Add a splash of art … with April Russell

Here at the Affordable Art Fair we’re firm believers that art makes a house a home. It’s a way of injecting personality into your space, and making your surroundings truly unique. However, we know that once you’ve been to the fair and fallen in love with a piece of art it can be tricky to decide where and how to display it at home.

April Russell

We’ve been chatting to April Russell, whose interior design studios in London and New York focus on her clients’ art collections, and how they relate to the layout, space and architecture of their homes. April has shared some expert advice with us on how to maximise an artwork’s impact in your home, to make sure you get as much enjoyment from it as possible.

Getting started …

Working as an interior designer, adding art to a home is one of my favourite stages in a long process, and it’s usually the point at which the space really comes into its own. I compare adding art to a home to putting on a theatre production. You have the stage set, yet it only really comes alive when the characters step out from the wings and begin their performance; adding art to a room gives me much the same feeling. But, much like when you’re staging a play, particular characters require certain backdrops, and it’s important that your artworks are set against the correct scene to make sure they look their best when they take centre stage.

The most important thing to consider when thinking about where and how to display art in your home is how you use your space. Think about how you use each room, what you require from the space, and how you want to feel when you’re in there – once you’ve ascertained this, you’re ready to think about where to hang your art.

Bright and bold figurative art

Art speaks to us principally through its subject matter and colour. Bright colours tend to make us feel happy and alive, whilst darker and more sombre colours can set a more reflective tone.

I think vibrant, representational works with warm, rich colour palettes and homely subjects are ideal to brighten up a reception room or hall, providing you, and guests, with a warm friendly welcome when entering your home. These pieces could also work really well hung in a dining area or above a kitchen table. Kitchen and dining spaces need to be light, welcoming and liveable – bright, figurative artworks certainly help with that.

Envie d'Art, Joseph, USA Map.






Serene landscapes

I would always consider quieter colours and subjects for bedrooms to create more of a calm, relaxing sanctuary feel.

I’d suggest carefully considering the ‘power colour’ – the most dominant shade – in your artwork. When working on interior design projects, we often design our colour palette for particular rooms around the art which will be hung in them. To make softer, more serene artworks really stand out, you should consider your choice of textiles and wall finishes, making sure these enhance rather than overpower the artwork. I’d suggest picking out the power colour, and selecting accessories which complement or contrast with it, to really make the artwork sing.

Eleven and a Half, Robert Jones, Gorse

Villa del Arte Galleries, Victoria Kovalenchikova, The Earth XCI


Quirky sculptures

I’m particularly fond of staging sculptures and ceramics in the home. There can be a tendency to dismiss sculptural work because of uncertainty about how to display it, but I think well-chosen three-dimensional works really add a sense of finesse and importance to a space.

Use a well-lit niche or plinth (well out of reach of little fingers!) to display these pieces, and really emphasise their presence in a room. Displayed correctly, sculptural work is sure to invigorate some great conversation!

DECORAZONgallery, Anne-Valerie Dupond, Roxy Animal Trophy









Powerful photography

I love having art in a dressing room and I think these are spaces where the more colour, the better! I particularly love the variation and intensity of colour you can get in photographic work.

Dressing rooms are also a place where you think about and express your own style, which makes them a perfect space to push the boundaries with your artwork. Again, contemporary photography is perfect for this, but a bold, challenging abstract piece, for instance, could also work really well.

Lopez Grey Gallery, Ramona Zordini, Changing Times

Arusha Gallery, Romina Ressia, Birthday Cake









Ultimately, though, the most important piece of advice I’d give is to enjoy adding a splash of art to your home – it’s a wonderful opportunity to really get creative and express yourself through your surroundings!

For more information on April Russell please visit, or email

What’s on: August Arts

Summer is in full swing and there’s a plethora of free arty treats around London, and beyond, for you to fill those sunny (and not so sunny!) days. We’ve put together a shortlist of our top picks to get you started.

Sansovino Frames. National Gallery.

Frames in Focus: Sansovino Frames
National Gallery
Until 13 September
It’s a great summer of shows at the National Gallery. Alongside their highly-anticipated ‘Soundscapes’ exhibition – where musicians and sound artists have created new compositions in response to artworks from the gallery’s permanent collection – is the intriguing ‘Frames in Focus’, which also encourages visitors to think about artworks in a new, and unexpected, way. Focusing on the often overlooked picture frame, rather than the artwork within it, the exhibition considers how the creation of picture frames is an art form in itself, with its own traditions, histories and visual language.


