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Art Market @ No Vacancy

On Friday night I was at the opening of No Vacancy’s Art Market. It was a mini-art street art fair with over a dozen little stalls. There was free entry, unlike at the major art fairs. There were photographs, stencil art, drawings, illustrations and prints of illustrations; custom toys, soft toys and sculptures; jewellery, badges, cards, packs of cards, t-shirts, skateboard decks, artists books and zines all by young emerging artists and designers. The range of merchandise that is being produced in this young art scene with its street art and illustration influences is amazing. This is not like the stuff on sale at some Sunday market’s craft stalls; it has been better organized than that, even, in a way, curated as there is a consistency of style.

The art market also had a 2nd hand book stall and a stall selling clothes. On Friday night a one-man band was entertaining the hundreds of people making good use looping on a digital delay.

Many young people are participating in an affordable democratic art market. That people are choosing to buy art and fashion from local practicing artists rather than the mass marketed images or picking up the crumbs from the high-end art market. Rock’n’roll, punk and hip-hop have all played their part in forging resilient independent tastes. People know what art is and they know what they like. And the Art Market at No Vacancy gives them the opportunity to buy it.

I didn’t go to the The Weekend Australian Art Melbourne 09 at the Royal Exhibition Building. I’ve been to previously when it was known as the Affordable Art Fair and I’ve been told me not much has changed. I wouldn’t go unless they paid me; I can go to several of these galleries for free four or five days any week, why do I need to pay to go to The Weekend Australian Art Melbourne 09? Art Asia Pacific (#60. Sep/Oct 2008) reported on the proliferation of mega-exhibitions in “Biennials Gone Wild”; where art fairs have grown in budgets and visitor numbers into the millions. The effects of the current economic depression have yet to impact on these events although Art Brisbane 09 has been cancelled. I enjoyed No Vacancy’s Art Market as it is more alternative and more affordable.

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About Mark Holsworth

Writer, independent researcher and artist, Mark Holsworth is the author of the book Sculptures of Melbourne. View all posts by Mark Holsworth

2 responses to “Art Market @ No Vacancy

  • mscate

    Interesting take on it, I would have liked a stall but $400 was a bit steep!

  • gord

    Yeah, the larger art markets come across as being hermetically sealed black boxes, totally inaccessible to most artists who are serious but as yet undiscovered – I think most of the viewing public would assume the opposite.

    Id be interested in your impressions of Rose St and other craft markets where there might start to be some more fine art action by grassroot art hactivists :]

    It seems the public would buy works by local artists if they were affordable [say 500-2500 AUD bracket] had some artistic merit and professionally produced…

    A monthly fine art market held indoors in central Melbourne, showing works from say 100 committed artists might be quite successful!

    cheers,

    gord.

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