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It's palpable; it's red hot; and you can literally taste it, in the air. What is probably the most important week for the London art market in recent years is nearly here, and everyone, but everyone, is watching.

Is London still 'doing it' as a centre point in the global Art Market, is the London market solid, what are the galleries bringing, and will business be done? All these questions and more will be answered in the coming days, and from what we can tell, it's going to be a total round-house arts mash up. So get your big boy pants on New York, because here-comes-London!


Ahead of the main events, we had the opportunity to sit down with one Tina Ziegler, C.E.O. of Moniker Art Fair which is staged at the Old Truman Brewery in London's East End, between the 5th and 8th of October. Tina was one of the founding members of the Moniker Art Fair team, starting out as fair co-ordinator and rising through the ranks of the fair to fair director, and after her buyout last year, she is now the C.E.O. of Moniker Art Fair and runs a very tight ship, as she puts it.

aTina Ziegler minTina Ziegler @ Moniker Art Fair 2016

Originally from Santa Barbara, California, Ziegler moved to Washington in 2003 and successfully curated her first exhibition in a warehouse loft. In 2004 with a desire to travel, she moved to Barcelona, Spain to attend the private design institute, IED. From 2004 to 2009, Ziegler curated and produced fashion and art events in Barcelona. In 2009 with a degree in Marketing and Communication she was recruited as head curator and gallery manager for London Miles Gallery in London, Uk.

In speaking with Tina, we wanted to try and get to the core of what it's like staging an event in this, one of the most important weeks of the year for the Art market, but as importantly, staging an event whereby she is stepping up in scale, from hosting 25 exhibitors to 42. That becomes a big repsonsibility for any fair organiser, and one which she seems to be taking in her stride.

This is the 8th edition of Moniker Art Fair, a fair known for its urban approach to contemporary art, and to start with, Tina has put together one of the most interesting and diverse programme of events we've seen listed on any fair website, which kicks off with a guided tour of the fair with Ziegler on the collectors preview day. You can really tell that an awful lot of work has gone into rounding this schedule to perfection in line with the theme of the event. In fact, everything about this show seems to be curated with a focus on engaging with visitors and drawing them into the atmosphere of a concentrated urban art event, and in turn, celebrating that which is urban art, and urban culture. 

PLRBMoniker Art Fair 2016

We asked Tina a few questions:

What goes into staging a fair like Moniker? Try and name as many facets as possible.

It’s a multi-faceted endeavour as you might imagine, largely because in contrast to the shall we say more ‘elite-facing’ fairs, we’re asking not only serious collectors, but also the general public to visit Moniker.  So you’re catering for a lot of tastes at once, and that means providing a curated experience that has enough to hold the interest of people who are arriving with a huge knowledge already, but also to arouse the interest of people who may have never considered buying a piece of urban art, or art at all.

The curatorial concept in itself is a huge one, and then, you’re faced with turning that into a reality. Urban and new contemporary artists tend to think big if they have space to create within, so you’re working hard to provide the infrastructure and logistic competencies that allow them to get everything together and their pieces worked up in the very small amount of time between getting into the premises and opening the doors. And you’re doing this alongside the usual flurry of activity, which this year is 42 stands, 8 installations and everything else that we build for the fair. It's not easy, and coming up for air, is sometimes not an option.

What are the ups, what are the downs, what are the near misses? Those moments where problem solving is essential.

You’re constantly juggling the core idea of that year, against who you’ve got exhibiting. So you decide on a theme, and it’s going well, and then three artists you love are available to do something spectacular at the fair, and it means resetting your head a little.

How does this fit with the rest of the fair? How can you introduce their work to people without a jarring mix of ideas?

It’s important because Moniker has always aimed at, and specifically targets a curated concept and experience. It’s never just been a 'selection' of galleries, which is because urban art itself tends to be a community, and getting that idea over to an audience sells the whole scene as an idea. This helps people to understand how these collaborations have happened and how the genre itself has evolved.

