Isn't it marvellous?
Just the day you need to get to London and, to be more precise, to Fulham, National Express East Anglia decide to have one of those “improvement” engineering works they come up with from time to time to try and justify the extortionate ticket prices they inflict on us year in year out. Then, to add to the fun, the bit of the District Line we need is shut for yet some MORE engineering works.
Three hours in, three hours out, train-bus replacement service-tube-tube-bus replacement service, and then we do it all over again the other way round…
These days, you really need to be extremely motivated to do anything in London at the weekend.
But thankfully, it was all worth it.
This week was the second Fulham Palace Art Fair at - you’ve guessed it – Fulham Palace. I have lived in London for 12 years and didn’t even know this place, shame on me!
A real oasis of calm in the heart of London, it is located just a few minutes from Putney Bridge and Fulham Palace Road.
For more information about the Palace, go to their website: FULHAM PALACE.
(Note: The photos below are not mine)
For history buffs, here’s quite an exhaustive one of Fulham and Fulham Palace: HERE
If you are using the Putney Bridge entrance, do not miss the remarkable Sir William
Powell’s almshouses on Church Lane.
This Art Fair was the best I have been to in ages.
Usually, you manage to spot one or two artists you kind of like, lost in the middle of an array of not so interesting, trying too hard to be trendy works. If there is something I really loathe, it is contemporary art, the type of thing that would show a white square with 4 sheets of A4 paper full of a waffly “artist statement” explaining how incredibly amazing their take on social problems is or something (usually using jargon and psychobabble) - all this to hide the fact that they lack talent.
There weren't any video installations either, wow!
Call me traditionalist, but I need to respond to the narrative of the image itself, the colours, the subject, the shapes. I also like beauty, silly me. And people with genuine talent, you know, who really CAN paint, draw, have an eye for beautiful photography.
This event was absolutely full of such artworks. I can count on one hand the artists whose work I didn’t like that much. But none of them made me think “Hang on, someone is actually taking the piss, here.” Not ONE, can you imagine?
So we had everything from traditional oil painting to ceramics, sculpture, illustration, mixed media collages, woodcuts, screenprinting, photography, textile.
The atmosphere was relaxed, friendly, not at all intimidating or snooty “arty-farty”, as they say. I have done a little selection of some of the artists who have made an impact on us, but this list is not at all exhaustive.
To have a little preview of the art fair exhibitors and their work, go HERE.
All the names below link to the artists’ or galleries’ websites.
THE ANTLERS GALLERY deals with fantasy and imagination. Special mentions go to Anouk
Mercier for her ethereal, romantic, dreamy worlds and Mr Mead for his wonderfully humourous and dark illustrations – he has created his very own species called the “British Bio-mechanical Anthropomorphism”. I actually regret now not having bought the set of "Dark Suits" playing cards that was for sale...
We were incredibly impressed by Maria Rivans’ intricate vintage-inspired collages. She told us that she had been pretty successful so far at the fair, and she seemed really pleased when we talked to her. The amount of work that goes into each piece is absolutely staggering: from sourcing the ephemera she will then cut up and glue by hand in order to create amazingly colourful, action packed tableaux and characters… Simply wonderful!
If you like collages, you will also be impressed by the LIBERTY GALLERY’s Alexander Korzer-Robinson. His book sculptures are so intriguing.
Samantha Bryan’s pieces are in a league of their own. Her “brainsfairies” series is simply marvellous and made of adorable creations you just want to take home with you. All of them. Do go and have a look at her very own universe, one in which fairies are accident-prone too! Her little fairies characters are real little individuals! Her contraptions and early 20th century look and feel reminded me of W. Heath Robinson’s illustrations. So utterly charming and quite touching!
Samantha also has a blog: www.studio-number8.blogspot.com
Another special favourite of ours was Flora McLachlan’s otherworldly etchings and paintings, full of the beauty of nature and its mysteries. Unfortunately, Flora hasn’t got a website, but you can go and see some of her works here: NORTON WAY GALLERY
Tony Laverick’s ceramics have a dark, rich beauty to them. He specializes in black porcelain and his pieces are very nicely textured. Gorgeous work.
We stopped off to say hi to Karen Jones from the Hive Artists Studio in Chelmsford (see previous blog HERE). Karen’s stall was packed full of her wonderful illustrations that had won us over a few months ago at her “Painted Words” solo exhibition in Westcliff. The fact that she is such a laidback, friendly and approachable person makes things even better… She had completed a new work especially for the Fulham fair, a perky, sassy image of Hollywood film star Mae West. I have fallen in love with the artwork and no one is allowed to buy it, it’s mine! (err… It will be when I have the money for it! ;-))
Mark Wilson’s photography work looks amazing as large prints. He has a mean eye for colours,
light and atmosphere. He is a very successful commercial photographer – we didn’t know how much when we met him, and he is a friendly guy; we had a nice chat with him about his latest – and ongoing– personal project, “The Last Stand”:
“Being shot between 2010 and 2012, this set of images documents an aspect of the physical legacy of war in 20th century Britain and Western Europe. Centred around coastal areas, these man-made objects of defence now sit silent in the landscape, imbued with the history of our recent past. Some remain proud and strong, some gently decaying through the effects of the passing years, others lying prone on the shore, far below the now distant cliffs where they once stood, all of the becoming part of the fabric of the changing landscape that surrounds them.”
More about this project on his website.
There were so many more artists I could have included in here, but this blog is already far too long… Once again, go to the Palace Art Fair list of exhibitors and have a look at the artists’ websites… You will discover a wealth of incredible talent, far away from the overhyped and rather sinister celebrity artists of this world…
Last but not least, special mention to the Teapigs company, whose teas are served in the Fulham Palace café…
Yummy yummy teas, so much needed after three hours on public transports!
I hope you've enjoyed this long, long post!
In the meantime, allow me to return to my book...
I think therefore I write.