NotFair was founded in 2010 by artists Sam Leach and Tony Lloyd – who then invited writer Ashley Crawford to join their curatorial team – as a satellite event to the Melbourne Art Fair, in order to showcase independent artists who often do not fit the commercial mould and are overlooked and under-recognized. The initial grass roots event has grown into a well-known and popular event on the Australian arts calendar. Now in its 10th year |notfair| has launched many artists into successful careers, while the nature of the event is still unchanged: we do things differently.
NotFair aims to be a low-cost event in order to ensure that the artists can secure a higher percentage of the sale price. This also ensures that |notfair| can continue to take risks, exhibit the unusual and the experimental. The glue that binds this, say the curators, is the choice of artists who carry integrity, talent and devotion to their craft while being unafraid to take risks. Most of our participating artists are independent and are not represented by a commercial gallery. NotFair becomes a stage where artists, dealers, collectors and art lovers find each other and new relationships are formed.
Writing in The Age in 2016, Annabel Ross noted that: “Representing those without gallery representation, NotFair is a platform for emerging and independent artists to exhibit their works. It’s the antithesis of trade art fairs such as the Melbourne Art Fair, dominated by galleries and gallery-backed artists.”
Our venue changes every time: we use vacant, often abandoned spaces like the former Nuttelex factory in Windsor that was transformed into a pop-up museum for our 2017 event. Our 2020 venue will be even more spectacular and more spacious; our 10th anniversary event will be our biggest event yet, enabling more artists to participate.
Two major art awards are connected to the event. The $5,000 non-acquisitive Arkley Award – established in honour of the great Howard Arkley – focusses on talent in painting and photography. The $5,000 non-acquisitive Anne Runhardt Art Award is dedicated to uncover and enable outstanding talent – experimental and thought provoking – deserving of a public profile. All participating artists of NotFair are considered finalists of both awards.
Our entire team consists of volunteers who tirelessly contribute out of love for the arts. We would like to extend our gratitude to all of you who have helped us over the years to make NotFair possible.
It was great to be part of NotFair in 2010. I met a lot of artists who I had never met before and have kept in contact with many of them, it was definitely a positive way to engage with the Melbourne art scene. I hope that NotFair continues as it provides a rare opportunity for emerging and under-represented artists to share their work outside of an institution, amongst peers and in a nurturing environment. It’s a really great opportunity for exposure and I think that will always be relevant despite the changes in the art industry..
Heidi Yardley, 2017
Participating in NotFair allowed me to put my works before a wider audience than I had been able to in the past, from which, many local and interstate opportunities arose. The exposure also led to gallery representation in two states, as well as meeting people who are dedicated to growing the arts in Australia. Winning The Arkley Prize enabled me to buy materials and pay studio rent which was a welcome relief after working from a small desk at home. I hope NotFair continues to offer unrepresented artists exposure to a critical audience. It is a unique opportunity to contribute to the broader artistic dialogue, and expand the careers of participating artists.
Simon Finn, 2017
Darren is a Singapore-born artist living and working in Melbourne/Naarm. He holds a Bachelor of Photography from Photography Studies College and a Master of Contemporary Art from the Victorian College of the Arts. Tanny Tan was a participating artist in NotFair 2021.
Linsey is an artist, witch, and arts worker living on Bundjalung country, northern NSW. Gosper is currently the Community Engagement Officer at the Lismore Regional Gallery, working to service a community devastated by flood. Gosper has held previous positions in Naarm / Melbourne as the Event Producer at PHOTO 2022 and PHOTO 2021 International Festival of Photography, Curator at the Ballarat International Foto Biennale (2021), Curator of Engagement at the Centre for Contemporary Photography (2018 - 2020), and Director of Strange Neighbour gallery and darkroom (2013 - 2019). Gosper was a participating artist in NotFair 2017.
Dutch born, Melbourne based art historian Anne Runhardt graduated with a doctoral degree in art history from the University of Groningen the Netherlands in 1999 with a specialisation in modern and contemporary art. Since then she has pursued a career in the arts in various capacities – mainly within the international auction and gallery circuit – and participated in a myriad of art projects, including numerous exhibitions, extensive travel and book research. Anne has contributed to the advancement of both the visual and performing arts in Melbourne and Amsterdam. She joined the |notfair| board in 2017 and became our chair in 2019.