What do you have to balance in the course of the preceding months, how do you make your clients feel comfortable? Try and think of some of those tentative moments where it could go either way.

You obviously want galleries and artists from all over the world, but that means finding both the room and the budget, and the logistics of when they’re available. It’s endlessly back-and-forth, but it’s ultimately worth it to create one cohesive idea that’s executed like a giant work of art in itself. I have to travel quite a bit before the fair, to meet new galleries, get my face known within certain areas of the industry, and keep your eye on the ground as to what may sit well with any given year's curatorial theme. 

Once our exhibitors are actually through the door, they all have their own ideas with the space provided, so you’re tasked with placing, for instance, an installation built around bright light in the same hall as an artist requiring total darkness to achieve the affect they want. We've always pushed to deliver an immersive experience so creating an environment where people can lose themselves in the art is vital. As with most people in this business, you always hope you've done the right thing the right way, but you never really know until those doors are open, and you see, or actually, feel the reaction from visitors. You can’t test how it all comes together until the actual week of setup. So a lot of the work leading up to the fair is understanding what the galleries and artists are going to need, and then figuring out how to work all these visions together to the benefit of collectors and visitors.

Explain what Moniker Art Fair at the Truman Brewery is, at the core, and why that core is so important - the drive behind the fair, why you do what you do?

Right now, within the art world, it seems as if nothing is moving as fast the urban and new contemporary sectors. People are desperate to be a part of the movement that’s built around it, and a huge reason for that is that it’s art that isn’t smothered by elitism. It’s art we can relate to from any background, in the context of modern ideas and international common goals. That’s huge. But while it’s up on the walls of cities, if you want to actually buy any, it’s hidden away in galleries, which a lot of people are still intimidated to walk into. As with all art fairs, they provide natural meeting points, and for those who have loved this scene for 15 years and those who have seen urban art in their local area, Moniker is an opportunity to get properly involved.

That’s addictive, the sense of an idea being shared by so many people at once. I’ve been in love with urban art forever, and this is its biggest, most diverse art fair anywhere that we know of. Moniker has constantly set the pace for the scene and in turn learned a huge amount from the scene’s evolution. There’s nothing quite like it. As a fair director you have to love the job and I really do have an addiction to it. Everyday, there is a new challenge to face, and each year there is more competition. So it’s kind of endless what can be done, but the most important thing to us, is that our patrons enjoy their experience, meet great new people with an interest in the urban art scene, and do business.

Mirror Mirror on the Wall Frank E Hollywood Reload GalleryMirror Mirror on the Wall by Frank E. Hollywood - Priced in the Region of £7-8000.00 - Reload Gallery, Moniker Art Fair

Having been involved in the art market since aged 11, and in the news industry for the past six or so years, you have a feel for whether or not there is real in-depth passion for what an industry member does, and the conversation with Tina just seemed that way. She has a deep rooted dedication for the specific genre in which she holds true to, and this was confirmed with conversations with exhibtors at this year's forthcoming show. For example, Hobby Limon of TAG Fine Arts said, "We love the fair. The organisers Tina and Olivia do a really good job. They were founders of the organisation and are really proactive."

Oliver Cox of Graffik Gallery seemed to hit the nail on the head in so far as Ziegler's approach is concerned. "Tina is really strict in terms of galleries that don’t cross over and have the same artists, on their stands" he said. "Every stand has a unique set of artists so the whole fair is varied without repetition."

And that's what makes this fair special; it's the attention to detail in the production, and making sure everything you see is unique, individual and that visitors are not laboured with a repetitive experience.

Moniker Art Fair opens on the 5th October 2017 with a collectors preview, and runs through to the 8th.

