UK Affordable Art Fair Director, Elizabeth Dellert, has joined the Expert Judges panel for the Jackson’s Painting Prize 2020. She has an expansive career in the art market working with galleries, art and antique fairs and her own PR consultancy. We asked Elizabeth about her own art collection and she offered some insightful advice for artist entering the Jackson’s Painting Prize.
Above Image: Songs of the Sea, 2019, Chloe McCarrick, Original mixed-media zinc leaf cyanotype, handbrush coated, hand finished with variegated zinc leaf, handprinted on bright white watercolour paper, 24 x 18 cm
Clare: How has your time been working with the Affordable Art Fair? Can you tell us about any highlights or challenges so far?
Elizabeth: I joined the AAF in July of this year, just as the fair was ramping up to celebrate its 20th anniversary which we duly celebrated at the October fair in Battersea with a glittery 90’s-themed extravaganza. Both a highlight and challenge (as are most things in the business!), it was an interesting time to join as I had only a couple of months to learn about the people and product before throwing the party of parties to celebrate both the brand and its loyal supporters! There’s so much to celebrate and I’m thrilled to join at such an auspicious moment.
Clare: Can you tell us about your personal art collection? What are your favourite pieces?
Elizabeth: I am a real ‘works on paper’ geek. Fascinated by the process and the craft of printmaking, my first ‘grown up’ purchase was a hand-coloured etching by Alexander Massouras, one of an edition of 12 entitled Dying Gaul. I feel it really celebrates the full spectrum of the history of art, showing one of the oldest, most iconic sculptures of all time, perfectly reflected in a playful abstraction in bright colours, almost Narcissus-like. It really summed up my schooling and my tastes at that time in my life! My most recent purchase was a pencil drawing by London artist, Marc Vaux, in preparation for a sculpture commission that he was working on. Marc Vaux himself struck up a conversation with me when he caught me crushing on it on the stand of Bernard Jacobson Gallery at the most recent Frieze Masters fair. It was so cool to speak to him about how he worked through the composition and selected the colours – I had to have it. The thread that unifies everything, in my modest but meaningful salon hang, is that every work has at least a dab of hot coral/orange.
Clare: Can you tell us about any exciting up and coming artists on your radar?
Elizabeth: I’m really excited about Chloe McCarrick. She’s a local London artist, shown by Mint Gallery in the most recent Battersea AAF. Her practice focuses on exquisite circular cyanotypes, many embellished with gold leaf; another process that fascinates me.
Clare: What will you be looking for in the entries submitted to the competition this year?
Elizabeth: Ingenuity and originality. As someone with literally no artistic skill myself, I love seeing the hand of the artist. Something that really illustrates who they are as a person, their journey, and speaks to a universal audience.
Clare: How important do you think awards and competitions are for artists today?
Elizabeth: I think anything that celebrates and shines a light on emerging talent is to be applauded. In an increasingly commercial world, we all get so caught up on sales, which certainly signify appetite for an artist’s work, but to be singled out and to receive accolades from one’s peers, I think is the highest compliment. Also, with studio space, and just the general cost of living (especially in London) ever-increasing, these prizes are crucial element that enable artists to continue to pursue their passions. The profile-raising PR obviously a bonus!
Clare: Do you have any advice for artists out there thinking about entering the Jackson’s Painting Prize this year?
Elizabeth: You’ve got to be in it to win it! Bite the bullet. If you put your passion into your art, and it means something to you, don’t be afraid, it will strike a chord with someone else as well. Let your light shine.
Clare: What were your exhibitions highlights in 2019 and what are you looking forward to, art-wise, in the new year?
Elizabeth: All brilliant, from 2019:
Paula Rego: Obedience and Defiance, MK Gallery, Milton Keynes
Seaside: Photographed, Turner Contemporary, Margate
Klimt / Schiele, Drawings from the Albertina Museum, Royal Academy
Can’t wait for, in 2020:
Dora Maar, Tate Modern – 20 Nov 2019 – 15 Mar 2020
British Surrealism, Dulwich Picture Gallery – 26 Feb – 17 May 2020
Laura Knight, Royal Academy – 2 Sep – 2 Feb 2020
(+ all 3 London AAF’s of course!)