For the next instalment of our long-standing exhibitor series, we’ve been chatting to Christine and Tom of Yorkshire-based gallery Colourbox. As well as running the gallery, they are both themselves artists and they have been participating in the fair since 2002.
Tell us how you first started?
We started out painting together in 1996 and did a lot of artists’ fairs, like the one in Battersea Town Hall and Teddington. We quickly realised that art fairs were a brilliant way to meet lots of new customers and a great way for them to discover new art.
How did you first come across the Affordable Art Fair?
We heard about the Battersea fair in the autumn of 2001 while we were at an artist fair. Everyone said Battersea was fantastic and we thought it could be exactly what we’d been looking for. The artist fairs were good, but we wanted something set at a higher standard with a more professional edge. We called Nicky Wheeler and luckily they were just about to launch a new spring fair in 2002 and had a few stands left, so we took one.
What was your first Affordable Art Fair like?
We had no idea what to expect as we hadn’t actually visited an AAF before we arrived for the March 2002 spring fair. We were totally blown away by the scale, the quality of the work and the level of organisation. We were extremely nervous as we had taken a leap of faith to take part, but it was brilliant. We sold about seven of our paintings on the first morning!
Which Affordable Art Fairs do you now do?
We do all the UK fairs and have done Singapore three times.
Best thing about doing the fairs?
It’s fantastic to meet new art buyers, and of course seeing our regular customers and getting the chance to talk to them about what we do.
Funniest fair memory?
Michael McIntyre asking for a discount on a small painting at the last AAF Hampstead!
What’s next for the gallery?
More of the same we hope. We’ve decided not to do the international fairs because, as we are also artists, other galleries are happy to show our work at those, so we will continue to do Battersea Spring, Hampstead and Bristol for as long as we can. It will be our 15th Battersea next March!