Well we had a splendid time in Margate, what can we possibly say about that the Art Car Boot Fair that we haven’t already said in previous pieces on these fractured pages? We make no secret of our love for the Art Car Boot Fair, for the way it works, for the the whole travelling event that not only happens in London once a year but also takes us to places like Folkestone, Hastings, Liverpool and in last Saturday’s case, back to the seaside as part of the Margate Art Weekend, the Margate Now Festival and the whole Turner Prize thing that’s happening in the town this year/. Last Saturday, the beautiful thing that is the ever evolving ever flowing Art Car Boor Fair happened once more, this time the grounds of Dreamland over in Margate.
We’ve gushed aplenty about the pleasure of engagement, of the formality of gallery walls broken down at the Art Car Boot Fair, about how artists and an art-appreciating public hardly ever get a chance to explore and engage like they do at the fair. Sure, there are other art fairs but there really is absolutely nothing like the Art Car Boot Fair. This isn’t some great big commercial cattle market, we couldn’t be further away from all those great big fleece-the-artists art fairs that allow anyone silly enough the pay the hundreds |(and often thousands) of pounds required to be a participating artist, those fairs that let anyone in if they’re willing to pay the price – and yes, this, as I’m sure you know, is being written from the point of view of one of the artists invited to once again take part in the Art Car Boot Fair – it is important that people know that this is a carefully curated event put together by artists for artists and art lovers, that artists are actively searched out throughout the year, new blood added, an ever evolving list of participants, a never ending process from curator Karen Ashton and her team, it is important that you know all this/ Important that you know none of us are charged a penny to take part, as art fairs go this is rather unique, Actually forget about art fairs in terms of all the others, the Art Car Boot Fair is nothing like any of them, the Art Car Boot Fair really is a unique thing, a special thing and if this piece is beginning to sound like a kiss-ass participating artist sucking up to the organisers then tough, you know we like ot call it as it really is around here, it really is something special to be part of the Art Car Boot Fair, I hope the people who come along feel the same way as we artists do about it all, I hope people feel as good as we do as they leave with their sometimes ridiculously reasonably priced art they bought direct from an artist or an artist-led gallery.
Back to Margate then, back to the seafront, artists battling there way there with bags full of art, artists on trains boats and planes, well trains and hired vans mostly, first train out of East London to the seaside treats of Margate and Dreamsland and what kind of ungodly hour is this for an artist to have to get up! I usually haven’t down brushes and gone to bed at this time of night, the studio pigeons are looking very confused, where are they going?! Thankfully the sun is up not too long after us, the train in bathed in hope and sunshine, the Misfortune Seller is sitting over there with his own bags of art, we can hear others talking about the fair as we rush through the green fields of Kent, (it is good to escape, need ot escape more than we do). Arriving at Margate station is always a treat, you come out of the station and there it is right away, that rush of first view, the sea, the sky, the line where sea meets sky, and Dreamland is looking great, all spick and span and just the right balance, not too cheesy, not too commercial, it feels loved, it feels good. The Art Car Boot Fair is happening in a rather beautifully brutalist 60’s-feeling concrete car park, unlike Dreamland itself, the car park is still decaying, decaying beautifully, look at that ceiling, look at the light in here, the lines, the day is going well. Actually in terms of taking photos and seeing some of the art the place is a bit of a nightmare, do love it though, love the concrete, love the fairground, the seaside, the big skies and there’s lots of art, this is going to be a good day.
Actually as a participating artist the Art Car Boot Fair is hard work, it really is impossible to get to explore and see what everyone is doing, impossible to cover it all in terms of a review, to photograph it all, to see what everyone else is doing and this piece is in no way an attempt to cover it all, to write some kind of critical review of the art, this is in no way an attempt to pick things out or to pin point artists – and there are a lot of artists taking part, painters, print makers, performers, makers, people who have made special things for the day, artists letting their hair down, artists having fun, art should be fun sometimes, mot all the time, but it should be now and again/ People watching from behind the stall is always good fun, there goes someone in a Barney Bubbles Stacia t-shirt, there goes Bethany Bay, in those big red heels, there goes Tracey, she’s not taking part this year, she is from Margate though, good to see her here., There goes actor Russell Tovey, he’s apparently played a part in curating the whole Margate weekend, there goes Rachel Bailey’s sister Alison, she smiles at the Suranne Jones Gentleman Jack prints on Emma Harvey very Riot Grrrl flavoured stall (no sign of Janet Scott or Godzilla) There;s great fun to be had people watching from an Art Car Boot Fair stall, and it is as much about the people, the occasion, the performances, the music, as it is about tew art or indeed the buying and selling of art.. Hey look, it really is impossible ,to be picking out artists or artistic highlights, its impossible to be a participating artist and write an objective critical review – feels like I didn’t get to see half of it, I didn’t get to see what Geraldine Swayne had on her stall, I missed seeing the Paul Insect prints in the flesh (I see they were on ebay later that day at double the price they were on sale at the fair), missed seeing Susie Hamilton’s paintings in the flesh, I did see a pair of Julia Maddison’s “help” knickers blowing in the wind (and I did get to leave some leaves around the place for people to just take), I did get to see Tina Turner’s giant head, I did wonder if there should be a giant Nick Turner head with giant green unicorn spike, he is from Margate after all, as indeed was fellow Hawk and Margatian (or whatever the correct term is) Robert Calvert, The Robert Calvert prize for things made in a cellar? If you haven’t caught on,Tina Turner’s giant head is currently out in the sunshine of Dreamland to compliment the Turner Art Prize that’s happening in Margate this year The whole weekend was revolving around the Turner Prize, Mrs Booths was booked up so we had to catch the train home rather than stay to explore events over at the Turner Contemporary (I did get to do some studies and a bit of work for the next skyline paintings, I do love being by the sea, I grew up by the sea). must get back to explore and paint some more.
It really is impossible to write a sensible critical review, to pick out artists, to see everything, to get anywhere near covering everything (and I do hate leaving people out, every artist deserves a mention, everyone put in so much effort, sorry artists), I did like Kate Halpin’s beetles, they looked even better in the flesh than they did on line, Pam Hogg’s creations looked good again,, didn’t really get to see Frea Buckler’s pieces even through the Smithson Gallery stall was right next to us, really should have looked closer at the detail of Laura New’s work as well, The L-13 corner was as stimulating as ever, Jim Muir’s seagull made us smile (do we call him Jim or Vic?), it really is a busy day for us artists though. really is impossible to cover it all, impossible to write a review/ Hopefully the photos tell some of the story, give you a touch or two of the flavour of what went down, the slight air of chaos, the hint of defiance, the almost anarchic approach – do run the fractured slide show down there at the foot of this piece (yeah, I know, one too many photos of my stall). Hey look, it is impossible to write about it, it was packed, the good-hearted line to get in before the gates opened was long (and positively chatty) again, it was a great day, okay so there are maybe too many slick prints and not enough actual paintings? But then I’m a painter who never makes prints – oh look, it was a brilliant day, a real seaside treat of an event, and as it is every year, one of the highlights of at the art calendar – it was a triumph once more, the antidote needed in the face of all those stiff commercial art fairs that are about to hit London in the next couple of weeks,, a refreshingly honest antidote to it all, just the right attitude, a thing to celebrate, I love going to it, I love being part of it, I love all the engagement (and yes, I admit it, I love selling lots of art and coming home with a bags a lot lighter then they were when we set off), a most excellent time was had at the Art Car Boot Fair by the sea at Margate, a big big thanks everyone, loved it again, a triumph (sw)
Click on an image to enlarge or to run the fractured slide show…