Art & Culture

Discover a future masterpiece at London’s Art Car Boot Fair

The fair returns for a very special festive edition.

For those of your looking for a more discerning gift selection this Christmas, the Art Car Boot Fair is back for a very special festive edition on Sunday 9th December. Taking over Vauxhall’s new gallery district, it will feature work from over 80 established and emerging artists including Juno Calypso, Gavin Turk, Rachel Howard, Mr Bingo and Patrick Hero.

With many pieces available for £50 and under with artists offering various personalisation options – it’s a chance to get your hands on a future masterpiece and experience the variety and vibrancy of the London art scene in all its glory.

Find out more about what’s in store from founder Karen Ashton and preview some of the works which will be on sale this weekend below.

Hi Karen, what’s the Art Car Boot sale all about and why did you decide to set it up?

It’s all about bringing art to the people in a selective yet democratic fashion. We take the idea of an art fair and cross it with a car boot sale to make the environment completely unintimidating and fun. Then we select artists on two counts – one that their work is great and current, and two that they themselves are game about bringing out their inner barrow boy or dealmaker – and not to be too precious with their work being sold out of the back of a van or boot of a car. The idea is that it’s a completely level playing field for artists famous or unknown and buyers experienced or absolute novices. I set it up back in 2004 because I felt that the London art scene had become too po-faced and I remembered the joy I used to get about a decade or so earlier when I first got involved in the art scene – all the mad happenings and the Fete Worse than Death. And it coincided with meeting a car sponsor in a pub and the idea just popped into my head – a car boot type event all about art and frivolity and bringing the artist to the centre to the fore – not the middlemen – and getting them to have some fun away from the overt commercial/career demand of the blue-chip gallery types.

Who are some of the most exciting artists that we can find at the festive edition this year?

We have a fine line-up, as always!  Royal Academicians and Turner Prize nominees, Urban Art heroes, Political artists, award winning painters, photographers and sculptors, artists who shock surprise and mesmerise with works that include radical ceramics, cool graphics and messy emotional paintings. Our youngest artist is 10 and our oldest, the fabulous Colin Self, 80+.  Polly Morgan, Mat Collishaw, Rachel Howard, Bob & Roberta Smith, Charming Baker, Pure Evil, Frea Buckler, Sara Pope, Amelia Troubridge, Marcus Harvey, Gavin Turk – to name but a few of the 80+ artists who will be there.

Do you have any top tips on how we can spot a future masterpiece?

I’m not sure that I do in the sense that a masterpiece is often the culmination of talent and a career and so my advice is to look out for art that chimes with you.  An artist who has a subject and where you can see a definite signature through their work. Some things look very simple, graphic even, like Andy Warhol and his legacy – the most important thing is that it means something to you. If you are buying for investment, check out the secondary market prices of work – auction houses and so on. If you are buying for yourself, buy what makes your heart sing or punches you in the solar plexus!

What are some of the highlights for you?

Too many to mention. I am literally gobsmacked by the images pouring into my inbox every day. Worthy of special mention because they are so new and exciting are Isabel Bannerman’s amazing new series of images based on botanical subjects – the Diathanus Spook being my very favourite, the incredible Christmas Card by Charming Baker, Geraldine Swayne’s phenomenal paintings – seriously buy one now while you can still afford one. Marcus Harvey’s Ceramic Boot, again a sculpture by an artist of his stature for a few hundred quid is staggering, and three beautiful Star images for Christmas. Frea Buckler has created a beauty especially for this event, so has Kristjana Williams and the other is by Ian Dawson – Dotstar – a neo-pontilist joy – and the artist is very kindly donating all profits to Help Refugees.

Events like this make buying art feel more inclusive and accessible – what else do you think the art world can do to open up to more people, particularly younger audiences?

Events are great. Interaction and direct communication with artists is inspiring. Galleries opening up at night and bringing in other disciplines – music, performance and dance with artists like Eddie Peake, and inclusive private views and openings so everyone gets a chance to experience the buzz around an opening night.

What’s most exciting about London’s art scene right now?

South London darling!  From Nine Elms to the Peckham Levels, it’s a hotbed of exciting and innovative galleries, mould-breaking art schools like the Turps Banana Painting School, the new South London Galley extension, Bold Tendencies and the myriad of pop-ups. It’s dizzying how much is going on and it’s such a scene that we are thinking of starting an artist drinking club so there’s somewhere we can all always go.

Thanks Karen!

The festive edition of the London Art Car Boot sale will take place this Sunday 9 December at The Workshop, 26 Lambeth High Street, London SE1 7AG – find out more

7 December 2018