Art & Culture

Five artists you need to know at the Other Art Fair

Over 140 artists will take over the iconic Truman Brewery this weekend...

One of the most inclusive art events London has on offer, The Other Art Fair is a vibrant display of the art world globally and locally. From guest artist Gary Baseman to up and comers Erin Aniker and Fei Alexeli, there’s art for anyone and everyone. We caught up with five of our favourite artists on display to get to know what the fair means to the community, and what it means for art all over…

The Other Art Fair runs from 14-17th March at the Old Truman Brewery, Brick Lane, London, e1 6QR.

Erin Aniker

What does The Other Art Fair mean to you?

Making art more accessible and allowing you to interact, talk with and buy art directly from living artists. I also think their talks programme, workshops and art installations are all pretty experimental and forward thinking. It doesn’t seem anywhere near as formal and stuffy as more traditional art fairs and definitely seems like the more fun art fair!

What are you getting up to there?

So I’m hosting a workshop but I’m not actually one of the artist’s that has a stand at the fair selling their artwork, although I will have some of my illustration prints for sale at my workshop! I’m going to be hosting a ‘Protest & Power’ workshop all day Sunday 17th March, 11 am – 6 pm as part of the newly launched ‘Illustration Corner’ where a new illustrator takes over each day and hosts a workshop. My workshop, ‘Protest & Power’ is a DIY Feminist Poster workshop and is open to people of all drawing abilities. For those less confident drawers, there will be a variety of black and white poster templates featuring Aniker’s illustrations of some feminist icons for you to embellish using provided art materials. They’ll feature renowned feminist activists such as Malala Yousafzai, Angela Davis, Gloria Steinem, Marsha P. Johnson, Simone de Beauvoir, Tarana Burke, Maya Angelou, Munroe Bergdorf, Charlie Craggs, among many others. There will also be blank poster templates for you to fill with your own illustrations and bringing along photos of personal feminist icons, including family and friends is strongly encouraged! Find out more about the workshop here.

What does art mean to you?

Questioning, challenging and raising awareness. I love creating personal work that creates a space for community, solidarity and support as well as exploring and raising awareness about issues surrounding feminism and the environment. I also love using my illustration work as a tool to help visually convey someone’s story and message. The art world can also seem quite inaccessible, out of touch and elitist for a lot of us, especially if you’re an emerging artist or illustrator that’s trying to figure things out. So, for me, art also means creating your own creative communities and networks, looking out for one another and holding doors open for each other in order to work through many of those barriers and boundaries, to make the art world and the creative industries, as a whole, seem less intimidating and more accessible for everyone.

What’s next for you?

I’m working on a personal body of work for my first solo exhibition which I’m hoping to hold later on this year! You can keep up to date with my work on my Instagram here. I also create a lot of my work digitally using a drawing tablet and I’m excited to be holding my first digital drawing workshop at the apple store on Regent Street on 16th May from 6.30pm to 8pm. I’ll be sharing more information about it on my Instagram for anyone interested in coming!

FEI ALEXELI

What does The Other Art Fair mean to you?

4 intensive days of fun and art for people of art and for people that just want to know more about it. It’s actually a celebration and meeting point. Quite amazing energy down from the beginning while you’re setting up your stand and doors are still closed for public, till the actual fair and all rush and excitement about the interesting connections and sales that are about to happen.

How did you choose what to exhibit?

I arrange all my works in a virtual hypothetical space sized according to my stand and then I have a look at them and try to combine old and new works together. Trying to narrate in a way that makes sense and combine my colour palette, which is a bit tricky cause my work is very colourful. I also choose where to place my most prominent work of the show and think of people’s flow, what people see first in my stand while approaching it from different directions.

What does art mean to you?

Art for me is expression, beyond verbal communication. When words are failing me, and they often do, art comes in. It’s therapeutic in many ways.

What’s next for you?

I have some shows in the States with The Other Art Fair in April and an art festival coming this summer in London, which might involve an urban installation for Curious Duke Gallery.

rocio romero

What does The Other Art Fair mean to you?

Well, The Other Art Fair is going to be my first art fair and this is very exciting! The fair is a huge opportunity to show my work to the public in a direct way and know their “first hand” reactions. It also offers the possibility to meet other artists and galleries, live the experience with them and create possible synergies among all.

How did you choose what to exhibit?

