Interview | Karen Ashton, founder of the Vauxhall Art Car Boot Sale

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Portrait of founder of the Car Boot Fair Karen Ashton Photo by Nick Cunard

 

This Sunday, the Art Car Boot Fair Pulls Back In To Vauxhall

Back to its roots in the heart of South London, this year’s Vauxhall Art Car Boot Fair will pull up in Vauxhall on Sunday the 9th of July for an afternoon of art, bargains, fun and frivolity but this year with a brand new theme, ‘The Original.’ From Harland Miller to Marcus Harvey, Sir Peter Blake and more, some fantastic artists will be on the scene selling original and limited edition works from the boots of new and vintage Vauxhall cars. And thanks to the latest choice of theme there will be much more original work available! ‘Since 2015 we have given each Art Car Boot Fair a light theme, ‘The Dog’, ‘The Hand’, etc. and this year we wanted to effectively re-boot the fair by moving to Vauxhall,’ explains founder Karen Ashton.

‘[We wanted] to try to encourage more original works by artists and less limited-edition prints! So, by theming the fair ‘The Original’ it’s a nod both to our sponsor Vauxhall’s origins and to the idea of featuring more original work. The artists have responded very well to the theme by producing works exclusively for the day and lots of unique pieces, including works being created and finished at the Art Car Boot Fair itself.’ Visitors to the event will be spoiled for choice as they enter this year’s space at The Workshop on Lambeth High Street.

The Vauxhall Art Car Boot Fair began in 2004. ‘The original idea was to pick up on the energy and spirit of a wonderful artist’s garden fete event led by Joshua Compston called ‘The Fete Worse than Death’ in 1995,’ Karen tells us. ‘We wanted to re-inject a sense of fun and frivolity into an increasingly commercial London art scene when we started. That has remained our objective and, frankly, it’s always fun and constantly inspiring – some artists like Gavin Turk and Bob & Roberta Smith have been with us since the start, and we welcome about twenty percent of our list fresh every year.’

Karen’s insider suggestions give a great idea of the many important artworks that will be for sale. ‘The Bruce McLean piece for Worton Hall is pretty special as are the Charming Baker live drawings. Art on A Postcard’s Harland Miller print includes a chance to win the original, as does the Billy Childish Mangel Press print.’

The Harland Miller is one of the most exciting opportunities of the day. For £300, collectors will receive a limited-edition postcard size print of ‘Hate’s Outta Date’ and a raffle ticket entered into the draw for the hand-finished original version of the screen print. With the proceeds going to UK based charity Hepatitis C Trust, this is both a fantastic chance for a bargain price artwork and a way to do good for the community. Other charities that are part of this year’s fair include Carney’s Community supported by sales of Barry Reigate’s work and the Grenfell Tower Fund for sales of Richard Strange’s ‘Doctors of Madness’ original tee-shirts.

Karen continues, ‘Marcus Harvey’s boot and ball sculptures are incredible value and brilliantly original additions to anyone’s art collection. If I had the time to go bargain hunting though I would check out all the original paintings and drawings by people like Jake Clarke, Edy Ferguson, Rachel Howard, Colin Self and Camille Phoenix (our youngest artist), plus the Gavin Turk sculpture and the Peter Blake print if you get in the queue early enough!’

For those who have not yet visited the booming art centre of Vauxhall, Sunday will be a great way to get to know the area. Says Karen, ‘Our sponsors roots are in Vauxhall and the area is fast becoming an exciting cultural quarter, with Newport Street Gallery and Beaconsfield Gallery a stone’s throw from our new venue, and Cabinet Gallery and Gasworks just down the road too. Plus we were offered a great new space by U+I – The Workshop London. It’s an old firestation workshop – so it’s great to be mainly under cover for the first time!’

For motor enthusiasts, there will be an amazing limited-edition Astra Sports Tourer painted by Art Car Boot Veteran artist, Kristjana Williams whose ‘sumptuous riffs on old cartography have been a feature at the fair since she launched her studio in 2010,’ states Karen. ‘We wanted to make it very clear that we are in Vauxhall this year as we were at the same venue in Brick Lane for well over a decade – and so we thought a car with a map on the outside would be a good idea. Luckily Kristjana totally understood what we were after and created this extraordinary cityscape full of references to the Vauxhall area and history. It’s best viewed in the real to be able to see all the extraordinary detail and there will be a special print based on the artwork available on the day.’