The London Open 2015. Whitechapel Gallery.

The London Open 2015
Whitechapel Gallery
Until 6 September
Featuring 48 of the most exciting artists working in London today, Whitechapel’s triennial open-submission show is a great way of spotting the latest trends in painting, sculpture, photography and film. We promise you’ll find some gems!


Pangaea II. Saatchi Gallery.

Pangaea II: New Art from Africa and Latin America
Saatchi Gallery
Until 6 September
The second instalment of Saatchi’s Pangaea exhibitions, Pangaea II showcases contemporary talents from Africa and Latin America. Packed with largescale, thought-provoking pieces, including Jean-Francois Bocle’s colossal sculpture made from 97,000 blue plastic bags, it’s certainly a summer show that packs a punch.


Introducing. Curious Duke Gallery.

Curious Duke Gallery
Until 29 August
Affordable Art Fair favourite, Curious Duke Gallery, is known for championing work that is urban, surreal, groundbreaking or niche, and their summer show makes no exception. ‘Introducing’ showcases the work of nine up-and-coming talents including Blandine Bardeau, Olivia Yu, and Louise McNaught in a show that promises to be bright, bold, and jam-packed with innovative new work.


Ilona Szalay. Arusha Gallery.








Ilona Szalay: Witness
Arusha Gallery
Until 31 August
For those of you venturing up to Edinburgh for the Fringe Festival, make sure you put aside some time to see this solo show of Ilona Szalay’s powerful, figurative paintings. Having made her Affordable Art Fair debut with Arusha Gallery earlier in 2015, we can’t get enough of Ilona’s distinctive, visceral style!


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Exhibition review: Duane Hanson at the Serpentine Sackler Gallery

We know there’s still a couple of months to go until the Affordable Art Fair returns to Battersea, so we’ve been seeking out the best summer exhibitions in London to keep you entertained in the meantime!

We recently visited the Serpentine Sackler Gallery, which this summer is populated by American sculptor Duane Hanson’s (1925-1996) startlingly hyper-real figures, and thoroughly enjoyed the show.

Duane Hanson. Serpentine Sackler Gallery.

Duane Hanson. Serpentine Sackler Gallery.








Complete with human hair, realistic bruises and veins rendered on their resin surfaces in soft oils, on first glance you’d be forgiven for not realising they were sculptures at all! Instead, they are easily mistaken for fellow visitors, staff, or bored children who have been dragged to the gallery by their parents.

Duane Hanson. Serpentine Sackler Gallery.

Created between 1960 and the artist’s death in 1996, these life-size and unbelievably life-like figures – from Queenie the cleaner, to the decorator turning the white walls of the gallery a lurid pink – map out Duane Hanson’s gritty, salt-of-the-earth view of humanity. His sculptures thrust benign moments and behind-the-scenes characters into the limelight, often using humour to provoke a reaction from the viewer.

Duane Hanson. Serpentine Sackler Gallery.

It’s near impossible to avoid their vacant gazes, which challenge you to think more about the people you pass by every day. There’s no glamour in Duane Hanson’s figures, rather, he captures the essence of humanity in all its grubby glory. Entertaining and thought provoking, it’s certainly one of our favourites this summer season.

Catch it at the Serpentine until 13 September.

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What’s on: July arts

June saw another fabulous edition of the Affordable Art Fair Hampstead, but now July has swung around we’re left needing another creative fix to add a splash of art to the rest of our summers! Never fear though, we’ve rounded up the best of this month’s arty goings on, from blockbuster shows to summer pavilions, for you to get stuck into.

Serpentine Pavilion 2015

Serpentine Pavilion
Serpentine Gallery, London
Until 18 October 

A hotly-anticipated London landmark each summer, the Pavilion is one of the top-ten most visited architectural and design exhibitions in the world. This year’s technicolour structure was designed by Spanish architects SelgasCano, and contains a number of entry and exit points where visitors can pass through a secret corridor before entering into the brilliant, stained glass effect interior. The Pavilion will be open throughout the summer, as a space where people can meet, sit and enjoy a coffee, or experience one of the live events staged in the structure during the summer.

