Thursday, January 17, 2013

London Art Fair + Dinner at Masala Zone = Winning Combination

Yesterday, my co-worker gave me her private view tickets to the London Art Fair, which I've always wanted to go to. It takes place every year at the Business Design Centre in Islington, which is super convenient for us, since it means a quick bus ride home (hey, I'm selfish on weeknights like that). Featuring over 100 galleries, many of whom I recognized from working in illustrated art publishing, the fair showcased 20th-century modern and contemporary British art in an open "gallery" setting (as pictured above). Even though it was exceptionally crowded when we arrived at 6:30, it was still lovely to be able to dip in and out of each gallery with a glass of champagne (for John) or Macallan whisky (for me - I know, I know) in hand.

I didn't know if photos were allowed and thought that artists and gallery owners would be sensitive to this (though I saw lots of people snapping photos on their phones), but one of the first pieces I happened upon was this gorgeous installment:

If I had a few spare thousand pounds and a large white wall in my non-existent swanky, £2.5 million+ London home to spare, I'd definitely shell out a few pounds for this beautiful, vibrant painting. Unfortunately, I didn't catch the artist's name, so am not able to credit him/her properly here, though would be happy to if someone reading this knows.

Having said that, when I do own my own home (which I hope will be soon!), I would love to spend my money on original artwork for my walls. It's unique, special, and so meaningful to have. In fact, I was particularly taken by Alexander Korzer-Robinson, who makes book sculptures out of old, discarded encyclopedias:

 Not only does his work represent the many dreams of my childhood, but I love the statement behind his craft (which can be read on his website I linked to above). The 2D photos don't do it justice and I've just discovered that he also sells hand cut prints, which are totally affordable at around £100-195. That's what I'll be saving up for on my next payday. 

After browsing the fair for a good hour or two, it was time to search for some food and we headed up Upper Street without much enthusiasm for the myriad of restaurants available to us before hitting Masala Zone, which - despite it being a chain - I'd never tried before.

But OMG, it was DELICIOUS. I ordered the "Regular Thali", which includes your choice of one curry, a poppadom, dal, two chutneys, sag aloo, a potato dish, AND rice. Whew! I'm not sure how John coped with the "Grand Thali", because I felt super full after mine (but that didn't stop me from running for the bus later). The service was possibly the friendliest I've ever had in London chain (not known for smiles around here) and it was just a really fun place to be. Now I think I might be addicted.

I went to bed last night with Alexander Korzer-Robinson's books swirling around in my dreams and my stomach threatening to burst, but just felt so lucky to be living in such a culturally vibrant city.


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