• Fair Trader

Discover Art Rabble!

This is an unusual blog post for us, as this new social enterprise is not currently available in the shop (we’re working on that!) Art Rabble is a start-up, focused upon enabling artists with disabilities to sell their work on an international platform, on their terms, at their own pace. Set up by Lisa Lim, sister of one of our board members, Art Rabble represents just under twenty artists, sells tens of pieces of framed artwork and strives to make people think differently about how they choose artwork for their homes. We sat down with Lisa to learn more.

Where did the idea for Art Rabble come from?

We had just finished an extension on our house and I wanted to find artwork that was a bit different but still affordable. I wanted to find something that spoke to me, that was inspiring and unexpected. I trawled the usual websites and high street shops and found a lot of art that would look beautiful but it just didn’t have the ‘heart’ that I was looking for. Then I stumbled across a lady called Taz Fawley, who has Down’s Syndrome, and is a sensational artist. We have a son with Down’s Syndrome so her story, her success, touched a real nerve. We bought one of Taz’s prints and that was it really. I thought, who else is out there? Which other artists are being overlooked – and how can I find them?!

Can you tell us about your artists?

Our artists are amazing. I accept I may be a little biased but their stories, their lives and the art they produce are beyond inspiring. Everyone’s experience of disability is different but every artist I represent has had to overcome challenges. This may be because they suffer recurring bouts of ill-health, they have a learning disability or are neuro-divergent. But, ultimately, despite every setback, they are still there, committed to their art, to honing their skills, day after day. That’s the spirit and the ‘heart’ that makes our artists’ work really stand out. When you buy from Art Rabble you know the artist: who they are, how they have struggled and how they triumph every day. These are not sad stories or tales of woe. These are artists who are thrilled to sell their work, who love their art and really want it to be seen and shared.

How are you different from a normal gallery?

We sell framed fine art, giclée prints. Our artists always retain the original artwork. They earn commission on each print sold, receiving 50% of the profit from each sale. We’re also a social enterprise, so our aim is to make a positive social impact, not just turn a profit. We only print to order (which is better for the environment) and we sell internationally but print locally to where the order is placed, to reduce air miles and long delivery chains.

Sophie Wardle with her artwork 'Devil's Chimney'

What is selling well at the moment?

It’s still very early days but Sophie Wardle is attracting a lot of attention. Sophie was diagnosed as having Young Onset Parkinson’s Disease at 38. Art had been her first love and her diagnosis brought this into sharp focus. Her style is fluid, often colourful and always with a good story attached! Clive Mealin, a member of the National Autistic Society art group, has also put together an impressive portfolio. His piece ‘Birds on Oare Marshes’ is selling really well. The colours in the piece and the feeling of space it evokes are really soothing.

Clive Mealin with his artwork 'Birds on Oare Marshes'

What’s next for Art Rabble?

Art Rabble has a long way to go yet! I am always keen to find new artists and love when people get in touch. Usually it’s by email or social media. But I love to chat, so am very happy to pick up the phone. We had a new artist called Suzie Larke come on board in February. Suzie is an established photographer who has herself struggled with mental health. Her pieces try to capture a feeling, an internal state, rather than a moment in time. They are unexpected and raw. I think a lot of people appreciate that honesty and can identify with her struggles.

Now we just need people to visit the website, to get to know our artists and to hang Art Rabble creations in every corner of their homes!

Fair Trader, March 2022

Artwork at top of page: 'Payne's Landscape' by Sophie Wardle

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