Romy Westwood making works accessible in a relaxed setting

girl with a brdgie

girl with a brdgie - Credit: Archant

Romy Westwood is a Hackney-based artist and director of Hampstead’s Affordable Art Fair

Tell me about the Affordable Art Fair. Romy: When Will Ramsay founded the fair in 1999, his aim was to break down the barriers to buying contemporary art and make it a far less intimidating experience for those who didn’t have a degree in history of art or thought you needed to be a millionaire. The ethos is about making contemporary art accessible, creating a family friendly experience in a fun, informal environment where visitors feel comfortable talking to gallerists.

The original artworks range in price from £40 to £4,000 – what can you get for £40?

There’s a huge selection of prints, paintings, sculpture and photography at a variety of prices.

A great entry level into purchasing artwork is unframed etchings and prints.

These are often found in browsers and there are galleries who specialise in prints, such as Rostra Gallery from Bath, north London galleries like Outline Editions, Jealous Gallery and TAG Fine Art, and studio groups such as East London Printmakers, Printmakers Council and Artichoke – all exhibiting work by lots of artists such as Susie Brooks, Jane Ormes, Kristijana Williams and Kate Boxer, whose work is for sale between fifty to a few hundred pounds.

We’ve also got two specially curated exhibitions which include a diverse selection of artwork at entry level prices; an emerging artist exhibition by Made in the Arts London, which offers practical support to students and graduates, helping them break into the market and develop business skills, and Art Under £500 which is a selection of some of the work on offer within the fair.

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What kind of artists will be exhibiting?

There are thousands of artists on show from big names like Marc Quinn, Chris Ofili, David Hockney, Howard Hodgkin, Gary Hume and Tracy Emin, to more emerging and mid-career artists.

We’ve also got lots of local artists such as Marianne Nix who lives in the Vale of Health, Mychael Barratt from Highgate plus local galleries – Beardsmore (Kentish Town), Highgate Contemporary and Hampstead based Fine Art Consultancy and Doinel Gallery.

Our artist in residence, Egle Jauncemaite, will be interacting with visitors while creating a new woven artwork which should be really interesting .

The Affordable Art Fair has spread a long way from Battersea...

We’ve got four UK exhibitions a year (Hampstead, two in Battersea and one in Bristol) plus 11 other fairs around the world including Hong Kong, Mexico City, New York, Singapore and various European cities.

How many visitors came to the Heath last year?

Despite the soggy weather, we had a phenomenal response with 18,500 visitors not counting the under-16s who enter for free. This year we’re hoping to welcome about 20,000.

The Heath is always a hive of activity in the summer months so we’re really excited to be back to add to the buzz.

Why Hampstead?

We wanted to bring the fair to north London as we felt there was a new market that perhaps wouldn’t travel south of the river to Battersea. Hampstead Heath is an area of such exceptional beauty and a unique setting for looking at art.

We want the fair to be a destination event, drawing visitors who might not normally utilise the Heath. Coupled with the area’s strong cultural traditions and connection with the London art scene, Hampstead seemed the perfect fit.

n Runs June13-16 at the Lower Fairground in East Heath Road.