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The Other Art Fair Recap: Chicago 2021

I went to TOAF.

The Other Art Fair is the perfect name for these pop-up weekend art shows in 6 different cities around the world. They started as an alternative to huge art shows that are dominated by established artists represented by galleries and agents, and instead focus on emerging artists.

Saatchi presents the shows, where most (all?) of the artists also sell their work online, and have grown it to 7 cities since 2011: London, Sydney, Melbourne, Chicago, LA, Dallas, New York.

We walked around for an hour and were able to talk to some artists, take in all the work, and not feel overwhelmed. Plus, there were snacks. And drinks, woot woot!

These were the artists that caught my eye. Despite making them all pose for photos in front of their work, I decided to just post work from their sites to show it off in the best light. (Art fairs tend to look a little “eclectic” and “crowded” and “like a tornado blew through” by the last day.)

Michelle Louis

Michelle Louis makes beautiful abstract paintings on canvas. I was excited to get back home to look up her site to see what else she had, and there’s a lot there. She even keeps the blog part of her site updated, which is so fun to see with artists.

Michelle has her paintings separated into two groupings on her site, but scroll through and you’ll notice smaller groupings/progressions within each set.

Michelle Louis website | Instagram | Saatchi

Robert Rustermier

In a surreal twist, some of my favorite artwork there was by this fella:

Is his work not gorgeous? It took us about a minute to figure out we had both graduated from the RISD Ceramics department the same year – he from the graduate program, and me as an undergrad.

These moments always set me off thinking about how much that must happen in daily life where we walk right past a long lost best friend that we don’t recognize on a city street, etc.

Wax art by Robert Rustermier

Anyway! His art. It is cast wax layers on board, and similar to encaustic, seeing it in real life allows you to appreciate the incredible depth that comes with wax.

Wax art by Robert Rustermier

Robert Rustermier website | Instagram | Saatchi

Xan Padron

Xan Padron is a Spanish photographer living in New York, and his work at the show was a series of compiled photos of people walking past the exact same spot on a wall.

The result is a wonderful sense of time passing, and the movement of people contrasted with the unchanging wall.

I found myself alternating between looking at the details of each person in each little square and enjoying the impact the piece made as a whole.

There’s plenty more on his site, mostly candid urban photos of people, and I especially love the black and whites he takes.

Xan Padron website | Instagram | Saatchi

Emily Shopp

Look at these gorgeous pieces by Emily Shopp! I think she was the last artist I saw at The Other Art Fair, and it was a great way to wrap up our visit.

print by Emily Shopp

All those delicate lines and nature-inspired imagery come together in the most perfect prints. I was blown away by how young she is, yet she’s making this perfectly cohesive body of work.

print by Emily Shopp

Keep an eye on her, fellas.

Emily Shopp website | Instagram | Saatchi

Yang Yang Pan

Feast your eyes on these color explosions- artist Yang Yang Pan’s paintings are floral abstracts that explode in color and light in the most lush, playful way.

Yang Yang Pan artwork

Yang Yang Pan website | Instagram | Saatchi

What do you think? Inspired? I love that rush you get when you go see a bunch of new (to you) artists and actually get to talk to them and really get up close to their work.

Follow my Art and Illustration board on Pinterest.

What do you think?

Written by Joanne Gonzales

Joanne Gonzales has a passion for getting creative. Whether she is making personalized DIY gifts or taking part in larger arts and crafts projects, she puts her all into making new and beautiful things.

She lives with a group of close friends and believes in the natural way of life. Joanne has built an outdoor arts and crafts gallery that overlooks the countryside in her hometown, which is where all of her creations come to life.

Art started off as a hobby, but over time Joanne has mastered her skills and sold some of her favorite pieces. She works full time as a florist and has done for many years. It helps keep her creative juices flowing and she hopes to one day open her own florist shop with a twist.

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