The Affordable Art Fair in Hampstead is the savvy way to buy original art without breaking the bank – and we can get you in for less

Laura Ivill
Lager Tops by Roy's People

If you, like me, didn’t quite make it to Art Basel in Switzerland or Design Miami in the States this weekend, then a day out at the Affordable Art Fair (AAF) in Hampstead is a great , wallet-friendly alternative. Each year AAF happens all over the world, from Milan to New York, Singapore to Seoul, with prices ranging from £100 to £5,000.

The fair is a bustling exhibition of paintings, prints, photographs and sculpture from 110 galleries, alongside Made in Arts London, which showcases work from some of the UK’s 4,000 fine-art students graduating this summer.

With so much to browse, find something you really love for a particular spot and measure up first. There’s no need to get too hung up on coordinating the colours of the work with your room; the materials, content and style of the art are more important. As interiors stylist Jo Thornhill says: “Try not to be too literal – if you have a green and grey colour scheme, don't feel you must incorporate art in those colours per se; instead, think about the overall style of the room and the way you would like it all to feel.

Edie by Maria Rivans

"If you like the current Memphis interiors trend, for example [1950s kitsch and Pop Art channelled via the 1980s, championed recently by Habitat], bring together a selection of pieces featuring graphic motifs and bold patterns and it should hold together well, regardless of colour.”

This year, it’s great to see a resurgence of traditional technique-based work. “Meticulously created etchings by artists such as Ian Chamberlain use a technique essentially unchanged for over 500 years and demonstrate a real commitment to process,” says AAF director Luci Noel. “We are also noticing a return to painting,” she continues, referencing the Made in Arts showcase. “This year there is a real focus on large-scale painting, with many of the artists exploring how we perceive places, cultures and traditions within modern society.”

High-rollers looking for an investment might have to wait for autumn’s Frieze; here it’s about picking out something that brings joy to your home. And if it’s an artist you think might be on the rise, ask the gallerist whether they have been picked up by significant collectors or collections, how well their work has sold, and if they have won any prizes. “A piece by an artist whose work is already in demand is far more likely to bring you a good return,” Noel says.

Runs until Sunday. Advance tickets from £10 at

Reader Offer

City A.M. readers get two tickets for the price of one on on-the-door prices when they book in advance, using the code CITYART

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