One of the UK’s most successful and exciting art events, Oxford International Art Fair offers artists and galleries the opportunity to show their work and sell commission-free to an audience of over 10,000 visitors attending over three days. In January the Town Hall will host paintings, sculptures, illustrations, photographs, ceramics, jewellery and more, in an event expertly curated by award-winning art entrepreneur Joëlle Dinnage. Here she tells us more.
How encouraged have you been by how artists and creatives have persevered during lockdown?
There is an incredible creative spirit which lockdown hasn’t been able to diminish. Artists are using the extra time to explore new avenues and create new work and we hope to exhibit some of these works at the Oxford International Art Fair 2021. Elsewhere, whilst we’ve had to postpone events like Tokyo International Art Fair 2020, we’ve been looking at other ways to support artists like creating an International Digital Virtual Art Fair platform where we can still connect artists and art collectors from around the globe. The reaction has been amazing.
How have you been occupying yourself?
I’ve been continuing to work from home focusing on the development of the International Digital Virtual Art Fair platform. I’ve also been doing a detox to get rid of the quarantine pounds, since there was no way of going to the gym! I’ve been looking after my son and looking for holidays together with him for when all this is over.
Right now, how many galleries/organisations/businesses are you overseeing?
I have three companies, two in the UK and one in Dubai. I have two galleries and organise large art fairs in cities including Oxford, Tokyo, Shanghai, Amsterdam, Barcelona and Miami, to name just a few.
You started selling art at the age of 13 – how did you know what you were doing at such a young age?
I was taught early the value of money. I was selling sweeties and CDs in the playground way before I started selling art. Becoming an entrepreneur was always in my blood I think! I was also very creative and passionate about art from a young age and that helped me a lot.
Of which of your awards are you most proud?
Winning the Female Entrepreneur of the Year at the 2015 Stevie Awards in New York was a big deal. It’s a tough competition with lots of big names, so I was delighted and surprised to win.
Ten years ago you launched The Funky Art Gallery, focused on urban and graffiti art. Where in the world can the best urban and graffiti art be found?
I would say Tokyo. That’s why I love the Tokyo International Art Fair in Roppongi that I organise every year. It has a great display of urban and funky art, plus pop art in paintings as well as sculptures.
What does Oxford mean to you?
I moved to the UK when I was 21 and Oxford has been a major part of my life. I gave birth to my son here. I also started my first art exhibition at the Jam Factory and from then on my business really developed, so Oxford has been a special place for me, an inspirational city.
Do you have any favourite haunts in the city?
I love the Perch on Binsey Lane and walking along the river with my dog Elvis. The Fishes in North Hinksey is also one of my locals. I organised the Summer Oxford Art Fair there for many years. The Folly is another great place. I had an exhibition there a long time ago. The new Ivy on the High Street is also very nice!
What can we expect from Oxford International Art Fair 2021?
We have 100 exhibitors from over 25 countries selling paintings, illustrations, photography art, limited editions, sculptures, jewellery and fashion. All hot items handmade by living artists. We will have live jazz music playing on stage in the main hall and art workshops in the old library.
You’re taking applications from galleries and artists to take part – what is it that you’re looking for from applicants?
Our team is looking for a variety of work in painting, sculpture, photography and illustrations and more by artists from around the world who have high standards and quality artworks. We welcome new artists as well as established ones.
The Oxford International Art Fair 6th edition is now open for applications and is inviting artists and galleries from across the country to apply to take part when the event returns to the city next January. Those who sign up for the event before 1 July 2020 can also take advantage of a special 10% early bird discount.