Moniker Art Fair returns for its sixth year, on October 15–18 at the Old Truman Brewery, having firmly established itself as London’s premiere event for contemporary art with its roots embedded in urban culture.
Building on the foundations of five years experience and it’s continued success, Moniker Art Fair will be again venue-sharing with London’s leading artist-led fair, The Other Art Fair, in what will be a showcase of independent and established talent all under one roof in East London’s iconic Old Truman Brewery.
This exciting spectacle will attract 14,000-plus visitors to the capital’s East End, forming one of the major satellite events of London’s Art Week when 60,000 visitors descend on the city to form an unparalleled international art audience. The partnership emphasises both fairs formidable reputations for showcasing artists operating under the radar of the traditional art establishment. Over a period of four days and across 21,000 sq. feet in The Old Truman Brewery’s impressive interior, this compelling combination promises to generate much interest and exposure this coming October.
BM - Why did you decide to start an art fair?
FS - The fair was started out of frustration.
I was running a gallery and representing several artists within the street art genre with great success. The artists I worked with had strong primary and secondary markets and I was keen to secure wider exposure for them but found it difficult to break into the UK art fair circuit. So in keeping with the ‘do-it-yourself’ street art ethos, I decided to form my own fair focusing on street art and its related subcultures.
BM - Does the name Moniker refer to the use of pseudonyms by many street artists?
FS – Yes. I was working with friend and artist Felix Berube (AKA Labrona), a Canadian freight train painter who told me all about Moniker Culture and the Hobos of America. I registered ‘Moniker Projects’ as a domain name before I even thought of the fair I think.
BM - What sets Moniker apart from all the other art fairs that are so ubiquitous this time of year?
FS – We’ve established ourselves as London’s premiere event for contemporary art with its roots embedded in urban culture. This is what ties the fair together and we have firmly put East London back on the art fair map in doing so. We’re an unpretentious fair, accessible and unpretentious. You won’t find many obscure pictures on white walls with gallery assistants glaring at you at our fair. Every day is fun, we are known for generating a friendly unintimidating art buying atmosphere. It’s become one of the highlights of London’s Art Week for many people.
BM - You have decided to accept Bitcoins this year, why is this?
FS – A mixture of reasons. I met several people from the Bitcoin community this year who really sold the benefits of the digital currency to me. Plus they were genuinely nice people who welcome social change. I wanted to know more about the decentralised system so decided to curate a 50ft Bitcoin inspired installation that will integrate artworks by Ben Eine, Schooney and Toonpunk. Bitcoin will be accepted as valid tender throughout the fair, not necessarily because we believe Bitcoin will our saviour(!), but exploring possible alternatives to the current financial system is a good thing.
BM - How do you select the Moniker-represented artists?
FS – Initially I like their art and then I like them. Sometimes it happens the other way around, I like the artist and begin to understand their work and their paintings may grow more and more on me.
BM - Which are the most exciting artists that we should look out for at this years fair?
FS – I’m looking forward to seeing work by SA artist Kilmany-Jo Liversage, Betz from Etam Cru, French Street artist Bom.k who debuts at the fair and Apolo Torres. Legendary Bristol stencil artist Nick Walker will be exhibiting his brand new ‘smoke series’ body of work in the Art of Patron space along side multidisciplinary artist Lauren Baker. The Renaissance is Now installation is going to be off the wall.