This autumn, Affordable Art Fair Singapore will be opening the doors to its 11th edition! Working year-round to bring you the annual fair, the Singapore team are dedicated to making sure their 10,000 guests are greeted with 1000s of artworks and creative activities. It’s fair to say that they are extremely passionate about art!
To help you get excited about what they have in store, we’re delighted to introduce the exceptional team behind all that art. We sat down with Alan, Vanessa, Bernice, Amanda and Yao Ting to talk about everything from the favourite pieces in their personal collections to their tips for new collectors. Read on for more…
MEET THE AFFORDABLE ART FAIR SINGAPORE TEAM
What was the very first piece of art you purchased?
Alan Koh, Fair Director: My first artwork purchase was way back at the first edition of the Singapore fair in 2010. It was a reductive linocut titled ‘Floodline’ by Matthew Ivey that I bought from print master Marisa Keller’s gallery, Art and Printmaking Studio. Matthew explores the construction and deconstruction of nature through details and textures. As with all of his work, its created with up to nine layers of paint/reduction printing. It’s a beautiful and calming piece of work in varying shades of blue. The soothing and calming water drew me to it, and it reminds me to take a step back and be calm.
Amanda Tan, Finance Assistant: The very first item I purchased was Fragments Flows And Freya V2 and it is by artist Angus Martin. I bought them at the very first Affordable Art Fair Melbourne, which took place last year. I was drawn to the work’s colour palette, I still am.
Do you collect particular styles and mediums?
Vanessa Leung, Fair Manager: Right now, I’m drawn to works on paper, especially by artists that play around with texture and details, like my hand printed Eleanor Millard piece which I bought at Affordable Art Fair Melbourne. I was attracted to it because of the texture of the handmade French paper and the detailed layers of the print. My piece was also one of her last few works created using French paper, so I knew I had to snap it up. It’s currently in my little reading/working nook in the loft area of our house and I love looking at it every day!
Yeong Yao Ting, Marketing Executive: I love gloomy, moody landscapes, both paintings and photography. As a photographer I’m able to draw inspiration from them as they’re similar to the images I like to capture myself. I love the tonal colours and hues of blues, greys, blacks and how nature looks so foreboding and threatening but yet there is some sort of mystery and invitation to lure the viewer in and capture an emotion.
Alan: I have a very eclectic style of collecting, from paintings, photographs to edition prints. I’ve been through phases of buying Asian inspired ink on paper artworks, and monotone charcoal on paper drawings. Looking back at it now, I think the most important thing for me is that each piece has marked a milestone in my life, when I look at my collection, that’s what resonates with me the most.
Has your taste changed since you started working for the Affordable Art Fair?
Bernice Liew, Financial Controller, Asia: I’m not sure how to describe my taste in art. It’s the emotions that the art piece invokes in me that draws me in, rather than the medium or the style. Perhaps it's because I have a background in finance and have not really been exposed to art, so it’s more of an intuitive reaction. When I first joined the company and attended my first fair, it was such an eye-opener! I fell in love with almost every piece I saw and after attending more fairs globally and seeing all the artwork, I’ve gradually refined my taste. I’ve also started picturing how an artwork would look like in a specific space in my house to help me to appreciate art on a personal level, while being practical.
Alan: I think having the privilege to see so many artworks from all across the world has opened up my eyes to what I think art should be. It helps me to embrace the uniqueness, originality and talent behind each and every piece. I can now appreciate the different styles and techniques that artists from different corners of the world employ.
Vanessa: I think my style has definitely changed over the years. My first piece of work was a humourous print and I still love art with humour. I then moved on to artworks that reminded me of nature or the beach as it’s my favourite place to be and so I bought a paper work by Nicola Anthony and a seascape painting from Marine House at Beer. My latest addition is a pen and ink drawing of the Dolomites in Italy by Samantha Gare.
Is there a piece in your collection you can’t live without?
