Our story: from Battersea and beyond
Way back when, in 1996, Will Ramsay opened Will’s Art Warehouse in southwest London to bridge the increasing interest in contemporary art and the London gallery scene. By concentrating on relatively unknown artists not carrying a premium for reputation, the gallery was able to offer works from £50 – £2,500 from a stable of over 150 artists. The response Will received to his Art Warehouse inspired him to take his approach to the next level, and 3 years later the Affordable Art Fair was born. Embracing other friendly galleries selling affordable art, the first fair launched in Battersea Park in October 1999. 10,000 visitors took advantage of the ease of buying, breadth of choice, affordable prices and user-friendly approach.
Will then went on to launch a second event in Battersea Park in March 2001, to showcase entirely different artists from the October event. Now up to 22,500 people come to each London fair to enjoy the art exhibited by the 120 British and international galleries. In the same year he established a fair in the West Country; the Bristol fair in September is now very popular attracting around 6,500 visitors over three days.
Today, Will’s Art Warehouse still stands and the Affordable Art Fair has become something of a global phenomenon. The success of the British fairs encouraged Will to explore other markets and the Affordable Art Fair now takes place in cities including Amsterdam, Brussels, New York, Milan, Singapore, Hamburg, Seoul, Stockholm, Hong Kong and Maastricht. Globally, over 1.6 million people have visited an Affordable Art Fair, buying over £235 million worth of art.
But Will didn’t just stop with the Affordable Art Fair, oh no. He also founded contemporary art-hub PULSE, held annually in New York and Miami; co-founded Asia’s leading art fair, the prestigious ART HK (which has since become Art Basel in Hong Kong); as well as being a shareholder in Art India, the sub-continent’s first international art fair, attracting over 190,000 visitors since its launch in 2008.
Wherever there’s art, there’s Will.