Seventy-seven artists under the aegis of Artists at Home will be throwing the doors to their west London studios and homes open to anyone who cares to visit from the evening of 14 through to 16 June. What began as a novelty and unusual way of selling art 40 years ago is now firmly established across Chiswick, Hammersmith and Shepherd’s Bush, even spawning its own artists’ trail and a clutch of loyal sponsors.
AAH is one of those quirks of London life run on a voluntary basis by the artists themselves. It allows new collectors to dip their toes in the water and discover art outside the confines of established galleries or auction rooms in a fun and relaxing way over a weekend in summer in their neighbourhood. The advantages are many as punters get to meet artists face to face whilst also quizzing them about their style and inspiration. This is the modus operandi of many high profile collectors who visit artists at their studios and observe them at work.
Discover your own ‘YBA’
Remember the YBAs (Young British Artists)? Yes, most of them were discovered in this informal way and nurtured by patrons through different stages of their development. Lucian Freud, Bridget Riley and David Hockney all had studios in west London at the early and late stages of their careers just like participating artists and it is a unique opportunity to discover those just starting out or more established and recognised names. Some artists are showing in their studios so you will get to see more of their processes, materials and sketchbooks close up.
Bona fide artists in the fine or applied arts living or working in the selected areas can apply to join AAH. The disciplines showcased are wide-ranging from painting; sculpture; ceramics; textile design; photography; print-making to jewellery. Work shown must have been produced by the artist while mass-produced objects and work by non-members are not accepted.
Window-shop or Bag a Bargain
And for anyone feeling awkward about visiting an artist at home or in their studio, organisers explain “the idea of showing artwork at home is unusual but art trails are becoming more familiar, and that’s what makes it fun! You get to see artwork in a home setting and everyone taking part is used to visitors wandering in and out. It’s unlikely you will be the only person there and you will be very welcome”.
There is also no pressure to buy art after browsing, especially if prices seem unaffordable. But you may soon find you have stumbled on a gem that fills that jigsaw on your wish-list. There are often prints, posters or cards available for sale to sate your appetite.
Planning your Visit
Visitors can create a favourites shortlist on the AAH website, but other studios on the trail may also be worth a look especially those that are further out of the way from your desired neighbourhoods could even turn out to be the find of the weekend.
Artists at Home runs from 14 – 16 June 2019