I’m going to take a punt and say most Design Satellite readers are fairly confident gallery hoppers, they know how to snatch two canapés at once without looking greedy and which galleries charge for drinks (it’s not just me is it?). Unfortunately, knowing people with this skill set is not always aligned with making sales and reaching new markets with your artwork. Being a master at pretending you don’t care whether your work sells or not gets a little tired when your non-artist friends start buying houses and you’re cleaning the bathroom fan for another rent inspection (again, not just me?). The arts industry knows there’s a disconnect between the general public and galleries, so how can we put art into a context that appeals to the faceless but all powerful ‘general public’ ?
Enter Artist Open House Fremantle with PR dynamo and South Fremantle resident Cathrina Read. Having seen an event in Brighton, England where art was sold from the walls of private homes, modification and expansion of this idea for Fremantle began at her kitchen table with a laptop, an open ear and a rallying cry to her friends in the neighbourhood. Last year’s inaugural AOHF turned over $145,000 in artworks and saw 3000 people through the doors of her and her neighbour’s houses. Not bad for a first time event with just a handful of locals putting the wind in its sails. Now with two walking trails, expanded local business involvement, a stronger emphasis on design and the new addition of the Styled House, AOHF 15 has already captured the hive mind of the ‘general public’ and the insatiable appetite of the homes and interiors market, all peppered with some good ol’ fashioned sticky-beaking. You can always just plant yourself on someones couch or check out their bathroom soap (not just me, I know it!) when the visual stimulation reaches fever pitch. Or walk 2 minutes to the next house. Or stop for coffee at the AOHF headquarters at Ootong and Lincoln. There are 37 artists over 7 houses, all within a few minutes walk from each other, so no need for your joggers, wear your best threads – why not!
Any list of 37 artists is bound to have a few people I’ve photographed in it so I’ve added a few artist’s portraits to today’s feature, so you’ll know who to chat to when you get there. Enjoy!