Roy’s People Art Fair

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London Calling takes a tour of Roy’s People Art Fair with the founders Sam Peacock and Roy Tyson.

London has its fair share of art fairs but this one is different: Sam Peacock and Roy Tyson are both artists themselves and founded the fair as a platform to offer their invaluable expertise and support to both emerging and established artists as they navigate the art world. Roy's People Art Fair is London's first ever artist-led art fair. “We just thought it was a chance for two artists to get stuck in and do an art fair the way we think an art fair should be done. We are giving other artists a chance to put their work in peoples' faces”, says Sam Peacock.

Their first edition in 2017 was a huge success so now Roy’s People Art Fair returns for a second installment and on an even larger scale. “We get hundreds of applications so me and Roy go through them and work out who we like.” Says Sam. “We are looking for something different, something you don’t see every day. And we want to give as many people a chance as possible, especially if they are young and up and coming.” They also try to keep the fair as affordable as possible for young artists to take part in: a 2 meter stand can be yours for £350, a 4 meter stand for £450. “There’s not another art fair with those prices”, Sam states.

This year, 83 hand picked artists will be displaying, with artwork ranging from sculptures through to contemporary fine art and street art. They are very keen to get a good mix of British, European and international artists in to start different kinds of conversations. When curating the event, they try to offer as many different things as possible. And if there are any artists that can physically do their craft right here at the fair, even better! There is a printing press, letter finishing, life drawing, you can learn how to use a screen-printing machine to

make your own tote bag and there will be workshops for children as well hosted by the main sponsor GreatArt.

But the main attraction is probably the location itself, the Bargehouse at Oxo Tower, a three storey labyrinth that is decidedly un-gallery-like, instead offering an atmosphere more akin to a cool Shoreditch night club, all exposed brick walls, raw concrete floors and paint splashed corridors. It is a very atmospheric place, pumping with music and buzzing with cool quirky people. There is a sense of community and when it comes to choosing and buying art for your own house there is something about getting it directly from the artist. All 83 can be found by their stand and you can get into a conversation and rather than just acquiring a piece of art you leave with a story. “At other art fairs you are not always going to get the chance to meet the artist directly and a lot of buyers really like that”, Sam is certain.

Roy’s People’s Art Fair will take place at Bargehouse, Oxo Tower Wharf, Bargehouse Street, London SE1 9PH from 12 - 15 April. Entry is free.