Meet the galleries: Gala Fine Art

Kate Bignold, Gala Fine ArtWe’re thrilled that online gallery Gala Fine Art will be making their Affordable Art Fair debut this spring, directed by the delightful Kate Bignold. Kate’s lifelong interest in art was sparked as a student of languages and art history, and the opportunity to live in Paris, Geneva and Berlin further fuelled her passion. She began her career immersed in the London art world, working at Dulwich Picture Gallery and the Royal College of Art, then switched professions to work as a specialist translator in the fields of art and culture for 15 years before founding Gala Fine Art last year.

We’ve caught up with Kate to learn more about her fascinating experiences in the art industry, to hear about the ethos behind Gala Fine Art, and to get the lowdown on who we should look out for at the Affordable Art Fair this spring …

1. So, tell us a bit about Gala Fine Art …

Gala Fine Art, Annette Pugh, Dreaming of Exotic Places 3Gala Fine Art is an online gallery that I launched in March 2015, named after Gala Dali – surrealist master Salvador Dali’s wife, agent and muse. I’m based in Bristol and represent an exciting group of emerging, mid-career and established British and Irish artists (currently 10 painters and 1 photographer) who have each developed their own very distinctive creative style.

Typically the artists I work with combine traditional painting or photography techniques with modern and/or unconventional processes. Whether bold and colourful or subtle and muted, much of the work boasts a cinematic quality and a strong photographic element, in the form of screen printing, photographic transfer or collage, for instance.

2. What are your favourite things about running a gallery and showing at art fairs?

Gala Fine Art, Angela Maloney, Urban Delights IIAfter graduating in modern languages then working in the art world for six years, I began work as a translator. Just like translating, running an online gallery involves a lot of time at the computer! But unlike translating, it is also a people-centred job, and that’s one of the key things I love about it.

First liaising with the artists – visiting their studios and choosing work for art fairs (it’s like going shopping for art and I usually want to keep everything for myself!), discussing their work and plans, and encouraging and supporting those who are starting out.

And second, meeting art lovers at fairs – it gives me a thrill to see how happy they are when they buy a piece they adore. My very first sale at a fair was to a couple in Manchester who had never bought a work of art before. They fell in love with one of Dan Parry-Jones’ paintings of a beach scene featuring two children playing, saying it reminded them of holidays with their two grown-up sons when they were small.

3. How do you select the artists you represent?

Gala Fine Art, Kate Milsom, Victor Amadeus was suspicious of anything innovativeI started out with a handful of artists I knew and have since taken on seven new ones, from Bristol (Jamaica Street Studios and Spike Island are a hive of talent) and further afield – mid-Wales, the West Midlands and the north-west of England mainly.

I talent spot at open studio events and open submission exhibitions, like the annual show at the Royal West of England Academy in Bristol, the UK’s only regional Royal Academy. That’s where I fell in love with Annette Pugh’s work, who in turn led me to her Birmingham artists studio colleague Angela Maloney, who led me to New Art West Midlands, an Arts Council-funded platform for artists in that area, whose last exhibition led me to John Devane – all of whom you’ll see at the March Affordable Art Fair!

4. Do you collect art yourself? Tell us a bit about your favourite piece.

Gala Fine Art, Clare Bonnet, Wallowing in the WaitMy favourite part of my collection has to be an edition of five very unusual silkscreen prints (think Surrealism meets folk art) published in Santiago de Chile in 1949. I found them in the back of a cupboard in my mother’s house after she died. I think she had inherited them from her great aunt who had travelled the world with her army officer husband. Each print is by an eminent Chilean artist, three of whom belonged to the Grupo Montparnasse, which was formed in the 1920s when several of the members returned to Chile after a period living and working in Paris alongside Europe’s avant-garde greats, including Picasso and Cézanne.

5. What can we expect to see from Gala Fine Art at the Battersea fair this spring? Which artists should we look out for?

Gala Fine Art, John Devane, VenturaIt’ll be a fair of firsts for Gala Fine Art! I’m showcasing work by six gallery artists who are all fairly, if not totally, new to art fairs. It’ll be the first time any of them have shown work at an Affordable Art Fair, and the first time most of them have ever exhibited in London. So the Gala Fine Art stand will be a bit of an exclusive for Londoners.

