Did you know that March is Women's History Month? To celebrate the work of just a few talented female artists, gallerists, collectors and advisors that work in the arts, we've created a Women in Art magazine. If you like this article, follow the link below for more.
The exceptional team behind the Affordable Art Fair Hong Kong not only works year-round to bring you a jam-packed fair, filled with art and creative activities attracting 25,000 visitors, but also curates an online marketplace filled with 1,000s of works ready to purchase 24/7. It’s fair to say that they are as passionate about art as you can get!
To introduce the team behind all this art, we sat down with Regina, May, Amy, Cleo and Vivian to talk about everything from the Hong Kong art scene to, wellbeing, and tips for first time art buyers. Read on for more:
MEET THE AFFORDABLE ART FAIR HONG KONG TEAM
When did you discover your passion for art?
Amy Nebout, Head of Partnerships: I’ve had a passion for art since my school days, I studied art all the way into my A-levels. When I began working with the Affordable Art Fair team in 2012, my passion for buying art and my art collecting journey began. I can’t wait to check out the galleries every year – both from a professional and personal point of view!
Cleo Tse, Marketing Manager: I’ve appreciated aesthetics and beautiful design since studying art at secondary school. I was delighted when I realised there was so much going on at university to get involved with, each time I experience art it’s like discovering an unknown treasure.
Why would you encourage the people of Hong Kong to bring art into their homes?
May Wong, Associate Fair Director: There’s nothing quite like seeing your art collection expand! Falling in love with a piece of art is very personal, everyone has their own reasons for choosing a piece. Having a splash of colour in your home can enhance your sense of well-being and overall happiness and it’s also a great way to start conversations with your guests.
Regina Zhang, Fair Director: Creativity and inspiration is important to have around our everyday life. A piece of artwork can create a positive emotion and bring joy unexpectedly when you are not looking for it. It builds the environment around us and makes a home a home.
Vivian Chau, Fair Coordinator: Buying art is more than just acquiring a piece of work to decorate your home – the joy and emotion that an artwork gives you is unique to each person and you really have to experience it first-hand to understand it. Sometimes knowing the stories behind an artwork or the artist also enables you to see the world or even yourself in a whole new way.
What does the curation of this year’s fair reveal about the Hong Kong art scene?
RZ: This year we’re seeing many artists that were popular in previous fairs return with new works – proving their popularity with Hong Kong collectors. We’ll also be welcoming many new exhibitors who will be bringing new artists and fresh works to the fair that will appeal to younger audiences who know what they like. The Hong Kong art scene has gone from strength-to-strength over the past decade, with more people wanting to start their own collections. Because we don’t have a national Hong Kong art institution, people turn to galleries and art fairs to learn more about art – there is a thirst for education and immersion that’s really exciting.
MW: We’re mindful of how everyone is feeling in Hong Kong at the moment, so this year’s fair will be all about #ArtHappy, love and keeping a healthy mental wellbeing with art while the city recovers.
How do you make sure that the Hong Kong fair stays current in the art market?
CT: I always check on news to see what’s happening around town – what is happening in the art market, what people are interested in, which artists are hitting the headlines, and looking for ways we can provide an exciting experience for our visitors.
RZ: Hong Kong is a very interesting city and the range of visitors to the fair is diverse. We need to make sure we cater to everyone; first-time buyers through to experienced collectors; modern art paintings, to contemporary limited edition prints. Alongside pieces by established artists, we encourage our galleries to bring in artworks created by emerging artists with exciting subject-matters or new techniques. We find it essential to make sure there is always something new to experience at the fair.
Why is supporting emerging artists so important to you?
MW: It’s essential to provide young artists with a platform, an opportunity to showcase their work. It keeps the art eco-system healthy by fostering their careers – they are the masters of the future! This is why we run a Young Talent programme each year at the fair where we curate an exhibition of 10 local, young up-and-coming artists.
AN: I love our Young Talent programme – watching these young artists creating works specifically for the fair is such an involved process – they are so passionate about what they do. It’s amazing to watch these artists get picked up [by galleries] and to see their careers really take off. They tend to be where the best inspiration lies – definitely one to watch every year!
Are there any exciting new galleries or activities at the fair this year?
MW: I would recommend Apre Gallery from Hong Kong, who represent home grown and emerging artists, as well as British street artists including PureEvil. Also new to the fair is L Gallery from South Korea who have beautiful and colourful abstract oil paintings by Kwan Young Kim and performance artist Seung-Yoon Choi who uses a variety of tools, not brushes, to create unique monochrome artworks.
RZ: Art Therapy is a really important factor for us globally and this year in Hong Kong we’re taking this focus to new heights – weaving the concept through as many areas as possible. We’ll be working with Hong Kong Association of Art Therapists, ensuring visitors can get involved in mindfulness activities and workshops on-site, elevating their experience and making an impact even after they leave the fair.
What advice do you have for new collectors?
RZ: The best advice I have ever been given is to follow your heart. You’ll know when you’re standing in front of a piece of art that moves you, your heart will beat faster and you can’t help but lean in for a closer look. Always buy for love – there is an investment in that alone.
MW: A few practical tips are to set a budget and measure the space you’re looking to fill. Also, don’t forget to take a photo of the space with you to the fair – it’s really useful to have this to hand. In advance of every fair we create an e-catalogue. It’s not only exciting to look through, it's also really important to look at the range of artworks on offer and see what catches your eye. Then shortlist your top picks come and experience them at the fair where you can find out more about them and build an emotional connection with each piece.
VC: Don’t be afraid to talk to gallerists and even artists at the fair – they’re passionate about art and really friendly. They also have the best stories about the artworks and artists. One thing I’ve learnt from painful experience is, if you see something you like, don’t hesitate, as it might end up at someone else’s apartment instead!
How can visitors stay up to date with what’s planned for the 2020 fair?
CT: Follow our social channels and make sure you subscribe to our newsletter; we share all the new for the upcoming fair, plus new and exciting artworks from our online marketplace throughout the year. If you can’t wait until the next fair, there are thousands of works to browse online.
What makes you so close-knit as a team?
AN: We’re an all-woman team which I find very inspiring to work with – we tend to be the ones that juggle the most and need to blend different areas of our lives together. Because of that, interesting ideas come from so many different sources of our lives, for example we have a few amazing mums in our team, which means we’re able to come up with truly interesting ideas and activities for all the family.
RZ: The team excels in different areas, passion for the arts brings us together and makes us stronger, we are all very focus driven – you’ll see the results at the fair!
What is your favourite memory/part of organising an Affordable Art Fair?
VC: The smiles you see when visitors leave the fair with their new artworks; families having fun together at our workshops and gallerists from all over the world, getting together and hugging each other at the end of the fair.