South Bank art fair returns to make art affordable

An art fair is returning for its ninth year at the South Bank with a mission to sell pieces at affordable prices which still benefit artists.

Roy’s Art Fair, set up in 2017 by Roy Tyson, a Suffolk-based miniatures artist, provides artists with an open and financially viable platform to sell their pieces.

Galleries often ask artists for up to 50% commission, while Roy’s only take 10% and an up front cost of £576 including VAT for up to five metres of display space, social media features and support from their peers.

Georgie Earnshaw, 23, an artist and organiser of the event, said: “The aim is to get the art out there to reach new audiences.

“We are black and white with our fees.

“We have an artist in residence who’s been commissioned to make live art over the weekend and 80 plus curated artists.”

Roy’s Art Fair is also a member of Own Art, a scheme that allows people to pay for art in instalments with 0% finance.

Initiatives like Roy’s and Own Art come amid fears for the UK art industry as funding has been cut, diversity is down and more artists are being priced out of the market.

According to research from Art Council England, 69% of artists in 2018 had additional jobs, and income from art practice only represented around a third of their total income.

Around two thirds of visual artists earned less than £5,000 in 2017 from their art practice and only 7% earned more than £20,000.

A study published in 2022 stated that low pay and precarious work are barriers to access to the industry for those without financial support.

Ruty Benjamin, 67, of Skylark Galleries, an artist collective, said: “Few artists work full-time, the majority do other jobs.

“It’s very hard work with lots to do.”

Earnshaw added that she had to recently leave her artist studio in London due to the cost.

She said: “It’s a really hard balance to try and work enough so you can afford to live to make your work. It’s a vicious cycle.

“I was having to work so much to pay for the studio, but it also meant I did not have time to use it.

“It was a hard decision to make.”

Roy’s Art Fair runs at the Bargehouse, Oxo Tower Wharf from 28 September to 1 October, and admission is free.

Image credit: concrete&fells via Flickr

Join the discussion

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Related Articles