For those unable to make it on Sunday or who just can’t get enough of the fair, Karen has shared that there will be a second Art Car Boot Fair on the 2nd of September in Folkestone, Kent.

Also on the agenda for the future of VACBF is a search for fresh, new artists. ‘Next year we are heading West and we’re also launching a quest for hidden artists of the UK. When we find them, we’ll be sending a car to fill with their art for the artists to drive into our London event next year where we will unleash their hidden talent into the London art world!’

Any artists interested in getting involved in the fair should note that ‘Participation is by invitation and recommendation most of the time and we always look at pitch ideas that fit in with our central ethos of art, frivolity and serious bargains. It’s free for artists to take part and they take what they make – so no middlemen whatsoever – and all this is very well supported by Vauxhall and the fabulous team there led by Kate Oyler and Dennis Chick – who deserve a credit for supporting the event without seeking to influence it in any way!’

The Vauxhall Art Car Boot Fair will take place this Sunday, 9th July from 12pm – 6pm at The Workshop, 26 Lambeth High Street, SE1 7AG. Entry is priced at £5.

The complete list of artists is:

Sir Peter Blake . Gavin Turk . Mat Collishaw . Geraldine Swayne . Bob & Roberta Smith . Polly Morgan . Rachel Howard . Pam Hogg . Marcus Harvey . Vic Reeves . Kristjana S Williams . Tracey Neuls . Keith Coventry . Ian Dawson. Jane Simpson . Charming Baker . Jessica Voorsanger . Ben Eine . Camille Phoenix . ARTourist with Alice Herrick, Rachel Megawhat & Jeffrey Louis Reed . Nina Fowler . Paul Kindersley . Robert Rubbish . Keeler Tornero . Sophy Rickett . Jason Gibilaro .Misha . Richard Clegg . Barry Reigate . Jake Clarke . Carrie Reichardt . Schoony . Pure Evil . Holly Allan . Christian Furr . Original Sinners with Marie–Teresa Gavazzi, India Roper-Evans & Julia Maddison . Paul Sakoilsky . Trolley . Wilma Johnson . The Binnie Sisters . Renaissance Selfies . Bumble & Earwig . X Ray Fog . Kate Knight . James Joyce . James Unsworth . Amelia Troubridge. Carla Borel . Mr Bingo . Tony Beaver . Laura New . Colin Self . Christopher Baxter . Keeler Tornero . Joseph Gibson .Helen Pritchard . Edy Ferguson .Oliver Guy Watkins . Ivan Black . Darren Coffield . Jessica Albarn . David J Batchelor . Dylan Thomas Book Bus. Wildcat Will . Sophy Rickett . Bip Ling. Stephanie Carlton-Smith. Jessica Wilson . Silvia Ziranek. Cullinan & Richards . Cliff Pearcey . David Fenwick . Marty Thornton . Mark Jones .Kelly-Ann Davitt . Paul Hodgson . Dion Kitson . Meanmail . MLBennetDesign . Bethnal Green Working Mens Club . Charlie Evaristo Boyce .

Special single artists presentations from:

Artlyst . Art on a Postcard with Harland Miller . True Rocks with Bip Ling . House of Fairytales with Ian Dawson. The Idler . Cob Gallery . Moniker with Ben Eine . Insititute of Imagination . Turps Banana & Alumni . Other Criteria & Newport Street Gallery with Helen Beard & Harland Miller . Beaconsfield with Seb Patane. Worton Hall Studios with Bruce McLean .Newport Street Gallery . Alteria Arts with John Isaacs & Jake & Dinos Chapman . Jealous Gallery with Charming Baker. Resort . Flying Leaps with Inkflood’s Robert Clarke and the inimitable Dr D. Outside World. Cultivate with Sean Worrall, Emma Harvey and Quiet British Accent . The Amorist . KIN ART with RYCA & Swifty . Smithson Gallery. L-13 with Billy Childish and MANGeL PrESS


By Annie Carpenter

For more information, visit www.artcarbootfair.com