Free entry

Carsten Holler: Decision, Hayward Gallery.

Carsten Höller: Decision
Hayward Gallery, Southbank Centre, London
Until 6 September

This exhibition sprawls across the Hayward Gallery, erupting beyond its roof and walls, as something of a spectacular, experiential installation. Carsten Höller, best known in the UK for his 2006-07 Turbine Hall installation of a series of giant slides at Tate Modern, sees visitor interaction as integral to his work, and stages shows which are part laboratory, part playground. ‘Decision’ certainly isn’t one to miss!

Standard ticket £13.50

Thomas Hirschhorn, In-Between, Installation view at the South London Gallery, 2015. Image by Mark Blower.

Thomas Hirschhorn: In-Between
South London Gallery, London
Until 13 September

Another elaborate and powerful installation piece, Thomas Hirschhorn’s In-Between examines the processes and beauty of destruction and creation. The exhibition space at South London Gallery has been torn apart – plaster is hanging off the walls, the ceiling is collapsing – in a theatrical staging of violence and ruins. Compared to the usual white walls of SLG’s gallery space, Thomas Hirschhorn’s installation certainly makes for a dramatic, thought-provoking scene.

Free entry

Barbara Hepworth, Tate Britain.

Barbara Hepworth: Sculpture for a Modern World
Tate Britain, London
Until 25 October

Barbara Hepworth is widely recognised as one of the seminal sculptors of the 20th century, and this retrospective of her iconic, abstract sculptures explores the progress of her career and the beauty of her work.

Standard ticket: £16.30

SLAM Friday, South London Art Map

SLAM Friday: Spotlight on Bankside
South London Art Map, London
Friday 31 July

On the last Friday of every month, South London Art Maps organise the late opening of galleries in south London, so you can enjoy an arty night out in the city. July sees a focus on contemporary galleries and exhibitions near Bankside.



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Battersea Spring Staff Picks

Alison Clarke, Financial Controller Our fab Financial Controller, Alison, is a lover of prints and paintings, and here are the pieces she is looking forward to losing herself in at the upcoming fair.



Falin Vittur Blar by Kristjana S. Williams, Outline EditionsFalin Vittur Blar by Kristjana S. Williams, Outline Editions
I fell in love with Kristjana’s work on first sight, when Outline Editions first exhibited at the Affordable Art Battersea in the Spring of 2012. I love the bold colours and exotic animals, especially in her latest work juxtaposed onto maps. I’ve been eyeing these up for a few fairs now, and may well just be tempted into taking one home with me this time!

Stand H3

Harebells by Annie Fields, Rosvik GalleryHarebells by Annie Field, Rosvik Gallery
I love this piece for the simplicity of the subject combined with the strength of the bold colours. Annie’s brushwork also intrigues me – I really admire big strokes like this, where you can see the beautiful, thick texture of the oil paint. And being a keen gardener, floral themes always delight me.

Stand L6



Depth of Dusk by Steven Outram, Linda Blackstone GalleryDepth of Dusk by Steven Outram, Linda Blackstone Gallery
This painting just blows me away. The bleak landscape, the clouds, the sky, the lone figure to the far right of the piece – it’s all so very atmospheric. I can imagine staring at this for hours if it were on my wall.

Stand J12

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Battersea Spring Staff Picks

Luci Noel, Fair DirectorToday’s picks come from our wonderful Fair Director, Luci, who has a penchant for unusual techniques and surreal subject matter. Here, she explains the reasons behind her diverse and beautiful selections below.



Tryal by Fire by Heather Nevay, Portal PaintersTryal by Fire by Heather Nevay, Portal Painters
I love the exquisite detail of Heather’s paintings, which reveal the subtle aspects of their narratives. Her work is often based on familiar fairytales or fantastical adventures, but she gives them a nostalgic and macabre twist which I find fascinating. The more you look at Heather’s canvases, the more you see in her wonderfully bizarre, fantasy worlds.

Stand I8


Colour Harmony 2 by Gavan McCullough, Sol Art GalleryColour Harmony 2 by Gavan McCullough, Sol Art Gallery
I love the sense of order Gavan creates in his stylised landscapes by focusing on horizontal and vertical planes. This disposition here is broken up by marks created using a palette knife, which add an intriguing and contemporary edge. The subdued, yet somewhat wistful, colours leave me feeling resolutely calm, with a desire to walk for days and explore uninhabited landscapes.

