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Q&A with Affordable Art Fair Director, Stephanie Kelly

Ovolo Hotels

  • Tell us a bit about yourself?
    • Originally from New Zealand I have been living abroad for nearly 15 years in France, London, Singapore and Hong Kong has been home for the last 6 years. A culture vulture and numbers nerd I have been lucky enough to combine these skills and be part of a small but passionate team to cement Affordable Art Fair in the hearts of Hong Kong art lovers.


  • What is a typical working day like for you? The most exciting or least interesting parts of your job?
    • I personally think I have one of the best jobs in the world. No day is the same. I could be speaking with galleries about ways to grow their business in Hong Kong or globally, learning from artists about the skill and ideas behind their work, building a family of partners to enhance the fair, selecting diverse artwork to inspire art lovers to become art buyers and of course balancing the budgets!

  • Affordable Art has been in HK for a while now, tell us more about the event and its position within the arts scene here in HK?
    • Affordable Art Fair is the world’s largest art fair organiser with 12 fairs in 9 cities around the world. Our aim is to democratise the art world and make art accessible to all. Hong Kong has a vibrant and dynamic art market and there is a passion for art and thirst for art knowledge. In comparison to other international art markets Hong Kong collecting culture is still developing with many of our visitors are looking to start their art buying journey with only 55% of our visitors owning art compared to 80% in New York and 90% in London. A fun and interactive education programme is important in Hong Kong and this year we expanded our Creative Hub to include artist in action performances alongside M+ Rover, Children Art Studio, artist led and Director led tours. Our larger than life installations also encourage visitors to explore and discover a range of installations.


  • What is #FORARTSSAKE Friday?
    • #ForArtsSake Friday was an evening to raise awareness of the importance of mental wellbeing and the power of art. Artists from around the world performed during the evening to create artwork for our charities and bring visitors closer to the creation process.

  • Tell us about some of the artists that were featured on the night and why Affordable Art worked with them?
    • Our six artists performing were all represented by one of our 119 galleries. Selected to showcase the diversity of art from Wong Ting Fung (Hong Kong) from SWL black and white illustrative style to Natasha Barnes (South Africa) from Turner Barnes explosive abstracts to aerosol artist Jody (United Kingdom) from Art Salon and his intense portraits. Each artist had their own pace and technique from David Hinchliff who could create a dynamic cityscapes within the evening to Gabriel Moreno with his highly detailed illustrative work which takes months to create.


  • What do you think is art’s greatest purpose?
    • Art should make you feel – whether it is a feeling of nostalgia to a previous place or time, happiness and laughter or shock and disgust. Artists are able to express emotions and ideas that the rest of us feel difficult to articulate.