One of the many casualties of covid-19, the arts and hospitality industry has taken a particularly hard hit. The creative sectors form a big part of our cultural DNA, especially in the UK where the creative industries not only generates a huge amount of income and jobs, but is also a catalyst for innovation across the economy, as well as contributing to positive social impact.
I have worked with artists and I know how difficult it can be to survive on very little money but their calling to create is more often than not, far greater than their desire (and need!) to eat. Something I always found truly commendable.
So this year, I’ll be ignoring the incessant click-bait sale promos across e-commerce sites and Instagram and opting to gift creations by local artists – because few gifts are more meaningful or memorable than art.
To make it easy, I’ve hand-picked a few of my favourite online art stores, connecting potential buyers to incredible local artists.
Founded by friend and press officer at Royal Academy of Arts, Elena Davidson, Zone Arts is an online art gallery offering a platform for artists in Tottenham, London, to sell their works. A combination of paintings, mixed media, photography, print and sculpture, Zone Arts offers customers the opportunity to discover and support artists living and working on their doorstop (Elena is also local).
She said: “I followed my own advice when I moved to Tottenham five years ago. I love what a hive of creativity it is here, with so many artists, studio complexes, venues and small businesses. I had the idea to celebrate and support this amazing talent, by creating a platform for local artists to show and sell their work, while building a collector base in their area.
“Lockdown was the perfect time to launch. I was on furlough from my day job at the Royal Academy of Arts, so had time to focus on building the platform. It also became immediately apparent that artists needed extra support at this time, while galleries, exhibitions, art fairs and events were cancelled or postponed due to Covid-19.”
Prices start from £20 | www.zonearts.co.uk
I’m lucky enough to have snagged two photographs by the very talented, Louis Sheridan. His photography inspires wanderlust and I love the way he captures ordinary day-to-day scenes of people and incredible landscapes. His prints are extremely affordable and in various sizes.
His work has taken him across the globe, where he has photographed mountains, models and movie stars; interviewed shepherds, singers and psychics, and hijacked the decks at every opportunity. In and amongst all this he launched Discover & Escape – a shapeshifting creative agency hellbent on viewing everything through a travel lens.
Photographs start from £95 | https://www.louisaws.com
Modern Muse is a female-driven online platform promoting emerging artists, offering a number of creators the opportunity to connect directly with collectors virtually. The site has an impressive roster of emerging artists including the likes of, Frida Wannerberger, Eliana Marinari, Marco Rea, Natasha Briefel, Poppy Waddilove and Sasha Podgurska, of which you will find works exclusively created for Modern Muse. Their portfolio includes a selection of original artworks and ceramics from Vanessa Prager, Audun Alvestad, Faye Hadfield, Kim McCarty and more.
“The artist is our muse,” says the site’s curator Harriet Mathias. “Modern Muse differs from physical galleries and other online institutions because we delve deeper into the artist profile. Our aim is to remove any fear by offering collectors a friendly destination, expertise, interesting anecdotes and useful tools before they start investing.”
Find a selection of available works here www.modernmuseart.com
ART ON A POSTCARD
Give the gift of art and also give back when purchasing works through Art on a Postcard (AOAP) which raises money for The Hepatitis C Trust towards its campaign to eliminate hepatitis C in the UK by the year 2025. In 2014 Art on a Postcard was intended to be a one off secret postcard auction, but following it’s success it spawned a small industry. Artists and photographers who have taken part in our auctions include Damien Hirst, Grayson Perry CBE, RA, Marina Abramoviç, Harland Miller, Martin Parr, Es Devlin, Jeremy Deller, Peter Blake, Gilbert and George, Wolfgang Tillmans, Marc Quinn and Cicely Brown.
The organisation also hosts several auctions throughout the year with partnerships with The Other Art Fair and Photo London and a themed urban art postcard auction curated by Ben Eine at Spitalfields Market in London as well our annual outings with Art Car Boot Fair.
They also have some incredible individual Boxsets of 50 postcards which would make lovely stocking fillers.
Prices start from £9.95 | www.artonapostcard.com
Another favourite of mine is Partnership Editions. The brainchild of Georgia Spray, she spent six years in the art world and saw a gap in the market for a curated platform to connect would-be collectors with emerging artists. She’s worked at some of London’s best galleries White Cube Gallery, Christie’s and the Auction Room, a digital auction house at which she launched the Contemporary African Art department, and for art dealer Ivor Braka.
Tired of the elitism of the art world, and after having received continued inquiries from peers unable to find good quality affordable art for their homes, she founded Partnership Editions.
She said: “We know the art world can be intimidating, so whatever your budget, our team of art experts are on-hand to talk to you about starting a collection. We also work with interior designers and trade buyers to help source artworks tailored to your projects as well as to advise on commissioning a bespoke artwork – for a special gift or to fit within a specific space. All of our artworks are exclusive to us. We always match “studio prices” – meaning that we are not charging you a mark-up.’”
They release six “drops” of original artworks per year. As well as the online offering, “we bring art to new audiences through their active events programme of talks, supper clubs, life drawing classes and studio visits.”
Artworks start from £150 | www.partnershipeditions.com