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Art Forms: An Interview with Affordable Art Fair Director, Vanessa Seis

Vanessa Seis, Affordable Art Fair NYC Fall Fair Director

Vanessa Seis, Affordable Art Fair NYC Fall Fair Director

In the spirit of this week’s Affordable Art Fair in New York City and UGallery’s featured booth, in this edition of Art Forms, we visit with the Affordable Art Fair Director Vanessa Seis.

Vanessa is the newly appointed director of the New York City fair in the fall. Vanessa began her career working in media and music public relations in Cologne, Germany. Upon moving to the U.S. in 2011, she has managed gallery relations, operations and production as part of the Ramsay Fair team since 2012. Vanessa graduated with a German Diplom in Media Management and Economics from Rheinische Fachhochschule Köln.

In this interview, we discuss the exciting things to look out for at this year’s fair, the ways technology has changed the art world, and a few of Vanessa’s favorite UGallery artworks.

This fall there are 67 exhibitors at the Affordable Art Fair in New York City. What’s new this year and is there anything in particular we should be looking out for while at the fair?

This fall, we are particularly excited to be welcoming 26 galleries that are new to this edition. Together with a strong core of returning “family” galleries, these galleries will be bringing an exciting and diverse program that ensures we offer our fun, engaged and sophisticated New York crowd a fresh experience. We have secured amazing programming, and I am especially excited about our Recent Graduate Exhibition and our Limited Edition Print, which is a unique feature to the fall fair. 

The UGallery booth at the 2015 Affordable Art Fair in NYC

The UGallery booth at the 2015 Affordable Art Fair in NYC

UGallery is one of a few, if not the only, online gallery participating in AAF NYC. What does UGallery’s participation mean, and how does it represent the convergence of traditional galleries with the world of art available online? 

We’re thrilled to have UGallery return since their first participation in 2015! We have had a few online galleries exhibit with us in the past, but this season UGallery is only one of two online galleries. As we move into a digital age where art is most accessible online, it is refreshing to have online galleries exhibit with us as we can offer them a physical space to present the great artwork they are already providing online. It also shows that participating in art fairs remains very important as galleries move online and decide to close their brick-and-mortar spaces. 

Sales of artworks under $10,000 is the fastest growing segment in the art market. Why do you think this is, and how do Affordable Art Fair and UGallery contribute to it?  

I think our visitors have realized that the value and quality of a piece of art is not constituted by its price point. Our ceiling price of $10,000 is just a resource for our visitors on a budget, but of all things, art should not be quantified by how many zeros are at the end of the price tag. And visitors are realizing that the quality of art is not scarified because the artwork is reasonably priced.

In what ways has technology changed the way that visual art is appreciated, both in the context of the fair and in general? Do you see this happening across other art forms (dance, literature, music, etc.)?  

The use of digital as an art form has been profound over the last few years. Video and film are becoming more relevant art mediums.

How would you describe your own taste in art? And, if you collect, what do you gravitate towards?   

What appears to be a thread throughout my collection is that every piece has a story. I’m either friends with the artist, or I happened to acquire the piece in a very interesting way. The majority of the pieces in my collection also happen to be works on paper. I’m drawn towards clean compositions and pieces that feel free and adventurous.

If you could have one piece from UGallery, what would you choose? 

I am currently intrigued by the work of Jose H. Alvarenga, since he’ll also be shown at the upcoming fall edition of the Affordable Art Fair NYC. He’s a talented painter and I like how his work is nostalgic, yet humorous. I think “The Astronaut” is my current favorite and I look forward to seeing it at the fair in person.

Special thanks to Vanessa Seis and the Affordable Art Fair! Come visit the UGallery booth 1.0 at the Affordable Art Fair at the Metropolitan Pavilion in New York City from September 14-17. More information.