Interview with Fresh: Art Fair founders, daughter and father Eleanor and Anthony Wardle
First, what is an art fair?
In a nutshell, it’s a big exhibition where people can browse and buy art from a huge choice in one convenient place. In our case, it’s mainly contemporary art, from 53 leading UK and European galleries, showing some 6,000 works by 600 artists. There’ll be original prints and paintings, sculpture, glass and ceramics from £100 to £30,000 but most within most people’s budgets. There’ll be a very broad spectrum of genres, styles, subjects and media from excitinging new talent, established professionals and Royal Academicians …Blake, Hockney, Hirst, Emin, Banksy and McLean will all be on show.
And it all takes place over three days in late September in the spectacular Grandstand Concourse at Ascot Racecourse. We’re expecting at least 6,000 visitors. There’s strictly no racing, just art …and coffee, wine, lunch, talks and artist demonstrations.
Because there are a lot of art fairs and they can look a bit alike …they can be a bit predictable. We wanted to bring in galleries and art that people hadn’t seen before and also introduce some new ideas.
For example, we are the first art fair in the world to partner with a fine art auction house. International Auctioneers Bonhams will again be with us to advise visitors on how to sell their pre-contemporary art and provide free valuations.
We are also the first art fair to include an Outdoor Sculpture Park. We launched the Park successfully at Cheltenham in 2018 with 90 sculptures from five specialist galleries. We plan to introduce one at Ascot in 2020.
How is Fresh: different?
Unlike most fairs in this area, we host galleries only, not individual artists. Artist fairs tend to be quite a bit smaller. With Galleries, the work is professionally hung in room-size spaces. We can show the work of many more painters and sculptors, 600 or more, and, because they have been selected by leading galleries, our visitors can be confident they are looking at recognised talent. All our exhibitors are experts with their fingers on the pulse of the art market and more than happy to describe the merits of the work and the artist’s background.
And you can talk to artists and watch them work …there will be at least seven artists demonstrating their talents over the weekend.
Unlike central London fairs, we’re really easy to get to, less than 15 minutes from three motorways and with unlimited free parking. If you’re planning to buy a painting or two it’s handy to have the car with you. If you want to come by train, Ascot station is only five minutes walk.
What’s the secret of your success?
We’d love to know, although the quality of the work is vital and free parking helps a lot. One factor is that art lovers no longer have the time to shop around the high streets. With Fresh: they can see 53 leading art galleries in a couple of hours in one convenient place with a glass of wine in their hand.
The other major factor is the quality and variety of Fresh: exhibitors. There’ll be Chelsea’s Quantum Contemporary Art; Marylebone’s Cube Gallery; Bristol’s Lime Tree Gallery; Japanese Prints from Hanga Ten; Doorway Gallery, Gormley’s and Sol Art all from Dublin and Bruno Dahl from Denmark.
Fresh: Art Fair will be at Ascot Racecourse from 20th to 22nd September 2019 with a Private View from 5.30pm on the evening of Thursday 19th. Tickets are £8 on the door or £6 online. Private View tickets are £12 on the door or £10 online with free wine, live jazz and first pick of the art. Children under sixteen are free and very welcome, with a game for them to play. Friday is free for everyone all day. Visit Freshartfair.net
Fresh: is sponsored by St. James’s Place Wealth Management and in partnership with Bonhams, Oxford’s Ashmolean Museum and H R Owen Specialist Cars.
Free tickets to Fresh: Art Fair
Mums About Cookham has secured free tickets for all our followers.
The tickets are for the Private View on the Thursday evening from 5.30 to 9.00pm but if you can’t make it then you can use the tickets any time over the weekend. You can book tickets for family and friends …children under sixteen don’t need a ticket. Just click https://www.ticketsource.co.uk/freshartfair and follow the Book Now instructions using the promo code MUMS. Your tickets will be delivered by email free of charge.