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Q&A: Ryan Stanier, Director of The Other Art Fair

Ryan Stanier launched The Other Art Fair in November 2011. An art fair with an offbeat agenda, it offered emerging artists a place to sell art to buyers without gallery representation as well as offering the public access to some of the best undiscovered artists. Now with fairs across the globe, each edition of The Other Art Fair showcases work by a selection of artists handpicked by a committee of art industry experts.

Eli Goldstone: The Other Art Fair aims to make investing in art more accessible - is it a place where art buyers encouraged to trust their own judgement rather than being told what to like by gallerists and critics?

Ryan Stanier: Our ethos at The Other Art Fair supports the idea that buying artwork directly from by emerging artists is the best way to begin investing in art, and a smart way to build a collection. So, in this regard we always encourage our visitors to trust their own tastes and to buy something that truly personally resonates with them. This is because even though artworks often retain their asset value, it is good to remember buying an artwork even those recommended by the art world doesn't always come with an investment guarantee. However, we also understand that some visitors might be new to collecting, and so for these collectors we try and help build their confidence through our dedicated fair features such as our onsite art talks.

Eli: Do you think the art world is less intimidating these days?

Ryan: I think in today's digital world the art world has become a lot less intimidating. With the wealth of art knowledge available through online resources together with accessible art fairs such as ours, anyone can quickly become confident and knowledgeable about how they see and view art. Saying that, not all barriers to the art world have been broken down, and so we hope as we grow our fairs and online presence through Saatchi Art will support the new ecology for making art more accessible.

Eli: Do some artists get nervous about having to sell their work to the public rather than going through a gallery?

Ryan: Some artists are naturally confident in talking about their artwork to different audiences, however we do find that some artists need some assistance. To help overcome their nerves we offer all our artists workshops prior to the fair to discuss the best strategies for selling their work onsite, as well as ideas about personal marketing and how to approach new potential collectors. Also, The Other Art Fair team is always visible at the fair to help any artists who might feel those nerves creep in onsite. In the end, we find that once an artist has participated in one of our fair's, they seem to become much more confident and relaxed about selling their work.

Eli: What was the last piece of art you bought?

Ryan: The last artwork I purchased was by Charming Baker. It’s a really cool pencil drawing of a T-Rex which my 5yr old son absolutely loves!

Eli: Can you give us any clue as to who this year's guest artist is going to be?

Ryan: A true Londoner, who is well known for establishing beatboxing as a visual art form. This year's guest artist is none other than London born artist and producer Reeps One. A multi-disciplinary phenomenon, from his vibration focused installations to his captivating edgy vocal performances, Reeps One is leading the way in redefining vocalism as a creative medium. With an unmissable performance by Reeps One and a showcase of his exclusive signed limited edition prints, we are looking forward to welcoming Reeps One and his unique fusion of art, technology and music, to this year's fair.

Eli: Has it been an exciting process seeing the concept spread across the world?

Ryan: For many years the art market has seen a range of gallery driven art fairs across the world, and so it has been fantastic to see the enthusiasm for such an independent concept of an artist-led fair. Therefore it has been really exciting to see that the fair concept has been able to offer artists something which they felt they needed. We have over 700 artists apply for each fair, and I often have lots of artists from across the globe personally comment on how the fair has helped them to enter the professional art world, so I am just excited that we can provide a platform which would not have otherwise existed.

Eli: What typifies the Other Art Fair crowd?

Ryan: It is hard to say what typifies The Other Art Fair crowd, as we have such a range of visitors who attend our fairs. From those who may have never been inside a gallery or purchased an artwork, to well established collectors looking to discover the next future star of the art world. But if I had to pick one unifying feeling about our different audiences, it would have to be that everyone comes to the fair with a true passion for discovering more about our artists and the meaning behind their work.

Eli: Finally, could you tell us about the first piece of art you remember being moved by?

Ryan: It was probably a painting hung in the downstairs toilet of my parents home. It was an abstract image of a man playing cards and revealing his hand. For some reason as a young child it resonated with me and I remember being fascinated by it. I’m sure my therapist would have some interesting theories for this!

The Other Art Fair
5th-8th October 2017
The Old Truman Brewery
theotherartfair.com