Freelance fossicker – does it for money. If asked.
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The so-called Affordable Art Fair takes place, as usual, in Battersea from 15th – 18th March; so-called as the top end of £4000 is a lot of wonga for us cash-strapped Londoners. Worse still, you have to pay at least £10 even to be allowed entry to the daubs on show!
If you feel like an alternative take on the art scene, head to North London, Stoke Newington to be precise, where a self-proclaimed 'affordable' artist is offering a small but beautifully formed show. And it's free!
I stumbled across artist, Jon Astrop, in the Crypt of St Mary's Church, Upper Street, where he'd set up his wares – an array of brightly-coloured canvases, many with abstract patterns, others showing villages by the sea, and even a re-working of Matisse's 'Pink Nude'.
Not sure how many Islingtonians parted with actual cash this time out, but as he says, you are getting the chance to buy an original artwork at prices no more than £500 and he is open to haggling. He'd warmed up the Crypt by playing some Latin music though, something more retro might have been expected given Astrop's previous incarnation as bass-player in forgotten early eighties New Wave band, Gang of Four. He even admits to co-penning and producing that, er, classic hit 'Touch Me (I Want Your Body)' for Sam Fox, but I'll try not to hold that against him!
Actually, his art is cheery rather than deep (a bit like Ms Fox herself, perhaps?) and I enjoyed being enveloped by the warmth of his vivid paintings, a welcome relief from the grey skies overhead.
So if you're in N16 between Friday 16th and Sunday 18th March, why not head to Edward's Lane, London (just behind the library in Stoke Newington Church Street)? If it's fine, you're well-placed for a stroll in Clissold Park just around the corner – a teensy bit smaller than the park in SW11 maybe, but it has benefited from a recent £9million renovation so should be in spruced-up shape.
I hear the café has gone a bit up-market, but, thankfully, there are oodles of boutiques, delis and (hooray!) non-chain coffee shops along the 73 bus route to tempt you in for a wander or a cuppa. That's more than you can say about a marquee in Battersea!