I love Annette Pugh’s melancholic paintings exploring the traditional British holiday park as a fantasy world for the working classes. I’m also excited to be unveiling the latest body of work by John Devane, who won second prize in the 2013 BP Portrait Award: Edward Hopper-inspired paintings of tranquil swimming pools that brilliantly evoke a moment in time in the summer heat. Bristol-based newcomer Clare Bonnet is also definitely one to watch for her bold, candid, semi-abstract portraits of women in undefined interiors. Obviously I’m biased, but I love all six artists we’re showing at the fair – make sure you head to stand K8 and check them out!

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What’s on: February arts

There’s still a month to go until you can get your arty fix at the fair, so we’ve rounded up the best of London’s cultural goings on to keep you going throughout February …

Joaquin Sorolla, Louis Comfort Tiffany

Painting the Modern Garden: Monet to Matisse
Royal Academy of Arts 

Combining the best of the botanical with all that’s artistic, the Royal Academy’s spring show provides a perfect antidote to those winter blues. Taking Monet’s masterpieces as a starting point, the exhibition explores the role the garden played in the evolution of art from the early 1860s, through to the 1920s. Featuring many of the superstars of early-20th century art, from Renoir, Cezanne and Pisarro, to Manet, Kandinsky and Van Gogh, it’s certainly top of our to do list.

Until 20 April

Antennae with Red and Blue Dots c.1953 by Alexander Calder 1898-1976

Alexander Calder: Performing Sculpture
Tate Modern

Another blockbuster show to fuel your arty education this spring, this time featuring the beautiful kinetic sculptures of radical American sculptor Alexander Calder. His unique, distinctive works embody the fascination with movement shared by the avant-garde at the turn of the twentieth century and the exhibition offers a thorough and thought-provoking insight into the progression of his ideas and practice.

Until 3 April

Crime Museum, Museum of London

The Crime Museum Uncovered
Museum of London

Something a little different from the Museum of London, in the form of The Crime Museum Uncovered – a seldom-seen-before collection of original evidence from some of the UK’s most notorious crimes, from the Krays to the Millennium Dome diamond heist. As well as providing an intriguing showcase for this hidden collection and its stories, the exhibition considers the changing nature of crime and advances in detection over the last 140 years. Not one to miss.

Until 10 April

Yanko Tihov, Store Street Gallery

You Are Here
Store Street Gallery 

Affordable Art Fair favourites Store Street Gallery are kicking off the month with the a cartography-inspired exhibition, ‘You Are Here’. Bringing together painters, sculptors and printmakers who challenge and question the role of maps as object and artwork, the exhibition is both beautiful and thoughtful.

Until 13 February
Free entry

Fran Giffard, Will's Art Warehouse

A Whole New World
Will’s Art Warehouse 

Another firm favourite amongst Affordable Art Fair visitors is Will’s Art Warehouse, whose new year show brings together an explosion of colours and styles, from the mixed media collages of Jane Perkins to the delicate illustrations of Fran Giffard. Take shelter from the wintery weather and bask in the colours of ‘A Whole New World’.

Until 22nd February
Free entry

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What’s special about drawing?

Andrew Marr, Patron of The Campaign for DrawingWe were thrilled to partner with The Campaign for Drawing back in 2014, and loved this thought-provoking piece written by Andrew Marr, a patron of the campaign, on just what it is about drawing that’s so special …

Why would anyone in their right mind encourage strangers to draw? Why is there a ‘Campaign for Drawing’? We don’t need campaigns to persuade others to write, take photographs, or play music. What’s special about drawing?

bo.lee gallery, Sue Williams A Court, Anonymous 6I think the answer is that it is an important part of being fully human, which has fallen out of practice and habit. Most educated people understand that to survive in the modern world they need to be able to write to explain themselves, and to read. Generations have grown up sending photographic images to others, first by snail mail and now Instagram. With everyone now clasping mobile phones, this is the most image-conscious society in our history.

Drawing, the primal way of making images, has been important since homo sapiens left Africa and began colonising the planet – and arguably before that too. We don’t know any cultures where drawing didn’t happen and wasn’t valued. From the ancient Chinese to the Aztecs, the Inuit and all modern cultures, drawing has been an important part of how human beings express culture.

