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Indepth Arts News:

"Get up Close and Personal - Your Picture Perfect Home"
2004-11-16 until 2004-11-21
Inspired Art Fair
London, , UK United Kingdom

Art is in fashion and no self-respecting wall in a stylish home is complete without a painting, photographic print or canvas. You can, of course, buy mass produced prints from stores like Habitat and Ikea but increasingly people are looking for something original and individual that expresses their own taste. There's no need to feel nervous about stepping into the world of art for the first time. With a huge range of art fairs now, you're bound to find something that appeals whether it's a limited edition print or a canvas.

Favoured by celebrities such as Will Young and Davina McCall, as well as TV home show gurus like Linda Barker, on the hunt for pieces by up-and-coming artists, and big names like David Hockney searching for new works to add to their collections, you‚ll certainly be in good company.

Director and independent artist, Jo George, 34, who runs Inspired Art Fair, states: "There is enormous interest in art but all too often people are intimidated about what to buy and where to find it. Our venue at Old Truman Brewery was chosen especially as it provides a more intimate and social environment for more interaction between buyers and artists whilst having the benefit of being more interesting than larger purpose built venues."

Set in the heart of London‚s eclectic and creative East End, Inspired Art Fair is set to take over the Old Truman Brewery for a second year in November and will house work, to be bought, from more than 80 either undiscovered, new up and coming graduates or more established artists.

The work ranges from sculpture, painting, drawing, and photography. A selection committee chooses all featured artists and their decision is based on quality, technical ability and originality. This year‚s committee includes Ivan Massow (ex chair ICA), Jo George founder IAF and Sandra Higgins London art dealer.

Prices range from around £50 to a maximum of £2,500, with the average paid around £500.

A feature of this year‚s fair is the print on demand service, where you can purchase high quality limited editions and reproductions of the artists work. The quality is so good that the National Gallery have there own service on site.

Jo George's advice is: "Don't try to conform to anyone's expectation of what you should buy or buy purely because you think it might turn out to be an investment. If it goes up in value then it‚s a bonus but it‚s always difficult to predict. Quite simply you should buy a picture because it moves you. If it evokes an emotion, stirs a memory, or makes you feel good then it is probably right for you. If you get that same feeling every time you look at it, then it will be worth every penny you pay for it."

She promotes websites as a useful guide to what‚s out there, but warns that it‚s vital to actually view the art as well. "Colours can be distorted on a website and it is difficult to appreciate the scale of the brushstrokes and impact of the painting without being in the same room with it."

As many homes follow the fashion for neutral colour schemes, she believes that paintings are a vital finishing touch: "Rooms can look rather similar in style so people choose art as a way of expressing and defining their individual taste. Others notice art used in hotels and realise how successful it can be in introducing colour and drama into an interior."

Abstract art is usually the top choice. Jo highlights that "Art used to be seen as a luxury but now it is viewed as a necessity. Everyone seems to be looking for one large painting - usually an abstract - that makes a statement in a room. A few years ago people favoured a line or group of four pictures. Lots of people want their pictures to complement their colour scheme and will even bring in fabric swatches to match colours."

At this years Inspired art fair visitors can also gain free expert advice on how to hang and frame paintings from an interior design service providing them with guidance and inspiration. This "up close and personal theme" is carried through all aspects of the fair and members of the public will even be invited to vote for the artist that appeals to them the most, who will receive a cash prize.

Whatever you do - get in the picture.

Duncan Pearson

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