Wednesday, November 30, 2011

My RCA Secret 2011

Another year, my 12th doing RCA secret. Time really has flown, I certainly remember my first year and the excitement of queuing for a few hours only to find that all the cards on my list had gone, resolving that that would never happen again.
The build up to the sale was perhaps a bit quieter than previous years. In the week leading up to the sale relatively little information had been released about contributors to the sale and, it transpired, that some of the information in the guardian was wrong.

Nevertheless excitement built as the sale got nearer and nearer. When the college first started doing the sale 18 years ago only the nerdiest people would have been on the internet. Now you have all the cards online straight away, you have the college and this blog on facebook and twitter and you have the tools to research your favourite artists at the click of a button. It certainly makes it more of a challenge.

The relative lack of some of the high profile contributors didn't seem to deter the RCA public both on the viewing days and on sale days. Whilst the press tend to concentrate on the big names I'm not sure that is why most people come and buy at RCA secret.

Anyway I went along to the viewing on Sunday with the family and we all bought raffle tickets and some of the new RCA merchandise and spent a good couple of hours looking at the cards. As usual they always look far better in the flesh and by that stage we had spotted a few good uns.

As usual the next few days were spent reviewing the cards and refining lists. Then Friday came and, as usual I packed myself off to the college in the morning to find that usual crowd steadily arriving (or there already – Adam chose to queue for 2 night this year!).

Mark turned up just after me then John (with his stinking hangover) a couple of people further back and Hugh just behind him. The day was spent trading hints, tips and speculation. Isn't that card nice? What an earth do you that card is all about? Do you the artist who painted that card also did this one? Etc etc.

Chucking out time came and six and on to the, not so cold, streets. An anxious few minutes as the raffle was drawn then I got successive texts from my other half to say that both my daughter and she had won the raffle. Happy Days!

A couple of swift ones and a pizza later and then it was settle down for the night and try to sleep. I would have got more had there not been a large group of drunken lads right outside our tents (and nothing to do with the queue) who thought it was hilarious to make as much noise as possible for as long as possible. I think they thought we were protesters "Occupy RCA". Anyway once they realised that no-one would rise to the bait they eventually left.

2 hours later – 4am in the morning and I'm wide awake, unable to sleep. I watched a bit of a film – Closer with Jude Law and Julia Roberts – not a bad movie - and then heard that Mark was up so went to chat to him, counting down the hours.

Eventually the time came to pack away the tents, the raffle winners arrived and we had a nervous hour waiting to go in. First raffle winner out announced with glee that he had 2 Emins, a Perry and the Yoko Ono card – cross those off the list. By the time I got in though I didn't know what the family had picked up.

By the time I got to the room with the screens my list was decimated. Whether they were cards by my favourite artists or my favourite cards most were gone. By the time I got to the front of the queue I was halfway down page two of my list.

But I still got some lovely cards. I won't repeat all of our haul but highlights include:

The Grayson Perry Tiger. I love love love this card. In my opinion the best card he has ever done for RCA secret (and he's done some beauties), so I was chuffed to hear the family had acquired that.

My daughter Carys' favourite – a lovely card by Katia Lom.

My other Daughter's favourite – a card of a beaver driving a tractor by Nick Park.

Our favourite card in the exhibition – a great painting by Freya Douglas-Morris, a student at the college.

One of Graham Crowley's cards, a perennial favourite of all the family.

A fantastic painting by Nicholas Middleton – yes it is a painting although it looks like a photograph.

Both paintings submitted by Elinor Evans – 2 lovely studies of her cats Whiskey and Coke.

So some lovely cards. It was once again a great year and I will see you all again at RCA Secret 2012.

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