Tweet: “We don’t know any cultures where drawing didn’t happen and wasn’t valued.” @aaflondon

Here, as in many Western countries, there was a golden age of drawing around a century ago. Mass media were well advanced, but photographic imagery was still of poor quality and expensive. So drawings filled newspapers, magazines, posters and cheap books. This golden age took a long time to die. In the 1960s, when I was growing up, cartoons were everywhere. Books had beautiful illustrations; all boys and girls were brought up on the drawings in ‘Eagle’, ‘The Beano’, ‘Jackie’, etc.

The Doorway Gallery, Heidi Wickham, Two Tall HaresBut as photographic reproduction got better and faster, the drawing culture withered. We are now in the ridiculous position of having a couple of generations who have almost been taught not to draw – that they can’t draw – that drawing is only for some bizarre elite of ‘Artists’. At art school, they are taught that drawing has almost nothing to do with art.

This is an outrageous waste of human talent and expressiveness. Most of us can draw. All of us learn to look, to see the world more sharply, and to enjoy the simple pleasure of making something, when we learn to draw. Talk to any engineer, inventor or designer, and you discover how fundamental drawing is to the economy. And as I have learned since my stroke, drawing is a wonderful therapy and a way to connect with the beauty of the world around us, for the princely cost of a 3B pencil and cheap notebook.

Tweet: “Drawing is a wonderful therapy and a way to connect with the beauty of the world around us, for the princely cost of a 3B pencil” http://

To undertake a campaign on behalf of drawing, is therefore to try to wrench back part of the culture that has fallen away, and to give ourselves a tool and practice that should have been ours all along. It’s not a campaign for ‘art’, still less for the art market. It’s a lot more important than that.

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Extract from an article first published in Let’s Draw, a supplement produced in partnership with Artists & Illustrators.

Adventures in colour

‘If one says ‘red’ – the name of a colour – and there are fifty people listening, it can be expected that there will be fifty reds in their minds. And one can be sure that all these reds will be very different.’
– Josef Albers

The Cynthia Corbett Gallery. Andy Burgess. Modernist Brazilian House.Colour is, undeniably, a vital part of every artwork. Whether there is an abundance of colour or a lack of it, whether it’s vibrant or muted, colour is a key factor when interpreting all visual media.

Yet, not only does everyone see and interpret colour in their own way (remember that black and blue dress? Or was it gold and white …?) but actually, colour as a physical property doesn’t exist. There are, however, some tangible and practical ways to analyse colour that can help us to better understand the world around us, to interpret artworks, and even help us decorate our homes.

Kolormondo ‘Enjoying something colourful, like a piece of art, is wonderful, but understanding and using colour can be tricky’, says expert colourist Nicoline Kinch, who invented the Kolormondo colour aid. ‘Hue and value are easy – hue means red, blue, yellow, etc., whereas value goes from dark to light, so a light red is a pink, a night sky is a dark shade of blue.’ Understanding the saturation of a colour is slightly trickier. Nicoline explains, ‘saturation could be described as the intensity or purity of a pigment, so a colour with a lot of pigment has a high saturation.’

Whilst these visual properties of colour may seem a little removed from our day to day experience of colour, as Nicoline points out, detecting and understanding colour is one of our most important, and continuously used, sensory reactions. ‘When we’re asking ourselves which apple we should choose, whether those strawberries are ripe, whether we’re seeing a wedding or a funeral, whether your artwork is a cheerful or melancholy piece, colour is the key to determining our answers.’

In many ways, we all have an intuitive understanding of colours – based upon these properties – which ones work well together and their connotations, but being literate in the language of colour gives artists a sensory tool to convey very specific emotions and associations.

For artist Henrietta Dubrey, whose paintings will be shown at the fair with Bath-based gallery Edgar Modern, colour is a critical element of her practice. Henrietta has become well known for her abstract and figurative paintings, identifiable for their bold and bright blocks of colour.

Edgar Modern. Henrietta Dubrey. Ready.She says, ‘it is colour that connects, colour that inspires and invigorates, and colour that gives life to an artwork’. For Henrietta, colour is both a technical tool and a way of tapping into a memory or emotion. She says, ‘I often draw on the properties of colour as a compositional device, using a coloured ground behind a figure for dramatic effect, or using a warm grey, for instance, to offset the neutral tones of a figure. But I also often find that specific colour combinations are evocative, reminding me of things from my past. A recent abstract painting titled ‘Sojourn’ was inspired by an antique Bedouin dress my mother owned. The bright fuchsia pink and faded indigo blue bounced up in my mind as soon as the combination appeared on the canvas.’

