Outsider Artists are those who have talent and cultural relevance, but have not necessarily been through a formal art education. In the case of the Impact Art Fair, the artists are those who have struggled with mental or physical ill health, and the fair provides an opportunity for their talents to be viewed in a new light.
Block 336 is a large space, and every inch of it is filled with some incredible works by artists from all walks of life, as well as booths representing collectives and gallery spaces, such as the Bethlem Gallery, which is located in the grounds of Bethlem Royal Hospital, and The Other Side Gallery, which is dedicated to furthering the cause of Outsider Artists.
There’s so much to see that a good hour needs to be set aside to really explore all the stalls and prices are reasonable, so it’s a wonderful place to pick up a one-of-a-kind piece of art and support a good cause. Personally, I would have been very happy to walk away with a painting by Paul Bellingham, who sites Caravaggio and Munch as inspiration, or a gorgeously intricate illustration by Colin Hambrook. Each booth has a huge selection of works on view, as well as a small biography of the artists or group represented. The preview night was full to bursting, and I could already hear sales being rung up.
The Impact Art Fair is organized by Creative Future, a charity set up specifically to support marginalized and disabled artists and writers, with a focus on the power creativity has to engage people in life in a positive way.