Stand L8

L'etang III by Juliette Schwartz, Galerie Virginie Barrou PlanquartL’etang III by Juliette Schwartz, Galerie Virginie Barrou Planquart
For me, Juliette’s work is all about rich, opulent colours and dynamic movement. Before she became an artist Juliette worked in film and I think a real sense of the cinematic comes through in the stilted, though ever moving, scenes. I find her paintings deeply emotional, and the way she records light is particularly enticing.

Stand I6

Walking Out Over the Ice in Midsummer by Janie Kidston, BEARSPACE
When I first saw Janie’s simplistic images they instantly appealed to my minimal aesthetic persuasion! The way they are constructed also really plays to the logical, fastidious side of my personality – Janie is first and foremost a sculptor, and each of these abstract ‘landscapes’ is meticulously crafted by hand before being photographed. I love the manipulation of very traditional and complex techniques to create very contemporary work which is seemingly so simple. For me, Janie is definitely one to want and one to watch!

Stand PS7

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Battersea Spring Staff Picks

Stacey Forshaw, Management Team Stacey, our multi-talented Management Team member, is eyeing up artworks from the beautiful to the downright humorous – anything that makes her smile is guaranteed a place on her wish list!



Lonely Figure by Erik Bille Christiansen, Hicks GalleryLonely Figure by Erik Bille Christiansen, Hicks Gallery
I like artwork that pokes a bit of fun at things as it reminds me not to take life too seriously – and who takes life less seriously than Goofy! Even though the painting is a little sombre in tone, Goofy’s ‘tip of the hat’ just makes me smile.

Stand L10


Weather Prophet by Stephen Lindsay, Lime Tree GalleryWeather Prophet by Stephen Lindsay, Lime Tree Gallery
I’m not normally a fan of figurative artworks, but there is something about Steven’s work that always draws me in. I love the contrast between the 2D background and 3D figure, it’s a very contemporary piece and I like works that challenge the traditional. The empty background is so full of possibility, I can finish the picture in my own imagination, dreaming up so many different scenarios for the swimmer.

Stand I7

Panic and Give Up by Martin Grover, Will's Art WarehousePanic and Give Up by Martin Grover, Will’s Art Warehouse
Martin Grover is one my favourite printmakers. I really like the ‘distressed’ effect of the print and the irony in there, too. It’s just a little bit of fun!

Stands H8 and L5



Nandilal Mishra by John Kenny, Capital Culture GalleryNandilal Mishra by John Kenny, Capital Culture Gallery
I adore John Kenny’s work. His photographs are striking, powerful and just so beautiful. I would be happy to have any of his work on my walls!

Stand D10



To see more of what will be at the fair browse our preview albums, or explore our Facebook and Pinterest pages!

Battersea Spring Staff Picks

Sarah Barrett, Programmes and Partnerships ManagerNext to pick out a few pieces already catching her eye is Sarah, our Programmes and Partnerships Manager. A fan of bold colour, Sarah explains below why she is attracted to these three eclectic artworks, all of which will be on show at our upcoming fair.


Melon by Rodrigo Branco, Ben Oakley Gallery.Melon by Rodrigo Branco, Ben Oakley Gallery
I love the playful style of Brazilian artist Rodrigo Branco – in particular his use of block colours, hand scribbled marks, wild paint strokes and disarmingly realistic features. He is known for creating large scale works on the sides of buildings and walls, and I think his work still looks bold and fresh when scaled down. He’s pretty much on top of my want list right now – I need a little bit of Brazil on my walls!

Stand PS2

Intersection AZ by Nick Bodimeade, Sarah O'Kane Contemporary Fine Art.Intersection, AZ by Nick Bodimeade, Sarah O’Kane Contemporary Fine Art
The two types of painting I seem to be drawn to are abstracts and landscapes, and Nick’s work seems to sit somewhere in-between. He isn’t afraid to pare down a scene to a few choice elements with a limited, but striking, colour palette. I love the way he scratches into the piece or leaves a bit of canvas exposed.

