Wednesday, November 24, 2010

My rca secret 2010 experience

So remember I said that I have never won the raffle,  well that duck was broken in spectacular fashion.  Of which more later......

As ever the build up to the sale was prefaced with news filtering out from the college about the number of contributors to the exhibition and various new names who had never contributed to the exhibition before were added - including Franz West, Yinka Shonibare, Sir Anthony Caro etc.

We kept our eyes peeled for information from the college on their facebook page and twitter feed and also for any news articles appearing.

The other big news in advance of the sale was that price of the cards had gone up.  Cards were now £45 each rather than £40 (they were £35 when I first started going to the sale).  I still think this represents very good value for money.  Where else can you buy an original work of art for that sum?

There was a heck of a lot of press in advance of the sale this year including a piece on BBC breakfast TV as well as numerous articles in the written press.  Whilst it is of course great to see the college get so much great press there is  always that nagging doubt at the back of the mind that more press equals an even longer queue and more waiting.  But hey ho not much can be done about that.

Anyway after much anticipation the cards were released online on Friday.  I got my first chance to see them in person on Sunday.  Perhaps because the college had been closed the previous day, Saturday, it felt like a queue reunion and I saw loads of old friends there.  I also went with the kids who are now old enough to know what they like and both spent time writing their lists of what numbers they wanted.

So the next few days were spent browsing the cards on the net, and choosing the ones I liked.  Come Friday morning I had a pretty good idea what I ideally wanted and headed down to the college to set up camp.  There I could see that the queue was already over the road from Kensington Gore.  Plus I also saw that I'd managed to beat John (just), Hugh, mark and Chris.  They all turned up shortly thereafter and the rest of the day was spent queueing, looking at the cards and chatting.

John and I also popped over the road to Kensington Gardens to see the Anish Kapoor sculptures.  If you haven't been I can highly recommend it.  The sky mirrors seem to turn the sky into one huge painting and really opens up your eyes to what is around and above you.

On other thing that I should mention - the queue now does not go round the corner but crosses over the street in Kensington Gore due to complaints from local residents.  This was causing a lot of problems for the person right at the end of that part of the queue who had to constantly tell new arrivals that they had not reached the end of the queue but had to cross the road.  Luckily the college were persuaded to put up a sign by us and a bollard and this seemed to stop the problem going forward.  The college also arranged for a security guard to patrol the queue and for portaloos to be installed at the back of the college which was also a real help.  So thanks for that :)

Anyway time came for the college to close its doors and for us all to settle down for the night in the queue.  But before that we had the excitement of the raffle draw.  Would this be the year I got the call?

Well indeed it was.  In fact not only did I get the call but also my daughter as well, who was beside herself with excitement.   I'm not sure which one of us was more elated!  So I stayed with the guys for a little while, lent my tent to someone else in the queue, and headed off home.

Needless to say it was a strange experience being in a warm bed on the night before the sale, instead of wrapped up in a sleeping bag on the street.  Of course I was absolutely delighted to win the raffle but at the same time kinda missed the camaraderie of the queue and the mounting excitement that queueing overnight provides.  Perhaps in sympathy for my queue compadres I woke up wide awake at 3am and couldn't get back to sleep, for thinking about cards and numbers.

So we turned up the following morning and got let into the college at 7am.  All of us milled around in the entrance and were then told that our names would be called and that we were to assemble in order.  Amazingly I was called fifth in the order, which was very exciting and my daughter was 44th.  Having discussed tactics with her beforehand we agreed that if I was higher up the list than her I would buy for her her number 1 choice and favourite card - a drawing of a motorbike that I was fairly sure was by Grayson Perry.  She would then buy one card for me from her list, another card from her sisters list and two from her own.

So in the end I bought the following cards

Tracey Emin:

Grayson Perry:

Peter Jones

Simon Foxall

I was absolutely delighted with these these and really pleased that I had at long last managed to get cards by two artists I have long admired (Emin and Jones) but never been able to get at RCA secret.  People will know from my previous posts that this is the not the first time I have been after a Peter Jones in particular, he is one of my favourite artists.

And my daughter got

Frances Fogg (for her sister)

Peter Savage

Glen Baxter

and this card for me by Ruth Murray:

We haven't been able to find out too much information about the first two of these artists.  Strangely I bought a Frances Fogg card two years ago because I loved it (and it was very different from this one).  So I would love to know more details about Frances if anyone has any out there.  The card by Ruth Murray was absolutely one of my favourites, a beautiful card drawn but a very talented painter.  I wasn't familiar with her work before RCA secret (although I must have seen her college graduation show as I certainly went to the RCA show that year) so it is nice to have a "new" artist to research and to follow their career.

Thanks to the college for a wonderful show and a great experience.  It was splendid to beat my raffle duck and I will see you all again, in the queue, next year.

Let me know your experiences and what you got! xx


Anonymous said...

Congratulations on you haul this year - and for winning on the raffle! I've not had that luck of the draw yet! - Ah - the Lamb - I wanted the one from last year, and had my eye on this one too - you lucky thing!


Anonymous said...

Out of curiosity Perry, if you were #1 in the queue this year, which 4 cards would you have gone for?

pezlow said...

I was pretty much first in the queue - although 5th we all pretty much got called up at the same time. So the answer is not dissimilar to what I actually got. There was no way I was going to go for the Baldessari or the Peter Blakes (although I had worked out what both of them were), I simply didn't like them enough.