Today I visited Chester Arts Fair first full day of their weekend annual event. Leading in from the entrance were works by some local schools, the first being Lower Queen’s School’s remembrance work. Followed by Abbey Gate College and King’s School. It was great to see such a vibrant display from each and a real energy in the work, with interesting use of media and experimentation.
The fair is set out in sections for each exhibiting gallery or artist. This creates a nice mix for visitors of some stands holding work of a similar theme or style while others being far more eclectic. Within this there are commercial art favourites both contemporary and traditional, traditional landscapes and portraiture and a few more unexpected pieces.
For me, as a lover of conceptually driven art, and not a collector either I was looking out for pieces which really captured a mood or sparked something in my mind. Though there is an abundance of craft skill in the works, this isn’t what grabs my attention – I’m looking for a unique perspective, a story or an interesting approach to media. The Invisible Print Studio was a small stand but with loads of energy and intriguing works, the staff were also keen to share the stories behind the work. Stand-out artsits here were Flora Parrot and Andrew Brick.
Local photographer Bob Hadfield had his own stand and displayed some of his “Mash Up” works, where he skilfully and wittily brings together photos of contemporary and historic scenes in Chester, which were great to see in the flesh as I’d only seen them online before. I also loved his slightly eerie piece “The Approaching Northgate”
All in all a great couple of hours to soak up a broad creative offering. Whether you’re a serious collector, are looking for work pleasing to the eye to fit in your home, or you’re on the look out for something more edgy there is a little inspiration for you all.
Chester Arts Fair is on show for the whole weekend closing at 5pm on Sunday 23rd November. Full details can be found here www.chesterartsfair.co.uk