For additional information, visit the website:

Screen Shot 2017 09 28 at 17.26.03Vanessa Smith | The Cormorant, 2017 | Acrylic on canvas | 60 x 80 cm priced £1400.00 on the stand of TAG Fine Arts

BanksyBanksy at Graffik Gallery in the Moniker Art Fair. Priced at £200,000.00 


With thanks to Moniker Art Fair and their staff for their time.


Other Events Which You May Be Interested In Visiting 

In London Next Week



The Other Art Fair,  5-8th October 2017 @ The Old Truman Brewery

The Other Art Fair returns to East London’s iconic Old Truman Brewery during the capital’s world famous Art Week. A mix of works by artists on the verge of global recognition, appearances from a renowned Guest Artist, interactive performances, free kids’ activities and live music, plus a superb restaurant and bar are guaranteed to provide visitors a unique and immersive experience. Previous Guest Artists include Tracey Emin, Gavin Turk, Martin Parr, Polly Morgan and Ben Eine.

For additional information, visit the website:


BADA Collection, 6-8th October 2017 @ The Lanesborough Hotel

The three-day microfair has been designed to complement and enhance London's existing autumn arts programme which includes PAD London, Frieze Masters and the Battersea Decorative Fair. The curated event will offer visitors the opportunity to meet with 13 of BADA’s leading experts, benefit from their extensive knowledge and browse exceptional items in specialisms including traditional art, ceramics and fine furniture. 


For additional information, visit the website:


Battersea Decorative Fair, 3-8th October 2017 @ The Evolution Marquee, Battersea Park

The format brings together a wide range of decorative antiques and twentieth century design.  Mixed with formal antiques, collectors’ items, art and accessories from the 20th century to the quirky, the formula has proved to be a hit.  Exhibitors are encouraged to display their stock in a room-set fashion.  Using their highly creative skills, the dealers’ stands provide ideas and inspiration for how to display items at home.  Many exhibitors also work as designers to their clients, sourcing stock and advising on display.

For additional information, visit the website:


Goldsmiths’ Fair -  Week two: 3-8th October 2017 @ Goldsmiths' Hall

Organised by the Goldsmiths’ Company, it is a celebration of the best established and emerging British goldsmithing and silversmithing talent – a hub of creativity, design innovation and outstanding craftsmanship. Each year, this unique event draws collectors, design lovers and luxury shoppers to the magnificent Goldsmiths’ Hall where they can browse the latest collections from this handpicked selection of craftsmen and women. 

For additional information, visit the website:


Pavilion of Art and Design - PAD London, 2-8th October 2017 @ Berkeley Square

Set in the vibrant heart of Mayfair, PAD is London’s leading fair for 20th Century art, design and decorative arts. Inspiring a unique spirit of collecting, PAD epitomises how modern art, photography, design, decorative and tribal arts interact to reveal astonishing combinations and create the most individual and staggering interiors. Prominent international galleries from major cities across Europe, North America and Asia come together to offer an exceptional panorama of the most coveted and iconic works available on the market today. PAD is a place to discover and acquire pieces of museum quality with a distinct history. PAD cultivates eclecticism, authenticity and connoisseurship with passion and flair. Its boutique setting is designed to inspire collectors, art consultants, museum experts, interiors specialists, design practitioners and the public alike, making PAD the only event of its kind.

For additional information, visit the website:


Frieze London and Frieze Masters, 5-8th October 2017 @ Regents Park

Frieze London features more than 160 of the world’s leading galleries. View and buy art from over 1,000 of today’s leading artists, and experience the fair’s critically acclaimed Frieze Projects and Talks programmes. Frieze Masters features more than 130 leading modern and historical galleries from around the world, showcasing art from the ancient era and Old Masters to the late 20th century. In addition, there is also a curated outdoor sculpture display set in the grounds of Regents Park which is free to visit.

For additional information, visit the website:


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About the Author

Elliot Lee

Elliot Lee

Elliot Lee founded his antique business in 1994. Having bought his first Antique piece at the tender age of eleven, it has since then been his passion for Antiques, Fine Art, and aesthetically beautif...