GREENPOINT — The Other Art Fair Brooklyn is coming back to the Brooklyn Expo Center April 30 through May 3, 2020, and is looking for artists for its eighth installation.
The upcoming Brooklyn fair will showcase 130 exhibiting artists from across the globe. Each year the fair has a unique committee that selects artists based on originality, portfolio style, medium and quality of submitted work.
The Other Art Fair was founded in 2011 by Ryan Stanier in London after working with up-and-coming artists. He noticed a disparity between emerging artists wanting to represent themselves and buyers wishing to buy from and discover new artists.
“Artists are involved in the entire process of the fair from start to finish; they represent themselves onsite throughout the event, providing the opportunity for a deeper connection with art buyers and collectors,” Sophie Lucas, Fair Director for The Other Art Fair Brooklyn told Bklyner. “This engagement gives artists the tools to market themselves, enabling them to propel their careers beyond the fair.”
The fair is committed to supporting independent artists, and they try to keep the initial investment to a minimum while providing a professional environment for exhibiting work. Applications are free.
Fiona Chinkan, 34, is an abstract artist born in Scotland, raised in New Jersey, and now living in Brooklyn for the past 11 years. After working as an art director for a decade, Chinkan finally turned to her art full-time in spring of 2018. The Other Art Fair was her first and has now participated four times and is applying for the spring session.
“It’s the best fair for emerging artists in New York. Their staff manages it very well, they’re communicative and send you a handbook with how everything works,” she told Bklyner. “They put you as an artist in the best position to represent your work to collectors and the people who come are genuine collectors and sell it to people who are genuinely looking to buy.”
Chinkan laughs, that sometimes at a pop-up show or another fair people just come for a free drink, while The Other Art Fair has a good mix of general people who are looking to buy, consultants, and curators.
The artist has successfully sold work at the fair and that’s why she keeps coming back. The relationships built during the fair may also end up in future commissions.
“The first time I did it, I had really low expectations on whether I would make back my investment,” she said. “As I learned more about the fair, it may pay off in other ways.”
King David, a 24-year-old abstract artist born and raised in Brooklyn, jump-started his career shortly after art school. He has now participated with the fair three times, as they give the freedom to set up the booth and prices on the artist’s terms.
“The artists want to have the most control over their work and The Other Art Fair allows that control,” he told Bklyner. “It’s an opportunity to represent ourselves the best way we see fit.”
King David laments that sometimes you make money at the fairs and sometimes you don’t, it’s always a gamble.
“If you’re serious about it, do it. You need to get your work out there. First two times I made back what I spent on it – if you’re lucky enough, that’s great,” he laughed. “And last time I didn’t sell anything, but the interest that I was able to generate will help. It’s an art game, are you willing to play the game or not?”
Alongside the booth, the fair offers professional development support to exhibitors by providing informative workshops, socials, networking and collaboration opportunities with individuals from all of their previous fairs. The Brooklyn edition brings in 14,000 visitors, many of whom are gallerists, collectors, curators, and buyers, both first-time and seasoned.
Chinkan said the fair is approachable and less intimidating for buyers than a gallery, as you get to speak to the artists directly. And while it is easier for buyers, it also creates a sense of togetherness for the artists, “being an artist is a solitary practice and it’s a good [feeling] to have community.”
“They’re building a staple of artists, as it gives us a small, unique niche platform to tell our stories,” said King David about the fair’s impact on the local art scene. “They’re exposing the local scene to a lot of international artists and artwork, on what’s fresh, what’s happening, and how relevant it is.”