stARTup Art Fair, which opened on Friday January 27th and ran through Sunday January 29th, brought Los Angeles into the full swing of art fair season! After Art Basel Miami in December, we experienced satellite fairs in January with The Los Angeles Art Show and Photo LA a couple of weeks ago. This weekend, we had Art Los Angeles Contemporary in Santa Monica, Cerritos College’s FAR Bazaar and stARTup Art Fair all happening simultaneously.
Co-founded by artist/educator/marketer Ray Beldner and gallery owner/director Steve Zavaterro, stARTup Art Fair, is the first of three in 2017. San Francisco and Chicago will follow suite in April and September, respectively.
One of the aspects that makes stARTup Art Fair, now in its second year, so unique, is that they offer an alternative to artists working outside of a more traditional gallery system- cutting out the middleman and giving them direct access to a venue where they could represent themselves.
Thirty-seven artists were on the roster, displaying solo, in pairs or in small groups. The full list and additional photo’s can be found in the Cartwheel Art Preview article.
The location of stARTup Art Fair was at the Highland Gardens Hotel in Hollywood, which is known for its historical association with famous rock figures like Janis Joplin. It’s full of vintage Hollywood character! Another aspect that makes stARTup Art Fair stand out is that the artists had individual spaces to exhibit their work and create installations in the hotel’s rooms- a big departure from the traditional art fair booth environment.
The presence of the artists themselves within their spaces also differentiates the stARTup Art Fair from others. It was definitely a place where intimate dialogue about the work, creative process, the artists’ life and the navigating art world could unfold.
With very similar experiences in Miami’s 2016 Satellite Art Show and this weekend’s FAR Bazaar at Cerritos College, it feels like collectively artists may be going more in the direction of this DIY approach to showing and representing their work. I find this empowering and compelling. After all, aren’t art-making and art more vessels for the personal connections they engender, than about the work itself?
This year, Cartwheel Art was delighted to not only be an official media sponsor, but provide programming with a preview tour before Friday night’s opening reception. The tour was led by Cartwheel Art host and artist Andrea LaHue. I participated in the tour, and found that Andrea was impressively informed and contributed much background information. She engaged with the artists, asking insightful questions about their pieces and processes. It lent richness, depth and one-one-one dialogue to the experience of the fair! stARTup Art Fair co-founder Ray Beldner was so kind as to meet exclusively with Cartwheel Art’s tour group for an hour in the spectacular Rock and Roll suite, where drinks flowed, and we could ask him questions directly about the fair and its contributors.
Immediately following the tour with Cartwheel Art, the opening party began. Here we were entertained with a live musical performance by Ohr, and experienced lighting projections by Allison Wyper and Erika Barbosa, all happening amidst palms, next to a glowing aqua pool. We milled in a relaxed manner, exotic-flowered cocktails in hand, before the closing of stARTup Art Fair’s first day.
As Saturday and Sunday had full schedules of more live and video performance work, “Art Tarot” readings, and panel discussions geared toward educating artists about how to advance themselves and their work independently, there was still a lot to experience over the weekend at stARTup Art Fair.
If you missed it this year, maybe you’ll make it to San Francisco or Chicago’s chapters. Keep your eye out for more to come in 2018!
Following are some photos of highlights taken during the tour with Cartwheel Art:
Ohr performing during the Opening Party Celebtration
Group photo of the Cartwheel Art tour group
In the Rock & Roll Suite
In the Rock & Roll Suite during the tour with Cartwheel Art.
Clovis Blackwell & Mikey Kelly