Bernice: For me, it’s not a piece I own, but I hope to one day! A painting by Stiliana Alexieva that I saw at the Singapore Fair in 2019, I think about it every day.
Alan: A painting by UK artist Eric Sharp, titled ‘Occupied’. It’s a painting of a skull with ladybirds and bugs and flowers around it, symbolising the idea of life after death. I know Eric through a close friend living in the UK, and was absolutely captivated by his work, so I arranged for it to be shipped back to Singapore. It now hangs in my bedroom so it’s the first thing I see when I wake up.
Are you drawn to up-and-coming artists or established names?
Yao Ting: I love seeing the Spotlight section of new artists at the fair. It’s usually specially curated by the Singapore team with a couple of galleries, and always catches my eye. There’s always a variety of styles featured, which is probably why I love it – from abstract, to portraits, sculptures and installations; the style, variety and theme of the works are so different. It’s a really exciting section of the fair.
Vanessa: I’m really interested in seeing young artists’ inspirations and if I see a young artist’s work that I like, I would purchase it straight away. I buy for love rather than investment, then if it does go up in value then that’s an added bonus, although I would have a hard time selling any of my pieces, as I have an emotional connection to each of them.
Are there any artists that you’re particularly looking forward to seeing at the fair?
Alan: In general, I’m looking forward to see more Singaporean and Southeast Asian young artists showing off their amazing artworks at this year’s fair. In particular I’ve spotted Lim Jia Qi, Hilmi Johandi and a few others from our Young Talent Programme, run in collaboration with ION Art.
Bernice: I want to see more works by Garry Pereira. After buying one of his pieces, I did some more research and found out that he has created oil paintings of waves and sand dunes along Norfolk coast. It would be nice to see them in person and continue collecting his work.
Yao Ting: I’m looking forward to seeing Ron Lawson’s paintings of the Scottish countryside as they remind me of the time I spent there, which holds significant and fond memories.
What are your top tips for new collectors?
Vanessa: Buy something that you’ll enjoy every day, that brightens your mood!
Amanda: It’s ok to start collecting before you have your own apartment, you won’t regret buying it but you will regret not having it when you finally have a space of your own. Affordability is personal to us all. If you have limited spending power, start with something small, or a limited edition print and then grow your collection over the years!
Yao Ting: Come prepared! It’s always good to shortlist a couple of galleries and artists whose work you’d like to check out. If it’s your first art fair, it can be easy to feel overwhelmed by the number of artworks, so use our gallery preview and e-catalogue, to do a bit of online research and highlight where specific galleries are located. Don’t be shy, speak to the gallerists or artists, they are very friendly and can offer you valuable information which might help you to fall in love with the artwork you have your eye on!
Alan: Buy what you love. Research – there is more than meets the eye (pun intended) with each piece of artwork. The stories they tell may draw you to it in a different way.
We can’t wait until the Singapore fair takes place later this year (20 – 22 November) at the F1 Pit Building. Join us to browse 1000s of artworks all under one roof, and get #ARTHAPPY. To keep up to date with all the latest Singapore fair announcements, why not sign up to our newsletter.
Affordable Art Fair Singapore Team at 2019 fair.
Featured art from first to last:
Photo courtesy of Alan Koh, Matthew Ivey, Floodline, 2010, Art and Print Making Studio, Affordable Art Fair 2010
Photo courtesy of Amanda Tan, Angus Martin, Fragments Flows and Freya V2, Painting on Cotton, Affordable Art Fair Melbourne 2019, AU$250, VRG
Photo courtesy of Vanessa Leung, Eleanor Millard, Untitled 98, Handprinted Print on Handmade French Paper, Affordable Art Fair Melbourne 2019, AU$565, Art To Art Gallery
Photo courtesy of Bernice Liew, Garry Pereira, Under Magic Canopy, Oil on Panel, Affordable Art Fair Singapore 2019, $900, Quantum Contemporary Art
Eric Sharp, Occupied
Spotlight section at Affordable Art Fair 2019
A couple viewing art at Affordable Art Fair 2019