Stand C4

Turquoise Beach Cabin by Kate Evans, Antlers Gallery.Turquoise Beach Cabin by Kate Evans, Antlers Gallery
I love Kate’s delicate watercolours! I like the use of white space, which really makes the colour washes pop. Her subject matter, wildernesses and barren places, remind me to appreciate the quiet moments when things in life are getting hectic. It’s also refreshing to see the medium of watercolour showcased in a contemporary style.

Stand E1

To see more of what will be at the fair browse our preview albums, or explore our Facebook and Pinterest pages!

Battersea Spring Staff Picks

Jess Hall, Marketing Manager at Affordable Art Fair UKFor the second instalment of our Staff Picks series our wonderful Marketing Manager, Jess, has selected three of her favourite artworks that will be on show at the upcoming spring fair. From the beautiful to the bizarre, we love Jess’s very personal reasons for wishing these pieces were on her walls.


Flora by Keaton Henson, Black Rat Projects

Flora by Keaton Henson, Black Rat Projects
The deadpan humour of this amuses me. I want to hang it above a glass jar containing a single fairy by Tessa Farmer, who is desperately trying to climb out of the jar. It’ll be a little macabre corner in my living room.

Stand J11

Missy by Nathan Ford, Beaux Arts Bath.Missy by Nathan Ford, Beaux Arts Bath
This beautiful painting makes me feel very sad. It feels like looking into the future, I think it’s me in 30 years, aging and becoming translucent. I love how so much has been captured by using so little – the most sparing of brushstrokes, and I’m intrigued by the unexplained calculations in pencil to one side, as if the subject of the painting has been doing some working out of numbers in the canvas. Perhaps trying to work out what happened to all the years of her youth that have slipped by.


Stand E7

Roxanne Deep Green by Karenina Fabrizzi, Villa del Arte.

Roxanne Deep Green by Karenina Fabrizzi, Villa del Arte
The shoes. It’s all about the shoes. I no longer wear heels, too much ultramarathon running. So having this lady in my home, adding a bit of lonely glamour, perhaps hanging next to the Nathan Ford, would be like looking into the past, and the future, at all the selves that might have been.

Stand I14


To see more of what will be at the fair browse our preview albums, or explore our Facebook and Pinterest pages!

Battersea Spring Staff Picks

As the fair fast approaches, we’re getting rather excited about welcoming you into Battersea Evolution to see all the wonderful works adorning the walls. If, like us, you’ve been browsing our preview galleries you may have already spotted a few pieces you like the look of – we certainly have! So we thought it’d be nice to share a few sneaky peeks of what’s been catching the eyes of our team.

Emma Mansell, Affordable Art Fair UK Marketing AssistantTo start us off, Emma, our lovely Marketing Assistant, has picked out a few beautifully minimal pieces that she has already fallen for.



Ship Building. Lauri Hopkins. FOUR-WALLS Contemporary.

Ship Bui
lding by Lauri Hopkins, FOUR-WALLS Contemporary
I first saw Lauri’s work at a fair last year, and have loved them ever since. They’re made from vintage book jackets, and I love the way her precise, bold compositions give them a completely new, very contemporary feel. I’ve got a bookcase at home filled with a collection of antique books – I think this piece would look amazing on the wall next to them!

Stand K9


Chris Wilson. Shorelines III. The Doorway Gallery.

Shorelines III by Chris Wilson, The Doorway Gallery
I’ve always been drawn to quite minimal, monochrome pieces, and it was love at first sight with ‘Shorelines III’. I find the way Chris Wilson makes marks on the canvas fascinating – using layers of acrylic and graphite to allude to particular places and landscapes, whilst at the same time making the viewer very aware that they’re looking at an artwork constructed on a canvas.

Stand D1

Geoff Diego Litherland. Space Ship Earth - Accept What You Destroy. Antlers Gallery.Space Ship Earth – Accept What You Destroy by Geoff Diego Litherland, Antlers Gallery
I’m really interested in the relationship between art and science, and I spent a lot of time studying it for my Masters. I love the combination of surreal and scientific references in Geoff Diego Litherland’s paintings – to me they feel like a cross between a fairy-tale dream world, and a diagram from scientific text book. I don’t think I’d ever get bored of looking at this piece!

Stand E1

To see more of what will be at the fair browse our preview albums, or explore our Facebook and Pinterest pages!