LOS ANGELES — After a year's absence, The Other Art Fair is back in action at the Row DTLA for a four-day event presented by Saatchi Art.

The fair, featuring 75 local and international artists, is an alternative art market focused on emerging creatives and building community.

What You Need To Know

  • The Other Art Fair is one of LA’s top alternative art markets, catering to emerging artists and budding collectors

  • Prices start at $100, allowing beginning collectors to participate

  • Local and international artists are on display until June 27, but work remains accessible online at Saatchi Art, the fair’s presenter

  • Artists are on hand at the fair to help create community between collectors, galleries and creatives

Los Angeles-based artist Mary Lai has a background in graphic design and fashion, which now informs her colorful and playful mixed media works. A series of three works each depict 26 Lego-like figures, pop culture icons, one for each letter of the alphabet. 

"[These works] have been inspired by my kids who love Legos, so they have kind of like a Lego character form," Lai said as she set up her work at the fair, which is using the Row's sprawling industrial spaces to facilitate a post-pandemic crowd. 

To encourage young collectors and engagement in the local art scene, prices at The Other Art Fair start at $100, making the work more accessible to budding collectors, and most of the artists are on hand to meet the public.  

Lai explained how the past year had a definite impact on her work, especially the rise in Asian hate crime, which informed one of her pieces on show.

"I thought it was kind of a nice time to try doing Asian representation," Lai said. "So, I did 26 characters (from Miyazki to K-Pop boy band BTS), which are pop icons, to represent the Asian community."

Unlike more exclusive art fairs, which often cater to a spendier crowd, The Other Art Fair is more grassroots, which is why so many developing artists and collectors are drawn to it.

"It's an amazing experience because you meet all these other talented artists, and it's like a community," she said. "But then you also kind of connect with art lovers or collectors, buyers and galleries. So, it's a perfect spot to kind of launch your career as a visual artist."

Fair director Nicole Gorton explained that it's part of The Other Art Fair's mission to nurture diversity in the various mediums represented and in the artist's profile itself.

"Women are not traditionally shown in the same numbers that men are in museums and galleries, so I think since our inception, we've always had at least 50% or better women," Gorton said. "I think this is one of our most diverse years ever, which really is just how we want to be. That's the fabric of the city we're in."

Art markets can weather hard times relatively well, and Gorton noted that this year, there is increased excitement for the fair's return.

"Now people, they want to get out in person; they want to talk to people," she said. "They want to see works up close, the texture, that kind of experience, to just have a fun day out with friends and family." 

For many art collectors who are just starting, getting in on the ground floor and forming relationships with local artists is a must.

"Some other art shows, you don't get to really talk to the artist and why they created [their work]," Lai said. "If anybody wants to come check out my booth and ask me questions about my artwork, I'm happy to share that."

The Other Art Fair runs through June 27.