Catching Up With: Affordable Art Fair Director Cristina Salmastrelli

Catching Up With: Affordable Art Fair Director Cristina Salmastrelli


Tell us more about the Affordable Art Fair's mission.

Beyond our mission to democratize art while supporting living artists, we want all our visitors to realize that there is an art lover inside each and every one of them. Art can and will enhance lives! We want to expose our visitors to the world of contemporary art through our educational workshops, panels and tours, in addition to the national and international galleries we bring to each edition.

The more one knows, the better one can appreciate this world of art. The Affordable Art Fair provides a vast portfolio of excellent works waiting for you to fall in love with! Remember, the price tag does not define the beauty, creativity and genius behind the piece.


What are some trends you've noticed with designers and advisors and how they have approached buying work at the fair? How does the fair cater to art advisors and designers?

Designers and advisors need to suffice the needs of their clients and since our city is filled with such a diversity of cultures, the requests do range greatly. What I am noticing though is that designers and advisors like to get as much done at one fair as possible. That is why I need to ensure that artwork representing all corners of the world is present at every edition.

Art fairs can be overwhelming, even for advisors and designers, so I want to cater to them in one way: to ensure quality. When I can ensure quality and originality along with professionalism of the galleries and the artists they represent, it enables art advisors and designers to do their jobs. They are able to find the perfect piece for their clients, in a calm and welcoming environment while never doubting the excellence on view.


What are some of biggest considerations designers have when purchasing art for their clients?

The designer will obviously consider the dimensions, price points, and medium (especially if the client is adverse to some in particular) of a piece before presenting it. If the piece fits within those requirements, the next and BIGGEST consideration should be if this piece makes the client happy. Remember, buying a piece of art is an investment in your happiness!

Another consideration that I think is second (to the client being in love with the piece) is the mood that the artwork emits. Medium and color can significantly affect the overall atmosphere a room should project. Grey is a very calming color, while yellow helps to energize and simulate a room. One should always consider color when placing a work in the home.

If a client asks the designer to consider the financial investment and hopeful turnover profit decades down the road, then this should also be discussed. To us at the Affordable Art Fair, if the piece ends up being a financial windfall, well that is just icing on the cake, isn’t it?


Is the statement piece really replacing the gallery wall? Can designers find art for both at the Affordable Art Fair?

Of course they can find works for both types of walls at the fair! To me, one can never replace the other. It’s like; a lemon cannot replace a salad dressing. One has a bold statement and a single flavor, while the other is complex with each ingredient complimenting and enhancing the other. Both are satisfying as dressings for salads, but in different ways.

The overall placement of a piece or multiple pieces will affect the statement of the room. When you are thinking of what your room is for, i.e. to relax, to entertain, etc., your artwork should support that.

For me, a gallery-style wall screams conversation, so I would put that in a public spot where you can share the stories and messages behind the works freely and easily. While with a statement piece, you are creating one single declaration for the room, an overall message that will stem from that one work. I love statement pieces in dining rooms, especially ones that include food. It could not be sending a clearer message!


Being in New York, wall space is often at a premium. What are some successful ideas you've seen for hanging art in small spaces?

Oh, I must admit, I really enjoy seasonal changes. I am big fan of creating an overall mood or feeling in my apartment depending on the season. I change my pillows, my plates and yes, my art. This is a perfect way to enhance each season and really get your apartment in the spirit of appropriate season, plus it enables you to buy MORE art!


Tell us about your favorite piece of art that you've bought yourself. How does it fit in with the design and style of your apartment?

I go back and forth between photography and works on paper as my favourite mediums. The last piece that I bought was a photograph by Jana Romanova. She did a series on pregnancy called Waiting ( It’s at the bottom of my stairs in my apartment and I smile every time I see it.

Now, I am in need of a work on paper. I have my eye on a drawing that is coming to this fall edition of the Affordable Art Fair that I think I might need to scoop up!


Thanks to Cristina for taking the time to answer our questions, and make sure to check out all of the fantastic art at the Affordable Art Fair this Thursday through Sunday, September 10th to 13th. Send us an email at to get $10 off your ticket!