Did you know that 60% of art graduates are women, yet in gallery representation, museum collections and exhibitions, the presence of women artists amounts to a maximum of 30%, often far less. To mark its 30th edition, The Other Art Fair is launching a second site dedicated to showcasing women artists. ‘Not 30%’ is part exhibition, part protest against the male dominated art world. And we’re delighted to spot some names who have also featured on the pages of Oh Comely over the years, including illustrator Hattie Stewart and taxidermist Elle Kaye (who tells us about her art in our latest issue). We caught up with the exhibition’s curator, Kate Bryan, to find out more about the line-up of women artists and why it’s so important to support them.
Where did the idea for Not 30% come from? I love The Other Art Fair and have always been a big fan of its democratic, fun attitude to art. When they asked me to curate a section to celebrate their 30th edition and present 30 artists, the numbers spoke for themselves. At best women get only 30% representation in the art world. I am a big champion of women artists and so this was a natural way for me to go.
How did you pick the artists involved? Will their work have a thread of protest running through it? Everyone in Not 30% applied to be in the fair, I then selected them and shaped the format and the idea. There are quite a few of the artists who make work which is explicitly feminist but it’s not a prerequisite. We just wanted to make a statement in a safe space – The Other Art Fair has always been equal and diverse with its artists so it’s a nice position to make this kind of statement together.
What is the highlight of Not 30% for you? The highlight will be the moment when everyone is set up ready, and the doors are just about to open. I can’t wait for that buzz in the air, the artists ready, the art up and the sense of anticipation. It’s a great feeling for lots of people to get behind the same statement.
How do you hope it will inspire other women artists? I hope it makes them feel like we have their back. We are starting to get somewhere in the art world, things are changing, I just want to play my part to hurry things up.
We hear that Femme Fatale will be doing a pop-up tattoo studio, tell us more… Tattoo artist Emily Malice will be tattooing. She’s created a flash sheet of new designs just for the fair. There’s no booking necessary – just turn up and get inked!
Tattoos still often get negative press, has the idea caused any controversy? I think given that the context is the art world where anything goes, it’s a bit easier, but I agree that tattoos are still taboo which is crazy, it’s 2018!
Do you think, perhaps, tattoos are the ultimate form of protest art? I think they can be – take someone passionate, intelligent and with a statement to make. A placard is one thing, a tattoo is next level.
Not 30% is on until 7 October 2018 at The Old College, Old Central St Martins, Southampton Row, London. View the artists here saatchiart.com/30.