When Australian painter Marisa Purcell was a child she had a print by 20th-century Queensland artist Vida Lahey on her bedroom wall. “I stared at it all the time, and took regular trips to the gallery to go visit the original,” she tells Broadsheet. “Posters have always been fantastic mementos of an artwork, an exhibition or a gallery.”

Purcell often wondered where her own paintings ended up after they’d been exhibited. Appearing in a gallery is “a huge privilege”, she says, “but … there’s so much more life that could be given to the image”. Increasingly disheartened by the lack of exposure so many of her friends and colleagues were getting due to the “exclusivity” of the art world, she wondered if there was another way to broaden the reach of their works.

“If I was a rock star my work would be on Spotify,” says Purcell. “But, as artists, we are expected to be exclusive. I see how talented many of the artists are around me. They do this incredible work, then it ends up in one person’s house – if they’re lucky – and no one else gets to see it.”

That’s where Artfare Posters – a non-profit collective designed to support established and emerging Australian artists by turning their works into posters – saw a gap in the market.

Each poster is printed on 300-gram art paper and can be purchased unframed or custom-framed through Artfare’s website. They range from $195 to $990 – far cheaper than the cost of the original artworks – with 80 per cent of proceeds going to the artist, and 20 per cent split between marketing costs and a grant scheme.

The posters also feature the artists’ and galleries’ names. “We want to be inclusive, and we want it to be win-win for everyone. The posters advertise the artist and the gallery, too.”

Artfare has 16 artists on board so far, including Claudia Damichi, Emily Besser, Margaret Ackland and Adrian Hobbs. Purcell says the number is growing every week. “I’d like to get to 50,” she says. “Slowly, more and more artists are noticing what we are doing and joining us. First and foremost, it’s important that the artists are into it.”

And they’re into it. “Having another artist want to help other artists sell their work and reach a wider audience is rare and wonderful,” says Sydney artist Emily Besser.

The next step for Purcell is reaching people who “don’t necessarily go to galleries but want something cool for their walls”.

“Yes, you can go to Ikea and find something cheaper, but you can also buy a high-quality image by an Australian artist from us unframed and just get the frame from Ikea instead,” says Purcell.

“We want to make art accessible and make it reach a whole new demographic. When I was a student I would have loved to have works like this on my wall.”

artfare.com.au
@artfare_posters