Last weekend I went to my first art fair, the Spring Battersea Art Fair, expecting to see lots of (pretentious) contemporary art I don’t get and leaving after an hour. Little did I know, as my boyfriend and I left three hours later, having purchased our first two artworks. We’re more broke than ever, but we’re now proud owners of art that we couldn’t live without.
Honestly, I was so amazed I took about 60 photos there! As for the fair itself, it had a really friendly vibe, with tons of families and places to have a break and a drink. I’m so used to thinking of contemporary art as something that I don’t get, but this was not the case this time. There was literally something for every taste and the talent of the artists was breathtaking. I left overwhelmed by beauty with my art satisfaction levels maxed out.
The fair was massive, so it’s impossible to highlight all my favourite artists, but here is a list of my absolute top.
I look into the cheerful ones, landscapes and portraits as well as some artists whose technique made me stop in wonder.
My top discovery at this fair, whose print I ended up buying 😍. Veronica uses fluorescent paint, so when you turn off the lights your paintings transform into nights with shiny stars. But this is not what drew me to her paintings. It was the joyful colours, the characters such as Alice in Wonderland, the flowers and trees in a magical world. Her art gives you a feeling of going back to your childhood. The more time you spend looking at them, the more details you discover!
This was the first painting that made me stop when I entered the fair. I loved the messiness of the paintings that yet had their own structure through paths of bright colours. Nature has a strong presence, perhaps not surprising for a Scottish artist (most beautiful nature ever) while her tiny figures, lost in this colourful world, are just adorable.
The painting that made me stop and stare in amazement was Jamaica in the Cool. Isn’t it just lovely? Cute trees and flowers are scattered around this colourful town that’s full of life. I love the path of light coming from the church on the left, the little boat by the water and the way the land ends near the top to give space to a starry night. Nature is right at the heart of her works, with bright, joyful colours.
From “what is this exhibition again?”, my boyfriend went to, “we need to do this more often!”, to buying his first painting. And it was Elaine’s painting! She paints inspired by her travels, and we just loved the ones inspired by Costa Rica with their icy pink, turquoise and fuchsia. The paintings are done in layers. She pours paint and transforms it by scratching, brushing and rubbing out until “it meets its final resting place, a harmonious balance of chaos and order, serenity and movement, contrast and unity, space and colour”.
Rory J Brown (landscapes)
Rory Brown paints vibrant landscapes that are full of energy but also calm. I love the depth and light in his paintings. Take a look at Harvest which has at the same time a lightness in the middle while an ominous sky approaches, the summer giving its place to autumn. His Light in the glade; bluebells is one to stop and take in all the detail, with its beautiful blue tones and the thin lines of branches or grass dancing around.
I was actually already aware of Adam’s paintings from Instagram but both my boyfriend and I were amazed by seeing his work in real life. I really love his dark portraits, painted only in black and grey tones. They look straight out of a horror film, haunted figures trapped in a painting. He also does portraits using ballpoint pen, where one line turns into a tangled thread. You don’t know where it starts or ends, but a portrait is created by it.
Alexandra was the artist whose ‘Selfies with Bond’ inspired the creative for the fair’s campaign. What attracted me was her portraits of beautiful women, surrounded by exotic flowers and birds in a surreal setting. A beetle appears in between the woman’s lips as she becomes one with the nature. I find her addition of straight white lines, changing directions and creating shapes quite intriguing.
Hannah van Bergen
Hannah paints iconic locations of cities we know very well, Manhattan and its Empire State Building, London and its Gherkin, but with a twist. She uses vibrant fluorescent colours and intense contrasts. The painting I saw was the one of London with a grey sky and all the building painted with intense orange, pink and blue. If you look closely (it’s really special when you see it in real life) you will see that she added details using a very thin black line. I wasn’t sure what material she used, or how she managed to make it so thin and flexible but I found it mixed very beautifully with these intense colours.
Kevin paints landscapes in a way that I’ve never seen before. The paintings are created by vertical lines, within which colourful boxes are added. Each box does not represent much on its own, but all together, they create a landscape. Try to look out for colours you didn’t expect, like pink in a sea, and how all together they make sense.
Marie paints girls in white dresses, and I’m not sure if they’re dancers but they really give me the impression that they are. It’s probably because the technique used, as they’re blurred out, mixed with the background. Their hair, dresses and tiny legs fade away to give a sense of movement. I find them very playful and calming.
What do you think? Who was your favourite artist from the Battersea Spring Art Fair?