We can’t quite believe that the end of our second season of fairs is almost upon us! London based gallery Linda Blackstone is taking part in our last fair of the year in Singapore this week, and here she tells us all about how the gallery started and how she first became involved with the Affordable Art Fair.
Tell us how you first started?
I always wanted to promote art, so in 1985, once my children were standing on their own feet, I found an almost derelict 18th Century Abattoir in North West London and set about turning it into a Fine Art Gallery. A friend who was an odd job man helped me and we found ourselves finalists in the Harrow Heritage Awards for transforming old buildings into places of beauty.
How did you first come across the Affordable Art Fair?
For some years I had been involved with the Watercolours & Works on Paper Fair and Rebecca Hossack, a fellow exhibitor, told me about Will Ramsay and his plans to start a new art fair. Always a supporter of innovation, I was determined to be one of the first to exhibit at an art fair that had the same ideals as my gallery. 15 years later and I am still taking part in the fairs!
What was your first Affordable Art Fair like?
Our first Affordable Art Fair was the most amazing experience. The organisation right from the beginning was excellent, the staff made us feel as if the fair had been running for years. It was so exciting. We sold more work in four days there than we did in the gallery in a month!
Which Affordable Art Fairs do you now do?
As well as the London fairs, we take part in New York, Singapore, recently Hong Kong, and have also exhibited at the Amsterdam and Brussels fairs.
Best thing about doing the fairs?
The fairs have introduced me to an audience I would never have reached from my gallery in North West London – they are a wonderful way to meet new people who love collecting art.
Funniest fair memory?
Owen Maguire of the Strathearn Gallery always dressed up in his kilt for the Battersea, Autumn Private Views and I would dress in a red chinese silk jacket. Our stands were opposite each other for 13 years until Owen’s retirement, so every year we would have a jig in the aisle between our two stands – a fun tradition.
What’s next for the gallery?
I will be exhibiting in Toronto next April for the first time at the Affordable Art Fair’s sister fair, Love Art. And the gallery will be celebrating its 30th Anniversary next September, so we are planning to hold a very special exhibition to celebrate 30 exciting years promoting our talented and eclectic mix of contemporary artists!