The Spring Fair.

The Spring Fair.

The Spring Fair and two most popular artists. By Colin Ruffell.

The Spring Fair is where and when the professional art, design, furnishing, and gift worlds get together in the middle of England. And the general public don’t know about it.

‘The Secret Centre of the Universe for the Art World’

If you have read my occasional newsletters posted elsewhere you may recall that about this time every year something big and important happens in the art business world.

And yet for many of my readers it is a puzzle. It is the annual Spring Fair!

“Spring Fair ?” they say, “never heard of it!”

The Spring Fair is a very well kept secret! It is a secret because the Spring Fair is a trade only show and the general public are not admitted.

It is actually a huge event that takes over the whole of the vast National Exhibition Centre [NEC] in Birmingham, UK for a week.

Nothing else is as big.

The Spring Fair is a trade only show where artists can rub shoulders with dealers, gallery owners, interior designers, other professional artists, potential licensors, the Fine Art Trade Guild, publishers, department store buyers, and a worldwide audience of people who might just want to give you lots of money.

It is so big because it doesn’t just exhibit art. It also shows furnishings, jewellery, tableware, greetings cards, gifts etc. There are over 5000 exhibitors.

It has been going for a million years [slight exaggeration … it was opened by the Queen in 1976] and I have exhibited there from the very first show right up to the present day.

Previously I have had my own stand, or I shared a stand with other artists. In past years I have given seminars to invited audiences and I have demonstrated my painting techniques live on the stand.

For the last couple of years I have been happy to be included on international art publishers stands as one of their artists. I willingly let them pay the staggering upfront costs and do all the work.

I know that the publishers are going to be showing some of our new work to important wholesale buyers with very deep pockets.

[“93% of the 64,000+ visitors who attend Spring Fair have direct purchasing responsibility. And last year £2.4bn was spent as a direct result.” Spring Fair website]

Nowadays my annual visit to the NEC is a tiring, exciting, one-day affair to meet my various publishers and pick up their latest trade catalogues with my images inside.

This year my daughter Shyama and I are both featured in trade catalogues and on the Art Group stand. We are listed as their ‘most popular artists’.

The Spring Fair is a chance for us to meet up with old pals and check out the latest trends and ideas.

So, if you are reading this and you are registered in the art business, maybe we could bump into each other.

But if you are an art collector or an art lover, then we wont because you cannot go there.

Of course you can always see examples of our available work in Skylark Galleries, or here on this website. Phew!


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