Tweet: It is colour that connects, colour that inspires and invigorates and colour that gives life to an artwork @aaflondon

Colour can be said to transcend language, evoking memories and feelings, which is why its application is so important in art. Artists like Mark Rothko, Sonia Delaunay and Bridget Riley, may have been ahead of the curve in their investigations of colour, emotion, light and perception.

But the importance of the effect of colour on us as human beings extends even further.
There has been a wealth of study and research into how colour affects us; colour psychology is widely used in many industries from fashion to business, marketing to interior design. But, for a seemingly everyday phenomenon, it seems there is still so much to understand about the wonderful world of colour …

Check out some of the most colourful works you’ll find at the fair in our image preview galleries here.

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Add a splash of art

We’ve all had those moments, be it in a museum, gallery or art fair, of standing in front of an artwork and getting completely lost within it. Whether the piece evokes a powerful memory, sparks an emotional response, or simply entrances you with its beauty, it’s certainly a pretty special experience. So, we can’t think of many things that beat displaying your own art collection at home, and being able to appreciate that unique feeling every day.

Affordable Art Fair BatterseaWe’ve caught up with some of our wonderful past exhibitors to find out just how adding a splash of art can transform your space, and asked them to share their top tips for selecting and presenting your collection at home.

As Eleni Duke, founder of east London’s Curious Duke Gallery, explains, it’s important initially to concentrate on how the artwork makes you feel rather than how well it matches your decor. She says, ‘when finding an artwork for your home, you shouldn’t select a work simply because it matches the furniture, it should be because you know you will enjoy living with that piece in your home; if the artwork inspires you it will enhance the atmosphere of your space. We say, buy your art first, and then buy the furniture to match!’

Arusha Gallery, Charlotte Keates, Captivate.Creative Director of quirky Edinburgh-based Arusha Gallery, Agnieszka Prendota, often works directly with interior designers, and explains that when working on such projects she’s always left ‘in awe of the transformative power art has in interiors’. She continues, ‘art speaks volumes not only about the owners taste, but also about what moves them, what makes them laugh and think – it’s a way of truly personalising the space.’ For Agnieszka too, once you’ve fallen for an artwork, it’s vital to consider its surroundings. She suggests large-scale oil paintings, such as those by Charlotte Keates, work well in minimalist spaces, whilst more conceptual pieces can really come into their own against a more traditional backdrop.

Tweet: ‘Original art is the only thing that truly identities your home. Almost everything else you own is mass produced’

The Artful Project, Stephanie Cabrera, Night Lighting.Ultimately, however you add a splash of art to your home, as Rachel Hotchkiss – director of The Artful Project – says, art should be bought and displayed for love. She continues, ‘original art is the only thing that truly identities your home. Almost everything else you own is mass produced. It’s actually a brave thing to do, to reveal who you are and what you like when someone walks over your threshold, but that can be so empowering, too!’

Looking to find that perfect piece to add a splash of art to your home? Join us at the Affordable Art Fair Battersea this spring from the 10 – 13 March, 2016.

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What’s on my walls? … A sneak peek at the collections of the Affordable Art Fair team

At the Affordable Art Fair we’re firm believers that living with art not only enriches your home, but your day-to-day life, too. And, as an office full of art lovers, we’re all practicing what we preach.

Emma Mansell, Marketing Assistant Our ‘What’s on my walls?’ series gives you a sneak peek at the collections of the Affordable Art Fair team, and the stories behind the artworks we have in our homes. Next up is our Marketing Assistant, Emma, who is gradually building up an eclectic and personal collection of paintings, drawings and prints.


‘Kingdom Come’ by Simone Truong and ‘Amalgames no. 6’ by Blandine Bardeau

Simone Truong and Blandine Bardeau artworks“I love the contrast in ‘Kingdom Come’ between the vast, stark background and the delicate, embellished florals in the centre. There’s something really peaceful and elegant about it, yet at the same time it brings this melancholic quality – the flowers are dying, dissolving away in front of you. It was the first piece I ever bought – from Curious Duke Gallery – and I just think it’s beautiful.