Michael Landy has been engaged in the financial services industry for the past 37 years. He has been a financier and financial adviser since 1972 and he is the Director of Eagle Financial Solutions in Melbourne. He specialises in capital raising, company reconstructions and problem solving. His management experience includes directorships and management of finance, manufacturing and technology companies. Landy is a Justice of the Peace of Victoria.
Sam Leach is a highly acclaimed contemporary artist living and working in Melbourne. He was granted a Doctorate in Philosophy at the Royal Melbourne Institute of Technology in 2016. As a visual artist he explores the intrinsic relationship between humans and animals and the symbiosis between science and art. He has had numerous solo and group exhibitions in Australia and abroad and his work in represented in prominent private and public collections. A co-founder of NotFair, Sam has curated many exhibitions and has an extensive knowledge of the Australian contemporary art scene. Sam has taken a step back for NotFair 2023, but remains involved in an advisory capacity.
Ashley Crawford is a writer, curator and freelance cultural critic based in Melbourne. He writes regularly on the arts for a variety of magazines and newspapers and is the author of a number of books on Australian and international art including: Dark Gnosis: Religious Imaging in Millennialist America , Transformations: The Work of Sonia Payes, Spray: The Work of Howard Arkley, Wimmera: The Work of Philip Hunter, Gelderland: The Work of Stephen Bush (Sante Fe Museum, USA) and First Life, Xin Dong Cheng (Beijing). He is the former editor of World Art, 21.C and Photofile magazines. He has curated numerous exhibitions including shows for public art organizations He was granted a Doctorate in Philosophy at the University of Melbourne in 2016. Ashley has taken a step back for NotFair 2023, but remains involved in an advisory capacity.
Tony Lloyd is an Australian contemporary artist who shows internationally. His paintings of remote landscapes combine a cinematic sensibility with a dreamlike strangeness. Tony Lloyd completed his Masters degree at RMIT University in 2001 and has since received many recognitions for his work including the John Leslie Art Prize and grants from the Australia Council for the Arts and Arts Victoria. His work is represented in numerous notable public and private collections and has been featured in many publications. An original founder of NotFair, Tony has curated many exhibitions and is a keen observer of the Australian contemporary art scene. Tony has taken a step back for NotFair 2023, but remains involved in an advisory capacity.
Simon Strong is a photomedia based artist, exhibiting solo work and collaborative work with Robert Doble as Doble & Strong. Simon completed a Bachelor of Graphic Design at Swinburne University of Technology and works as a freelance graphic designer, photographer and web developer. Simon specialises in photo and video documentation of artwork and gallery / exhibition spaces.
Elle Zoltak has been a key player in Melbourne’s alternative Art Fair, NotFair, since its founding in 2010. Over the years she has been involved in various roles for the event including Exhibitions Management and Social Media administration. Simultaneously, since 2018, she has also acted as Ambassador for Sydney Contemporary. Zoltak is currently a NotFair Board Member and Gallery Manager and Curator for Compendium Gallery in Armadale.
Katrina Raymond, is a highly experienced communications professional in the visual arts sector.
She has consulted to a range of arts institutions, including the Ian Potter Museum of Art, TarraWarra Museum of Art, McClelland sculpture park + gallery, the Centre of Visual Art (CoVA) at the University of Melbourne and Creative New Zealand for the 59th International Art Exhibition – La Biennale di Venezia. She is a past Chair of Craft Victoria.
Helen Bogdan is a retired International Public Affairs Consultant. She was the principal of a specialized Public Affairs Consultancy based in Melbourne with overseas offices in London and Los Angeles. Bogdan worked with governments, large corporations and was on several boards, including the Royal Women’s Hospital. Bogdan’s creative work included feature films and documentaries as a producer and as a writer. Her media work over the years has been with major international television networks. In retirement Bogdan has an active role in the visual arts and music. She hosts a performance and exhibition artspace in an historic building in Richmond, The Lennox.
Sonia Payes is a highly acclaimed, award winning conceptually-based artist working with photography, multi-media, animation and sculpture. A strong environmental narrative permeates Sonia’s works and the cycle of re-creation is explored in her wildly dystopian landscapes and portraits. Melbourne based Sonia has exhibited in national and international galleries and art fairs and her work is represented in numerous public galleries in Australia and prestigious private collections in Australia, Shanghai, Beijing, Switzerland and Belgium. Publications include: Transformations: The Art of Sonia Payes, by Ashley Crawford and UNTITLED. Portraits of Australian Artists on 60 Australian artists, at the NGV Melbourne.