I have decided to exhibit my latest series of collages, which collect the themes that fascinate me lately. Some of them have elements in common but in general they are very heterogeneous. The figure of women is very present in my work. And according to my education, I cannot avoid references to geometry and space.

What does art mean to you?

This is “the question”. I think everyone has its own conception about art, at least in a very basic way. For me art is a constant search of tools to express my own dreams and thoughts in order to escape from the stablished guidelines. And always seeking beauty in its wider sense.

What’s next for you?

I’m working on the illustration of some book covers. It´s very interesting to work with the ideas of another creator and try to translate it into a collage, getting out of my own topics. I am also preparing some street collage works in my hometown.

tom buchanan

What does The Other Art Fair mean to you?

I’ve heard really inspiring things about The Other Art Fair, so decided to take the plunge. I’m hoping it’s going to be a platform for empowerment, an opportunity to head straight to the source in meeting people who count, as well as some like minded souls along the way.

How did you choose what to exhibit?

I’m showcasing my second collection of illustrative plates, which has been an exciting discovery over the last year. I had a debut solo show at the Ben Oakley gallery just before Christmas, so the fair’s been the golden ticket to make more work and box frame some additional pieces, which is integral to this project. The plates themselves all have their own history & stories, which I think will work as a random cluster in a small space. They’re like a dysfunctional family that need to be met together.

What does art mean to you?

Without a shadow of a doubt, it’s sheer freedom of expression. I think there’s potential in all of us, it’s about tapping into an outlet. Being creatively tactile and making images is my eternal work in progress. Whether experimenting or even just collecting things, I’m going with my better instinct. I’m a true believer in the accessibility of art, an engagement we all need in one way or another. Beyond profession, I think it’s all about sharing!

What’s next for you?

I’m presently immersed in the adventures of Plate land, and am working on a book publication celebrating all things box art.

gary baseman

What does The Other Art Fair mean to you?

The Other Art Fair offers a great opportunity for emerging artists, arts enthusiasts, and collectors to connect on a level that is personal and direct. I appreciate their supportive community that encourages art to everyone, making it accessible. In many ways, TOAF subverts the traditional art world. One of my many missions as an artist is to create work that breaks down boundaries. Art should still be challenging by its message and medium. Unfortunately, much of the challenge of the traditional art world comes from the establishment and access to the every “man.” I love to collect as much as create. I am grateful to TOAF to invite me to create this special sound bath/meditation art installation, the Purr Room.

How did you choose what to exhibit?

I wanted to create something new, unexpected and special for The Other Art Fair when they invited me to be the Guest Artist. Even though I am known for my drawing and painting, my heart has been into producing environments of engagement for the past 15 years, since my art installation, A Moment Ago, Everything was Beautiful. The Purr Room offers attendees art that is experiential, with space and sound, encouraging personal reflection. Personally experiencing the chaos and anxiety that has been manufactured by rising authoritative governments around the globe, including my own government in America, I feel there is a need to create art that can produce calm and meditation. My animal companion Blackie the Cat has taught me to take moments of rest and just breathe. Listen to his purr. He has healed me at times of great personal stress. The world needs to be healed. All of us need the Power of Purr. This is why I’m sharing at The Other Art Fair. I will also offer original drawings, paintings and affordable prints inspired by the Purr Room so we can afford to continue to share the Purr Room with the rest of the world.

What does art mean to you?

Art for me is about sharing. Visual language has been my best way to communicate ever since I was a child. It’s an international language. My work has often addressed love, longing, and loss – the human condition, or as I call it, the “beauty of the bittersweetness of life.” Sweet and dark. I think through my art. I live art. I document my experiences in the sketchbook I carry with me everywhere. Most of my photographs are also a form of art. I’m not sure there’s ever been a division between my art and my life. It’s a constant thing for me, like breathing.

What’s next for you?

Next for me is focusing on many narratives – stories that incorporate my characters in various formats, as books and as animation, live action film or TV. Blackie and I have been working on his family story as a book. We hope that by the end of the year we’ll release this important story, along with creating my first Blackie the Cat as a plush work of art. In the fall, I’ll also be sharing my collection of vintage photographs of masks and costumes in a book called Nightmares of Halloween Past. I have a collection of 2000 photographs, so in the book I share about 300 photos. I’m showing my love of this type of photography that I see as art, and that has been influential in my work. With everything that I collect, I don’t consider them just cool flea market finds, I consider them art pieces.

15 March 2019