Blandine Bardeau, Amalgames No 6“‘Kingdom Come’ hangs in my bedroom, next to Blandine Bardeau’s mixed media drawing ‘Amalgames no. 6’ – I love the way they work together in the space. I’ve been a big fan of Blandine’s work since I first discovered it a few years ago, and when I saw this piece with Caiger Contemporary Art at a fair last year, I knew I had to have it.

“Blandine creates her works by putting together collections of disparate objects – from feathers to fake flowers and twisted yarns – then plays around with ways of recording them to create beautiful abstracted images, with just a scattering of figurative details. I love the sculptural quality of the drawing – the illusion of dimensionality in the marks she makes with inks, but also where the image has been built up with thick areas of paint and collage to actually pop off the paper.”

‘Despise’ by Keaton Henson and ‘Ce ne est pas un ruban de masquage’ by Dexter Gonzales

Keaton Henson and Dexter Gonzales“I can’t get enough of the dead-pan humour of Keaton Henson’s work. In the centre of the plate this piece says ‘I eat only to live another day to despise you.’ I think my favourite thing about this work is seeing my friends’ reactions change when they read it – it’s always hilarious!

“‘Ce ne est pas un ruban de masquage’ is the newest addition to my collection and was part of last October’s Recent Graduates’ Exhibition which I co-curated. Being a self-confessed art history geek I love the Magritte references, and there’s something really intriguing in the contrast between the banality of the subject and the subtlety with which it’s been painted.”

‘Turquoise Cross Test’ by Michael Barnes

Michael Barnes, Turquoise Cross Test“This piece is also from a Recent Graduates’ Exhibition – the first one I’d ever worked on with the Affordable Art Fair back in 2013. The artist, Michael Barnes, had created his own automated drawing machine, which ran for the duration of the fair producing beautifully intricate images from a digital code – it was pretty hypnotic to watch!

“There’s something fascinating in the imperfections of this piece – where the lines suddenly become irregular or fade away; I never get bored of looking at it. Getting it properly framed and up on the wall is next on my to-do list …”


Feeling inspired to start your own collection? Tickets are now available for the Affordable Art Fair Battersea Spring from March 10th – 13th 2016. Check out the exhibitor list here.

Tired of London, Tired of Life

The London landscape has, for centuries, provided an endless source of inspiration for artists all over the globe.

Canaletto, best known for his idyllic Venetian canal paintings, made a decade-long pilgrimage to England in the 1750s, whilst Monet made several trips to the capital at the turn of the 20th century, producing shimmering homages to the city, including his iconic Houses of Parliament series. British favourite J.M.W. Turner is well known for his atmospheric London scenes, whilst Whistler’s much-loved oil paintings of the capital (including, famously, our very local Battersea Bridge!) provide a personal, alternative view of late-Victorian London.

Contemporary artists too continue to be inspired by the shifting shapes and creative heritage of the London landscape, including many artists who exhibit at the Affordable Art Fairs. We’ve been catching up with some of them to find out why London has such a strong hold over the artistic imagination.

Habasco, Herme Bellido, Battersea Power StationFor Habasco Gallery’s Herme Bellido, it’s the diversity and ever-changing nature of the city that makes London such a rich source of inspiration. She says, ‘I never cease to be surprised by how this vibrant city excites and provokes me. I find its contrasts, its variety, its multiculturalism, its grandeur, its beauty, and the abundance of people at all times and in all places enough reasons to want to work with it as a subject again and again.’

Born in Seville, Herme has experienced London in a number of different ways, as a student, as a tourist and as a resident, so capturing views of the city is also a way of understanding her connection to the place, and recording treasured memories. Herme recalls, ‘The idea for Thames Dawn was born after encountering the most beautiful sunrise near Battersea. A truly magical moment, I wanted to try and reproduce the almost impossible colours I witnessed’.

John Noott Galleries, Edward Noott, Southwark BridgeThe Thames also holds a particular appeal for oil painter Edward Noott – shown by John Noott Galleries at the Affordable Art Fair last autumn – for whom the architecture of the city is a constant source of fascination and inspiration. He says, ‘I’m particularly drawn to the way space opens up over the Thames. From the denseness of the city buildings, one is suddenly exposed to light, space and atmosphere. With a horizon punctuated by such iconic and beautiful buildings as St. Paul’s and the Houses of Parliament, the possibilities are endless.’

