Art Fair East - Gabriella Buckingham

Art Fair East

I’ve taken part in Art Fair East three consecutive times now and each time has been different; that’s always the case. I’m lucky enough to live half an hour from Norwich so it’s a really fun event for me to do because friends visit, opportunities for potential collaborations arise and this year I recognised a lot of visitors and vice versa!

Here I am at the private view on Thursday 1st December, accidentally wearing very similar colours to my paintings. I love it when that happens! Thanks to artist friend Tracey Ross for taking the photo. Great to see you and other friends that evening, particularly you Lisa if you’re reading this! The PV was heaving, I had no sales that night - my stand was next to the bar so priorities for people near me were elsewhere! In hindsight, I would definitely have ordered another light too. As soon as natural light vanished my paintings weren’t that easy to see properly.

This year I took a smaller stand than the two previous years (it’s been an expensive year) and it seemed quieter to me in terms of visitors which, given the current climate, isn’t surprising. There were some large sales though, in terms of quantity for some artists and price, but I think a few stands didn’t have sales. There was a huge variety of work and art is so personal. No sales doesn’t mean that you or your work is not cut out for this, it just means that the people that like your work and were in a position to buy as well, (you need both factors ) weren’t there this time.

A tip for artists; do take a browser if that suits your practice. Mine was full of original, unframed paintings, on paper, on wood and on canvas board. Unusually, I sold only from my browser this year. Apart from two other sales which didn’t affect my wall display at all! More on that in a moment.

Bold Vase above was the first painting to sell for me; on Friday afternoon. I nearly hadn’t included this painting in the show because even though I’d finished it earlier in the year I hadn’t yet photographed it! I’ve done this before and not quite learned my lesson. Kindly the buyer let me take this snapshot which I’ve cropped and will send me a picture once she’s framed it and put it up.

This was very much an experimental piece inspired by some colour exploring I’d done in Discover Your Art - my lead-in to my in-depth Experimental Still Life course. I love pattern-like backgrounds and this colour combination was particularly interesting to me so I am really grateful for this image!

On Saturday morning the visitors were noticeably families with young children which was lovely to see; it’s been a while since I’ve been around babies and toddlers. I hadn’t given this a thought when I’d decided on attaching a low shelf to my wall panels - which turned out to be the perfect height for a toddler to run towards and grab the two paintings resting on it! Her father noticed in time and helped her put them down again. In that time he’d been slightly forced to look at what I had on display and decided he liked it. Half an hour later he’d come back and decided to buy the painting below from my browser to take back to Camberwell.

Later that day, I looked up from putting something back in my bag to find a man and two children in front of me. He looked familiar and got to the point immediately, holding out his phone. At last year’s Art Fair East he’d taken a photograph Shades of Yellow below and asked if I still had it. I told him it was currently on my bedroom wall and that I’d be happy to sell it to him at last year’s price. I’ll meet him sometime soon to do a handover!

I had a fantastic day on Saturday - not just for this reason. Over the weekend a few artist friends came in unexpectedly and it was so fun to see them. Thank you Tracy Satchwill , Nicola Slattery , Antonia Clare and Victoria Fenn with whom I talked all things art and plans for the future.

Sunday was really quiet for me by comparison but I had a couple of sales in the afternoon. Tulips in the grass is a small mounted acrylic on paper that was in my browser….

….and Little Raku Box was another that was bought earlier.

I thoroughly enjoyed discussing the creative experiences of people who stopped to chat. Sometimes you really meet kindred spirits. On Saturday I had a long talk with a gardener and teacher who’d studied fine art about 20 years ago. We talked about life and creative possibilities - it was really satisfying. I am so glad I asked her name.

On Sunday night, after the fair was over, I saw that an order had been placed through my online shop from this same woman. She bought Scarlet Jug which you can see below. What a thrill - thank you.

I haven’t mentioned the wonderful stand holders I was surrounded by. This is another one of the best aspects of doing an event like this, making connections. Thank you to Benedict Homer for your warmth, fascinating knowledge and venue suggestions, John Sparks Art for the tea, appreciation and fist pumps, Mark Munroe-Preston for inspiring operational tips, and Nikki Mckay and Robert Moore opposite me for mutual support and interesting creations to look at all day. Great to meet you all.

Thank you too to the artists and fair organisers, Will Teather and Brian Korteling. See you next year!

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