to had twenty years experience of art fairs. There was never a sense, though, of competitiveness amongst each other, rather more a genuine feeling of collaboration and collective support. I learned much from my peer group over the duration of the fair, including important constructive feedback, artistic food for thought and tips to take my practice forward in the future. We kept the mood light and encouraged each other, especially when there were lulls at certain times of day. (No matter how much one plans things there are always aspects out of ones control such as adverse weather conditions or alternative public events taking place at the same time.)
The effect of The Other Art Fait on my art practice will be felt for weeks and months ahead. I already have clearer objectives and ways to expand what I do and hopefully make the art fair the first of many.