Artichoke Printmaking Paul Catherall Southbank II

For printmaker Paul Catherall, who exhibits with Artichoke at the Battersea Autumn fairs, London’s landmarks held an undeniable appeal from a young age. He recalls, ‘I’ve always loved London – I even persuaded my parents to take me there for a few days holiday when I was a young teenager growing up in Coventry. I moved to the city permanently straight after graduating; at that point my work was mainly figurative, but I always had a strong appreciation of Modernist and Brutalist architecture. I felt particularly at home on the Southbank and always got a strange sense of nostalgia when going past Elephant and Castle … I slowly came to realise these places reminded me of my upbringing in the concrete jungle of Coventry.’

For Paul, this sense of place, simultaneously familiar and entirely new, is a key part of the appeal of London where the ever-changing landscape can take on a new significance for each individual.

Halfmoon Printmakers Gail Brodholt Factory JunctionHalfmoon Studio’s Gail Brodholt, however, is a Londoner through and through. For her, capturing London as the subject in her artworks is, first and foremost, a way of recording fleeting moments in the city’s architectural history.

She says, ‘London is changing so quickly these days, its important to capture the views that are disappearing. My print Factory Junction illustrates this pace of change – between the first sketching trip and producing the finished print, the huge iconic Battersea gasometer was demolished. Soon the view of the Power Station will also be completely obscured from this viewpoint as new buildings go up around it. I love that my works record particular times and places in London’s rich history.’

As Samuel Johnson famously said, ‘when a man is tired of London, he is tired of life’, and here at the Affordable Art Fair we can’t think of any place we’d rather be!

Check out our Pinterest page to see more of our favourite places, spaces and London scenes!

What’s on: December arts

December arrives tomorrow, and we can’t wait to rip open the first door of our advent calendars in the morning!

We can’t think of a better way to spend a wintery weekend than cosying up in a gallery to explore some arty masterpieces, so we’ve put together a list of this month’s artiest must-sees, and we’ve even added a sprinkling of seasonal suggestions to really get you in the festive mood.

Frank Auerbach, Tate Britain.









Frank Auerbach
Tate Britain
Until 13 March

Laden with thickly layered oil paints that have been scraped, reworked and manipulated, Frank Auerbach’s intensely textural canvases are all about the process of painting. The German-born British artist, born 1931, works from his London studio, recording people and places in his rich, visceral paintings. Tate Britain’s retrospective includes Auerbach’s drawings and paintings from the 1950s to the present, offering an unrivalled insight into the development of his practice.

£16/£14 concession

Francisco Goya, The National Gallery












Goya: The Portraits
The National Gallery
Until 10 January

The National Gallery’s winter blockbuster tells the story of Goya as portraitist, as it’s never been told in an exhibition before. The Spanish master, working at the turn of the 19th century, painted key figures of Spanish society, from the royal family and aristocrats, to noted intellectuals and politicians, as well as his own friends and family, in his distinctively revealing, enigmatic style.

£16/£14 concession

Wildlife Photographer of the Year, Natural History Museum








Wildlife Photographer of the Year
Natural History Museum
Until 10 April

A veritable feast of natural wonders, the Wildlife Photographer of the Year exhibition has returned to the Natural History Museum this winter. More than 100 exquisite captures, revealing the beauty of the natural world, are displayed on back-lit photographic panels, creating a unique, cinematic extravaganza, so head along and cast a vote for your favourite. Add a sprinkling of festivity to your visit and take a spin on the Natural History Museum’s much-loved ice rink this December!

£13.50/£6.50 concession

Sir John Soane's Museum.







Sir John Soane’s by candlelight
Sir John Soane’s Museum
1 December, 6 – 9pm

Kickstart your advent with a candlelit evening exploring the treasures of Sir John Soane’s Museum. Tucked away in Lincoln’s Inn Fields, the Soane Museum houses the fascinating collection of 19th century architect Sir John Soane, which has been left untouched in his home since his death. From masterpieces by Canaletto and Turner, to a 3,000 year old sarcophagus of an Egyptian King, it’s a collection packed with unexpected treasures.

Free, arriving early is advised!

