The Other Art Fair is not your usual exhibition. With 100 emerging and established artists from Southern California and beyond, immersive installations, a curated food program, and a series of talks, the fair offers a little more than your generic, white-cube-gallery experience.
“It’s very experiential and memorable and fun,” says Chief Curator Rebecca Wilson. “We want to really get people involved with the artists.”
Established in London in 2011, the fair has expanded to locations as far afield as New York, Melbourne, and Bristol, and is making its debut this March in Los Angeles at the historic Majestic.
“The fact that it’s a slightly unconventional venue really fits into the brand,” says Other Art Fair founder Ryan Stanier. “It’s not going to be your standard art fair. Part of our challenge is to find these interesting spaces in order to put the fair on.”
Stanier created the fair as a platform for artists to meet and talk with potential buyers and the general public in person, bypassing the traditional gallery system.
“What that means,” says Stanier, “is that the whole experience is different. Instead of speaking to the sales guy at the gallery, you’re actually speaking directly with the maker of the work. It’s a lot more personal; a lot more genuine.”
“It’s really an unusual experience,” says Wilson. “It could be that [the artist] mentions something, and you’ve got a connection … a really nice relationship then forms and you can carry on being in touch. I love that kind of thing. If we can break down the barriers that have been there for such a long time in the art world, that’s a really good thing to be doing.”
Wilson had difficulty picking favorites from the impressive roster, but suggested four artists that she’s excited to see, along with several interactive works and events. Stanier is also looking forward to checking out the art, but is curious to sample his first peanut butter and jelly sandwich from PBJ.LA, who will be running a pop-up cafe at the fair.
“Obviously, as a Brit, we never get to experience them!” Stanier said.
Here are the curator’s picks for the 2018 Other Art Fair:
UK-based artist Alec Cumming’s vibrant and playful oil paintings take their inspiration from the colors, landscapes, and fauna of India, where he has a studio.
Rebecca says: “I first saw Alec’s work online. I really loved the evident influence of India. Then, I started reading about him and realized he happened to have a connection to the exact city that I grew up in England. It’s fun finding stories behind the pieces that you love.”
Born in a small fishing village in Sweden, Jonas Fisch was encouraged to pursue art by his grandmother, a famous fantasy artist and illustrator. He now lives in LA where he has become known for his colorful abstract paintings.
Rebecca says: “We’ve been working with Jonas for quite a long time. He makes very vibrant work reminiscent of Basquiat or Haring. He came out here to be an actor … but his career as an artist has really taken off. He’s really fantastic, and he’s sold a lot of work internationally.”
Based in Phoenix, Arizona, Gino Belassen is an emerging artist whose washed-out, minimal paintings often feature fragments of text and abstracted animals, skulls, and cacti.
Rebecca says: “One of the things I’m excited about is trying to find really outstanding emerging artists. We often pick up someone who’s just graduated or finished their MFA program. [Gino] is making street-art inspired work but with a muted palette. It’s much more minimalist than say Jonas Fisch, though there are similarities. I think the fair is a good chance to see a wide range of artists, some of whom might be brilliant people and others whom you’ve never seen before.”
Known for his large-scale landscape photography, Jin-Woo Prensena left a career as a top Hollywood handler after his breathtaking images gained him clients in celebrity circles.
Rebecca says: “In the last few years, we’ve started working with a wonderful photographer called Jin-Woo Prensena. He is originally from Germany but has lived in LA for a long time and he makes these incredible photographs using a very high-quality camera. A lot of what he does is aerial photography. He goes out in a helicopter and he has these harnesses and he hangs out of the helicopter taking these incredible pictures. A lot of the landscapes are very recognizable as you get the Hollywood sign, Santa Monica, Malibu, and such.”
If you’ve never had your portrait painted, here’s your chance. Award-winning portrait artist Carl Grauer will be on hand to paint you live — if you’re willing to sit down for two hours, that is. Grauer will be available on a first-come, first served basis.
For those who need some “cosmic healing,” a sound bath by local artists Rhythms of Vision is a must. The experience lasts an hour, and is likely to feature the soothing sounds of gongs, whale song, lap steel, and of course, crystal singing bowls.
Los Angeles artist Kelly Brumfield-Woods is known for her glitter paintings, but for the Other Art Fair she has decided to create an interactive “glitter chamber.” This immersive artwork promises to be a dazzlingly psychedelic glitter experience akin to Yayoi Kusama’s Infinity Room.
The Other Art Fair opens Thursday, March 15 and runs through Sunday, March 18. Tickets are available online here.