Splash without the cash: Art Licks announce weekend of emerging art in London

By Mark Sheerin | 03 September 2013

Event preview: Art Licks Weekend, various venues, London, October 4-6 2013

Colour film stll which splices together a woman's face and a reflection of the sky in a drinking glass
Ilona Sager, Aphasic materials (2013). Film still© Ilona Sagar
A weekend festival of emerging art should provide an early shot in the arm, and could even inoculate you against the major league shopping sprees due at Frieze. Some 70 galleries line up for the Art Licks Weekend, so it promises to be no less exhaustive than a trip to a marquee in Regents Park.

But organiser Holly Willats is keen to play down any competition with London’s biggest art fair: “I felt like it was a project that, in its own right, deserved its own dedicated time, rather than being at a time when there’s so much happening in London that it might get lost among other things.”

As things stand, visitors to South and East London will be the ones to lose themselves in a rich mix of grassroots exhibitions, marathon performance art and an online component which sees a moving image collage grow from 16 animated components to be uploaded in the run up to the weekend.

And if you already know your way to and from Peckham, then what about Haggerston, Bermondsey, Deptford and Hackney Wick? Although most galleries are within easy reach of the new East London Overground, the festival is still for the adventurous.

Willats, mind you, is neutral when it comes to geography. Peckham may be the well documented success story, but the Art Licks founder says: “I do think there are other places, like Bermondsey and Elephant & Castle, where things are happening."

What all these neighbourhoods have in common, apart from challenging finances, is energy, enterprise and enthusiasm. Sales are not the driving factor, although partner Artquest will be offering the Workweek Prize, in which the best artist and show of the weekend receive a payout.

The event cements Art Licks relations with emerging art scenes in South and East London. It is hard to believe the publishers and tour organisers have only been established three years.

That’s almost enough time for an artist to go from obscurity to blue-chip fame. But you might ask, why would they bother? Thanks to events like this, there is enough excitement for anyone on the fringes of London.

You might also like:

Interview with Sluice Art Fair

Art Licks Tour of Peckham

Our review of Peckham Artist Moving Image Festival

Visit Mark Sheerin’s contemporary art blog and follow him on Twitter.
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