Royal College of Art Christmas Fete







Royal College of Art Christmas Fete
Royal College of Art, Kensington Campus
3 – 5 December, 12 – 8pm

Indulge in a spot of artisanal Christmas shopping at the fourth annual Royal College of Art Christmas Fete. Artists and designers from the RCA are showcasing their talents and selling their wares, including jewellery, decorations and other one-of-a-kind gifts. Christmas shopping as it should be!

Free entry

Make sure you’re following our Instagram, Facebook and Twitter accounts for our #ArtyAdvent countdown to Christmas, kicking off tomorrow!

The beginner’s guide to creative curating at home

So, you’ve been to the fair, fallen in love with an artwork or two, and taken them home to show off to the world. But, what’s the best way to display your beautiful new art collection to maximise its impact in your home?

Nicky Wheeler, Fair DirectorFair director Nicky Wheeler has shared her top tips on curating your art collection at home, to wow your guests with your creative know-how …


Confidence is key
‘Confidence and creativity are key to hanging your artwork in imaginative places. You need to make the most of the space available. If your ceilings are high, consider arranging artworks above a doorway. Hallways are another great place to display artwork and it’s an effective way to liven up the space. Placing several pieces of art in a continuous line around, or into, a corner can be dynamic and different, too.’

Affordable Art Fair, London.

One is the magic number
‘A single piece of beautifully framed art in the middle of a blank wall can have enormous impact, especially if that work is particularly punchy or large. It creates a real focal point for a room. You need to think about the way the artwork interacts with the space; symmetry of furniture and furnishings around the piece can really help to draw the eye to it.’

Just out the salon
‘I love the impact a salon hang creates, if you’ve got a collection of smaller or eclectic pieces. When creating such an arrangement, it’s best to start at the top of the wall. Keep the tops of the frames in a straight line and work down from there, leaving a similar amount of space around each piece. Beyond that, let your imagination take over! I love incorporating objects on shelves, or small mirrors, for example, to add interest and depth to the hang.’

Affordable Art Fair, London.Through the keyhole
‘If you’re getting something framed, remember not to have the picture touch the glass as certain materials will start to deteriorate. That’s why mount boards are used. Personally, I’m a fan of small artworks in big chunky frames. It pulls the focus towards the art and it feels like looking through a keyhole or a tiny window.’

Embrace the unconventional
‘Don’t discount spaces in your home where you might not obviously think to place art, but make sure you consider the practicalities. Anything printed on metal will suffer above a radiator. In the bathroom you’ll need to avoid anything on paper, but oils or acrylics on canvas should be fine … if you’re not sure, chat to your gallerist about the materials your artwork is made from.’

For more arty inspiration check out our Instagram and Pinterest pages!

Ones to watch: Matteo Allodi

This autumn we’re delighted once again to present our annual Recent Graduates’ Exhibition, featuring 21 of the brightest new names emerging from the UK’s art schools. Curated by Jessica Hall and Emma Mansell, the showcase provides a snapshot of some of the most exciting new contemporary work being produced today.

Amongst the artists selected for 2015 is Loughborough University graduate Matteo Allodi, who uses concrete to create his striking, and beautifully balanced, sculptures. We’ve caught up with him to hear more about his practice and inspiration ahead of the fair.

RGs, Matteo Allodi, (i)

How would you sum up your work?

My work attempts to imitate a ruin. In it, I explore the materials and construction of historic architecture and artwork, to examine the decay of post-modernist architecture.

How do you create on of your artworks?

I create concrete shapes I use a mould-forming process, and fill the positives with the concrete mix. Leaving the concrete to cure for a few days in order to strengthen, I am then able to remove it from the mould without damaging the shape of the object. The curve of the shapes I create allows me to play with weight and balance in the constructions of the sculpture.

How do you select your subject matter?

The subject of ruination has been explored by artists historically, and I began to experiment with the theme after being inspired by a survey exhibition at Tate Britain in 2013, which explored the concept of ruins. Exploring into this theme and researching post-modernist architecture and sculpture has been the biggest influence in making my work. Comparing the brutalist constructions of architect Erno Goldfinger, alongside the sculptural forms of Richard Serra has really informed by practice.

Best moment of your art career so far?

I was awarded the Edward Sharpe Prize by Loughborough University and had one of my sculptures installed on campus. Seeing my work outdoors, in a public space, has been so rewarding.

Check out our full list of this year’s Recent Graduates here.