It’s not unusual to hear people say “I don’t know much about art, but I know what I like”. This last month people worldwide have been ‘liking art’ to the tune of many millions of pounds. Globally, sales of original art are soaring in a way that is astonishing while a recession is affecting around half the countries in the world. In recent weeks works by Francis Bacon and Andy Warhol have sold for record breaking prices. As I type, the preferred art fair of the super-rich, Art Basel in Miami is wrapping up a weekend that has seen pieces by Damien Hirst, Ai Wei Wei and Gerhard Richter snapped up at prices that are surprising even the industry itself.
Closer to home, sales of original artwork have also been buoyant. During the weekend of 9th November was Windsor Contemporary Art Fair. WCAF is always something of a jolly for Team Art on the Street, as we and our friends swarm en masse around the exhibitors at Windsor Racecourse, wine in hand, cheering on our friends in their endeavours. Judging by the amount of bubble wrap the staff were ploughing through, the opening night alone was a roaring success. It made for a great rehearsal for our own big day last Saturday.
As we opened for business at 10am after three hours of setting up gazebos, panels, stages and workshops, we were acutely aware that this was the culmination of a solid few months of hard graft – all in the name of our artists making those all-important sales. Because our event is completely inclusive (most art fairs have a vetting process, but we choose to support everyone), we have artists at all different stages of their careers taking part. That first sale can be absolutely crucial to building the confidence of an emerging artist and potentially dictating their path.
We definitely weren’t disappointed; it was an absolute win-win of a day. Artists made money from their skills, visitors picked up some great work and the town centre heaved. Visitors to Maidenhead on Saturday clearly knew what they liked.