We caught up with Patsy Dixon, owner of Affordable Art Fair favourite, Liberty Gallery, to find out a bit more about life in the gallery, what it's like exhibiting at art fairs, and learnt a bit about her own art collection in the process too!
Tell us a bit about Liberty Gallery and where your passion for art came from?
I’ve run Liberty Gallery since 2006 and exhibited at my first Affordable Art Fair in Battersea in 2008. It’s taken over my life – it pretty much is my life – and I really do mean it when on social media I use my hashtags ‘Ilovemyjob’, ‘Ilovemyartists’ and ‘Ilovemycustomers’.
I’ve loved Hockney since seeing ‘Mr and Mrs Clark and Percy’ which, to me, as a teenager at the time, was such a glamorous piece – this ultra-trendy couple with their cat Percy… the painting really drew me in and I felt very much part of it (very clever Mr. Hockney).
Before opening Liberty Gallery (when I was running my art shop) I had a print of ‘A Bigger Splash’ in my living room which I’d furnished with pink curtains and a pale blue suite which had yellow piping on it – obviously the painting came first! I was then drawn to the beauty and intricacy of the Pre-Raphaelite Brotherhood artists and loved the fact they were rebelling against the promotion of Renaissance art (notably Raphael at the RA).
Describe the sort of work we would typically find at our fairs and in our online shop?
Well, it’s not so strange then that the art I show is experimental and by artists who are very individual in their ways of working and consistently developing their practice. This enables me to show a fresh, eclectic and energetic, highly-collectible range of work.
I love the way visitors are absolutely drawn in to take a closer look at what we show. We offer a great range of styles and prices, appealing to the first-time collector and established buyers alike. The online shop has proved to be a great way for people to buy pieces that they may have seen at the show and then once home decide they want.
How does a typical day working at an art fair differ from day-to-day life in the gallery?
Day-to-day life at Liberty Gallery HQ is a very much quieter affair than at an art fair. The best bit about exhibiting is meeting all the wonderful Affordable Art Fair visitors and having such great energetic conversations! There’s such a buzz at the fairs and I doubt that could ever be repeated in any gallery environment. It’s like having a gallery private view for 5 days in a row and we love being a part of that.
Oh I am so lucky to have my own personal collection of art by the artists I represent! I’ve been given some as gifts (very lucky indeed), but my most recent purchase was one of the new limited edition prints ‘Ellipsis' by Dan Hillier.
Describe your own interiors style, and how do you use art to enhance your home?
Having just moved house, I’ve got myself all lined up for a light, clean and modern Scandi-style home. Affordable Art Fair Stockholm is one of my favourites and I love checking out the interiors shops when I get time there. I like to think the art in my home really makes a statement to visitors, and it makes me very happy to have such beauty around me.
Which artist has had the greatest impact on you and why?
I love the work and life story of Frida Kahlo. I love how she painted mostly self-portraits (an innovator of today’s ‘selfie’ culture) and how she was inspired by Mexican popular culture (as the pop-artists of the 60’s were and as my artists are today) and I love how she wasn’t afraid to portray the reality of being a woman – complete with flaws. Her own story of ‘triumph over adversity’ is so inspirational. She’s just iconic to me as a person, as a woman and as an artist.
I simply couldn’t choose! I love my piece of one of Bonnie and Clyde’s most iconic Hockey-esque pool pieces ‘Poolside Bambi’, my highly intricate exquisite collage collection by Maria Rivans, my beautiful 3D dream box by Frances Bloomfield, my hand-cut sculpted antique book by Alexander Korzer-Robinson, my mystical Dan Hillier pieces…
Who or what makes you laugh?
Mostly people I know! Many of the Affordable Art Fair gallerists have become good friends. I’ve just exhibited at my first Affordable Art Fair New York, where I collaborated with Amy Caiger from Caiger Contemporary. We had so many laughs together, it was brilliant to be with someone who you can share silly jokes with and fall about crying with laughter. We did try not to do this when exhibiting but it didn’t always work – how lucky am I to have such fun at work!
What’s your life motto?
I don’t have one really. I’m so lucky, I wake up happy inside, so I guess it’s just be grateful for what you’ve got. I am always.
Header image: La Shuks, ‘Sunset Rising', Silkscreen print on paper, 65 x 65cm, Edition of 15, £340.00, Liberty Gallery.
Main image: Liberty Gallery stand at an Affordable Art Fair.
Top left image: Patsy Dixon from Liberty Gallery pictured at an Affordable Art Fair with Alice Hicks from Hicks Gallery.
Right image: Dan Hillier, 'Ellipsis', Silkscreen print on paper, 76 x 76cm, Edition of 100, £425.00, Liberty Gallery.
Bottom left image: Bonnie and Clyde, 'Road Trip', Silkscreen print on paper, 105 x 75cm, Edition of 60, £600.00, Liberty Gallery.