Affordable Art Fair: Democratising the Art Market for 25 Years, Now in 14 Countries Worldwide

By CTH Editors

4 months ago

Bringing art to everyone around the world

Affordable Art Fair is an entry in our Great British Brands 2024 book. 

Main image by Shaun James Cox

Affordable Art Fair: Great British Brand 2024

‘Running art fairs all over the world, it remains really important that we retain the human touch. We do this in several ways. Our local teams are vital in connecting with the galleries at a local level. We take a “glocal” approach; we look at the business both globally and locally. We rely on the people on the ground but train them in the lessons we’ve learnt over 25 years of operating worldwide. We also have a central, global marketing team.

It’s interesting from this perspective that geography affects art. Artists in Spain and Italy will use hot colours, reds and oranges, but Cornish ones the colours of the sea. Some art travels but some doesn’t.

Photography by Dean West at ARTITLEDContemporary. Affordable Art Fair 2023. Photo by Shaun James Cox

From the point of view of making art, there are two problems with AI. One is that AI is essentially derivative; it relies on what it can find on the internet. To create worthwhile art, you need to be human, observing what is going on in the world. The other is that many people are born to be artists – not everyone can be a banker or an entrepreneur, and art is a fundamental part of the human condition.

The human element is important, too, in selling art, in the interaction between the buyer, the artist, and the gallerist. There are three strands to this: the buyer loving the artwork itself, appreciating its texture and how it’s been made; the engagement with the artist and the seller; and, thirdly, the social element. People like meeting their friends to have a drink while talking about and buying art.

AI does, of course, have its part to play in making processes more efficient, but in the end this business is about people, and I can’t see a business succeeding that has used AI too much.’

Will Ramsay, CEO and founder

Will-Ramsay CEO and founder of Affordable Art Fair Photography-by-Spinach.-02

Will Ramsay, CEO and founder of Affordable Art Fair. Photo by Spinach

Five Proudest Moments

1. Founding the Affordable Art Fair in 1999 to make owning art accessible. In 2025 we’ll be celebrating 25 years of fairs.

2. Helping over 3,200,000 art lovers connect with great art, generating over £495m in sales for independent galleries and artists.

3. Our charity work. It generates over £100,000 a year in the UK alone for emerging artists and local charities, through donations and in-kind support.

4. D eveloping an art-loving community where everyone is welcome. Both exhibitors and visitors return year-on-year to see what’s fresh and new at our fairs.

5. Our forthcoming expansion in 2024, as we launch the winning Affordable Art Fair concept in Austin, Berlin, and Brisbane.

A gallerist adjusts work at Affordable Art Fair Battersea. Photo by Guy Bell

A gallerist adjusts work at Affordable Art Fair Battersea. Photo by Guy Bell

What I’ve Learnt

  • Asking questions of the gallerist or artist gives me a deeper understanding of the story or reasons behind an artwork.
  • Artists open our eyes and help us to appreciate things we might not have noticed.
  • Travelling to our art fairs abroad, I have learnt that a lot of art is place-specific, reflecting the place’s colours and character.


Upcoming London Fairs:

Battersea Spring, 6-12 March;

Hampstead, 8-12 May;

Battersea Autumn, 16-20 October