Affordable Art Fair

One of my very favorite events of the year is the Affordable Art Fair. This weekend I spent both Saturday and Sunday afternoon enjoying the fair, talking to artists and exhibitors, feeling the energy of the place. It really was quite wonderful. Everyone was happy, positive, and excited. There was a buzzing atmosphere as people got to appreciate and discuss artwork. I felt immersed in it.

The Affordable Art Fair is a brilliant way to make art more accessible. Accessible to those with a limited budget and accessible to those who don't really know how to or where to go about buying art. It is also is a way for fresh artists to enter onto the stage. Some galleries are quite understandably uncertain about using limited resources (and limited wall space for that matter) to promote an unknown artist. This fair is a good testing ground to bring in new artists and new artwork at a reasonable price and see how the artwork does.

I am always on the hunt for new artwork wherever I go. I love to purchase artwork in different styles from different countries. Artwork says something about a culture that otherwise cannot be seen. What the artist chooses as a subject is just as telling as what they choose to leave out. I learn so much from the artists of the world. They show me things I cannot see myself. Every piece in my collection has a story linked to a time and place and part of my life. I love how each piece can bring me back to a time and place. I would be incomplete as a person if I could not immerse myself in the art world. 

Personally, when I look for a piece of artwork, I look for something that I haven't seen before. Something new and fresh. A new technique. A new idea. A new subject matter. Going to this year's Affordable Art Fair, I had this in mind as always. But I also had something else in mind. While cycling to the fair, I considered my current art collection, and realized two things . The first was that despite living in the Netherlands, I do not own any art that represents a Dutch scene and/or by a Dutch artist. That is quite strange considering that I live in the country. So that was one criteria I would be looking for at the fair. The other was that of a female subject matter. Everything I owned was landscapes and cityscapes and still life. Also strange considering that the female body is a very popular subject for art. I thought wouldn't it be nice to have a piece of art that embodies the strength of a woman and yet her femininity as well. With those thoughts in my mind, I arrived to the fair, and dove in.

Here was something I had never seen before. A painted canvas with a television screen embedded:

This is a Dutch scene after one has indulged in some of the alternative recreation available:

In all seriousness though, this is a beautiful Dutch scene that I would have loved to have if I had an unlimited budget:

Here are scenes from the fair in general, artwork that caught my eye, artwork that intrigued me, and some things that were just plain fun:

So all of this was well and good. These are pieces that caught my attention. Some of which I would love to take home if I had an unlimited budget and unlimited wall space. That is not the world I live in, which makes the acquisition of artwork that much more sweet, thoughtful, and painstaking. I really need to chose pieces that move me.

One such piece would not let me go. I saw it Saturday afternoon, thought about it all night, hoped against hope it would still be there. I returned on Sunday afternoon, but did not go immediately to search for that piece. I wanted to walk the fair again, see all the artwork, think and feel. Only then would I be ready to go look for the piece that had so captured me. Then I would be more certain of my choice. After walking 75% of the fair, I went to the booth wondering if it was still there. And it was.

The label next to the painting said "forza e femminilità." Force and Femininity. Precisely:

This is no photograph. There is no picture on the canvas. It is all hand painted. Oil on canvas. Done with a very special technique. Each layer of oil painting was applied and left to dry before the next layer was applied. It took 20 days to make. This is something special, powerful, and eternal. This is not something I could have left behind. I feel very lucky and proud that I was able to take this home with me. An incredible piece to capture this moment in my life: 'con il nastro rosa' by Italian artist Franco Cisternino.