Frieze London


MACE students and I managed to get to the Frieze Art Fair 2012, we all arrived excited and ready to take in all the art. Our tickets only allowed us to have access to the fair for two hours, from 5pm to 7pm. We had the privilege to walk amongst the 5pm VIP guests, I could not tell the difference between who was VIP and who was trying to be. After the first hour I was ready to leave. Despite the headache I had, due to the typical bright lights of the art fair, I managed to stay the whole two hours.


We found the Gagosian Gallery from New York art booth. I was drawn to this painting (above) however, there was no caption and it was hard to tell who was representing the gallery. It was hard find any handout or books on the artist. Fellow Mace Students and I had a strange feeling when we entered Gagosian’s booth. We felt unwanted and unimportant. I got a sense of ‘we know at 5pm to 7pm there will be no real buyers, so we can relax and not make an effort’. Was there no captions for the artwork because they expected us to already know the Gallery and to recognise the artist represented without having to ask.

I was quite surprised to not see many red dots on the captions indicating artwork sold or other coloured dots indicating artwork reserved.


Frieze was my second Art Fair experience, I had the opportunity to work as a volunteer and represented Schoeni Art Gallery, Hong Kong at the Hong Kong Art Fair 2012 in May.  I found that at both Art Fairs there was too much art to see and I found myself swimming through the lanes quickly as a result of lack of interest. I found the gallery representatives unapproachable and at times judgemental, especially when they stare at you as you walk by or took a photo. At the Hong Kong Art Fair we were told to always be alert, helpful, and engage in conversations with visitors, invite them to see all the artwork and meet the gallery owner. This friendly visitor interaction was encouraged throughout the whole day and not only when VIP’s were scheduled in. I did not find this friendly visitor and gallery staff interaction constantly throughout Frieze, but I am not saying that it wasn’t there at all.

Being an amateur and new to London’s Art World it was not easy to recognise the VIPs with the 5pm tickets. In Hong Kong the staff, Gallery staff, Sponsors, Journalist had visible photo identification cards hanging around their necks with different colours indicating who they were. It would of been interesting to see how different the atmosphere was when it was VIP only sessions.

Mace students and I had the privilege to listen to Art Market Analysis Anders Petterson, Founder and Managing Director of ArtTactic, about the Art Market and prepared us for Frieze. After two hours with Petterson we found ourselves ready for the fair, he discussed the politics of Art Fairs, which includes not only the placements of the galleries art booth at the fair but also how the gallery is chosen. It’s all about reputation. For a gallery to be picked for an Art Fair the people who choose the galleries have to consider the reputation of the artists represented and what has the gallery achieved in the art world.

Personally, I find Art Fairs pretentious. It’s about galleries and artist maintaining or boosting their reputation. It’s about art sales, galleries competing each other for sales. Not only does the Artist and Galleries have pressure but the Art Fair organisers have pressure in keeping certain top galleries for the art season. For some of the visitors its about being seen at the art fair and its the time to become an art critic. Despite being considered pretentious Art Fairs are also considered as positive events within the art world. Art fairs give emerging artists and galleries the opportunity to launch their reputation into the prestigious art world. Art fairs bring different art cultures together in one space. It gives people the opportunity to network. Most importantly, they are part of the growing Creative Economy.

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What is prototyping?  Prototyping is when designers, innovators, creators test out their ideas before creating the final product. During the Lean Start-up workshop we used paper prototypes for our Movie-U App. Prototyping is very useful as it allows the creators to find out where their products work well and where they faulty.


Last friday we had the task to create a new ‘Shoe‘ prototype within two hours. One of our creative team mates came up with our shoe before we left the room. Despite our quick thinking team mate, we went out to the public to ‘Crowd Source’.

Crowd Sourcing is important as it allows creators and designers to understand their audience better by asking them questions.

Our creative team asked people about their shoes, what are their favourite kind of shoes, the colours they preferred to wear etc. We decided to narrow our target audience to girls only. We asked the girls if they like wearing heels and how often do they wear heels?

The main questions we focused on was “when you have a night out in heels do you bring flats to change into?” we weren’t surprised that nearly every female we asked said yes. One girls answer was no, she explained that sometimes she walks home bear foot and carries her heels. One girl said it depends what she is wearing then she may or may not bring flats.

Our creative team came up with a Persona. Roxy is in her mid-twenties, she likes to party on the weekends, she works monday to friday, she has a boyfriend, and she likes to spend money on shoes.

We wanted to design a shoe that is comfortable, that has extra padding for certain areas that tend to rub and irritate. We also wanted a shoe that had two main functions, they could be flats or heels. The main problem we came across was with the attachable heel. How will it be attached? Where will it go when the customer de-attach the heels?

We decided it would be convenient if the heel could be stored in the shoe.  We thought we could have it stored in the sole but then we had to create a thicker sole to make room for the heels.

Keep in mind we only had 2 hours and limited resources to do the challenge, this is one of the designs our came up with:


Overall, it was an insightful task but I am not convinced that the team will take this shoe prototype any further.



ImageJeff’s Persona

During our Start-up workshop we were introduced to ‘Jeff’. Jeff had a few problems when it came to watching movies; he did not like to waste time trying to find the right movie to watch, he wanted to make watching movies a social event, and he likes to be surprised. We had 48 hours to come up with an Smartphone App to solve Jeff’s movie problem.


In our Business model we focused on several main problems such as, he wanted to watch movies to match his mood, he did not want to waste time choosing the movie, and he wanted to make watching movies social. Our group came up with the idea that Jeff  will go through a routine procedure and by doing this each time this allows the App to determine Jeff’s mood. Once the App knows the mood of Jeff then it will be able to make movie suggestions. First of all the App would need to know the ‘situation’ if he is alone or with company and where will he be watching the movie. Where Jeff will be watching the movie will determine long or short the movie should be. For example, if Jeff is on public transport the App will suggest shorter movies and perhaps less heavy in content. We came up with the idea that Jeff will rate a series of classic movies relating to each genre, therefore according to the results the App will then suggest movies. We wanted the App to have the function that enables Jeff to connect with others (his friends) who have the App. Once connected the App will suggest movies for the group to watch. There will be a ‘Surprise Me’ option where the App itself will suggest a random movie for Jeff to watch.

In Day 2 we designed our prototype and took it to the streets and tested it on people. We found that people didn’t like all the questions, that it took to long, and they did not like the the idea of being asked the same questions everyday but enjoyed rating the different movies from different genres.

This was our paper prototype for Movie-U App



Other groups in the Start-up workshop came up with innovative ideas and I would not be surprised if in a few years I will see one of those App ideas for sale.

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