Fun in the sun at Brixton’s Urban Art Fair

Visitors browse the wide collection on show at the Urban Art Fair in leafy Josephine Avenue
Visitors browse the wide collection on show at the Urban Art Fair in leafy Josephine Avenue

By Sarah Solomon

You couldn’t have asked for better weather to kick-start the twelfth edition of Brixton’s free two day outdoor Urban Art Fair.  Over one hundred and seventy artists took to Josephine Avenue and surrounding Appach Road, Helix Road and Leander Road where the mercury rose to a sweltering 28 degrees Celsius.

Creatives of all ages and backgrounds exhibited their work for sale, from beginners to established artists who regularly showcase their work at Urban Art Fair.

Exhibitors were imaginative with their pitches, with each utilising their environment in a unique way.  With music softly playing from exhibitors’ parked cars, and the smell of delicious food from the international food stalls, this was a relaxed art fair with a very much D.I.Y, makeshift approach, adding to the event’s wide appeal and accessibility.

Urban Art tube train in Windrush Square
ALL CHANGE: This replica Tube train carriage has been moved from Josephine Avenue to Windrush Square


Urban Art Fair 2013 showcased a breadth of creativity in a variety of media including painting, collage, sculpture, photography and screen-printing.  Subject matters ranged from the traditional to the quirky.

Certain artists’ works echoed the great masters of 19th and 20th century painting.  This was particularly apparent when viewing the works of established artists Sue Hoar and Angelique Hartigan.  Hoar’s depictions of fruit were reminiscent to Paul Cezanne’s infamous still lives.  Jackson Pollock’s renowned application of flecks of paint came to mind when viewing Hartigan’s paintings, in which representations of architecture, landscapes and people had an energetic, abstract quality.

Urban Art
Stall holders relax in temperatures up to 28 degrees

Chorlton based, life long artist Robert Jenkin’s work similarly harked back to traditional elements of painting.  Jenkins’ observation of trees, still life studies and nudes gave a nod to cubism.  Compositions were geometric, with rich colours that simultaneously had a grey, washed out appearance, and were further defined with added texture, using materials such as sand.

Portraiture was represented in the fair with the inclusion of expressive chalk pastel studies from new artist and newcomer to the fair Nick Dudding, in addition to founder of Urban Art, portrait painter Tim Sutton.

Districts and boroughs south of the river such as Brixton, Clapham Common and Forest Hill were celebrated by several artists at the fair.

STREET: New this year was the street zone, with graffiti murals painted throughout the weekend

Paul McBride exhibited colourful miniature wood cut outs that resembled animation stills.  Iconic Brixton hang outs including the academy and the Ritzy were highlighted.  Screenprinter Ray Stanbrook displayed a variety of screen-prints illustrating South London.  Illustration artist Lucie Conoley showcased bold and inventive maps of her favourite south London districts, also known as M.I.Ps (Most Important Places).  Conoley’s artworks resembled model towns rising from the maps, with a play on font and illustrative graphic styles.

London was also portrayed in artworks by residents and learners at St Elizabeth’s Centre in Much Hadham, Hertfordshire.  The Drawing Room is a social enterprise that enables individuals with epilepsy and other complex needs to express themselves, develop skills and confidence through art.

Other highlights included works by Martin Langford, whose etchings and engravings are rich in social commentary.   Alternative realities were explored in paintings by Fine Artist Gerard Mortimer.  Luiz Penze opted for some adult humour incorporating Barbie and Ken dolls in plexiglass boxes.

ALL ABOARD: Julian Phethean, from Positive Arts, is joined by Chuka Umunna MP, right

This year Urban Art Fair extended its bill to include a dedicated Street Art area, organised by Positive Arts Director Julian Phethean.  The area consisted of white boards for graffiti artists to create live works over the course of the two days.  A life size London underground tube train was constructed especially for the event and spray painted by several graffiti artists.  The tube train is currently on display in Windrush Square.

Under the supervision of Positive Arts team member Boyd Hill, a small group of pupils of Urban Art Fair charity partner Jubilee Primary School had the opportunity to take part in a stenciling workshop over the weekend.

Urban Art Fair 2013 proved be a great success, allowing artists to sell their art freely and be able to truly interact with art lovers.  We look forward to seeing next year’s edition.


  1. I have to say I have been very dissapointed with the quality of the art at this event. I looked and browsed but once again – as in previous years, faiuled to find anything tempting. I hoipe this improves. OIne thing for sure, the attendance this year was much up on previous years.

    • Have to disagree Mark. I was there and I was suprised at the wide range of art style and sculpture. Much of it worthy of any good gallery. Lots of people seen walking away with art purchases under their arms. Great event. Lovely day. Well done for promoting it BB.

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