The Affordable Art Fair will be returning to Battersea this October, bringing  its own democratised approach to the art market with it.

The Affordable Art Fair, first opened in 1999, and is defined by its friendly, unfussy approach and its wide offering of contemporary art, with all pieces on sale priced from £40 – £4,000. Mixing well known names with recent graduates from top art colleges across the UK guarantees an eclectic mix of paintings, original artist-made prints, sculpture and photography all on offer from over 100 galleries under one roof.

We sat down with Nicky Wheeler, the Fair Director and UK MD,  to find out more about what first time collectors should look for:

What tips would you give to a wannabe art collector – how and where should they start?
First and foremost, ask Questions! The art industry is bursting with exceptionally interesting, knowledgeable folk and it’s a real pleasure to meet people. Whether you’re at an art fair or private gallery, have a chat to the curator or gallerist. You shouldn’t feel intimidated and you don’t have to blag it – no question is a wrong question. If you’re interested in investing, it’s certainly the best way to gauge the artist’s career progression and their achievements but ultimately you’re the only expert on what you like.

How would someone be able to spot an item which may be valuable in the future?

Like all other investments – the stock market, property, fine wines – art prices can go up, but they can also go down. And contemporary art is the most volatile of all areas of the art market. Certainly don’t expect to get rich quick – because most collectors can go to the internet for records of sales history, you’d need to hang on to work for a good 5-10 years before you could expect to make any significant profit. That said, there have been some real winners at the Affordable Art Fairs over the years – if you’ve bought Sacha Jafri, Stella Vine, Mary Fedden, Antony Micallef, amongst many others, then you will have done well in terms of investment. But we would always advise that you buy for love. That way it will give you a lifetime’s pleasure and if it does happen to increase in value, then you can be very smug and congratulate yourself on your excellent choice!

Are there any artists we should look out for in the future?

Our curator visits around 50 graduate shows, both BA and MA, across the UK and selects 15 – 20 emerging artists to highlight at the Affordable Art Fair in a special exhibition Over the years, many of those featured in our Recent Graduates’ Exhibition have been picked up by prestigious galleries and gone on to show around the world. Anyone buying an Andrew Salgado a few years ago would be impressed by his recent international solo shows all of which have sold out completely. Similarly Damien Roach, Jodie Carey, Alex Dordoy and Chan-Hyo Bae are all developing very promising careers.

This year, there is some wonderful photography from famous names such as Terry O’Neill and Steve McCurry being exhibited by Huxley & Beetles Gallery.The exquisite works by Thomas Darnell, represented by Roberta Moore, are well-priced and won’t remain at an ‘affordable’ level for long. Young And the artists being exhibited by Bristol-based gallery Coates & Scarry, such as Angela Lizon and Deedee Cheriel, are certainly worth a closer look. But at the end of the day, it still comes down to personal taste, what work draws you in and you want to look at for many years to come.

The fair will take place at Battersea Park: Thursday 24 – Sunday 27 October 2013 and tickets will be priced between £10 – £20



Become an art collector with The Affordable Art Fair