Sunday, April 17, 2016

A few thoughts about the new sale process

Now the dust has settled I thought I might set out a few thoughts on the new sale process.

Firstly what worked.  I think having the sale open for longer was a definite winner.  I wasn't convinced about it all at the start but the fact is that more people got to come and see and buy.  I think I was won over when I popped in on the last day of the sale and talked to a mother and daughter who had just bought a card for the daughters bedroom and were so delighted with their purchase.

The one day bun fight just seems so far removed from this.

I think the college were brave to try some different things but some of them didn't work.  The main sale day was far too early.  I think that's the reason the queue was the shortest it's ever been.  There wasn't enough time for people to come to view.  No late night opening before the sale started, only 2 days within which to come.  The fact that the sale was on Sunday morning, with all the transport issues on a Sunday was a really bad idea as well.

To balance the good and the bad I would suggest next year the college open the exhibition earlier, say Monday or Tuesday, have the exhibition and raffle sales on all that week.  Start the sale on the Saturday morning and then keep the sale going for the next 4 or 5 days.

I'm also not convinced that collection day worked.  It felt very flat for me not getting the cards you bought there and then.  There was also no press because there was no opportunity to show pictures of people holding their cards.  Plus it must have been a lot of extra work for the college.

So what about the fewer cards?  I'm not sure why the college decided to send out fewer cards to each artist.  The gallery could easily have housed another 600 to 700 cards as it has in the past.  More cards means more choice and more funds raised.  

So a mixed bag really but I think some of the criticism directed at the college is a little unfair.  They tried something different and it didn't all work but fair play for trying it.  

Wednesday, April 13, 2016

What do you think of the show so far?

Well it looks like only around 300 cards are left from the sale which I think could be said to be a success for the college.  That and the money raised from the raffle must mean that the show has brought in around £90,000.  Not bad at all and hopefully lots of money for future bursaries.  I did feel that the changes didn't all work and will probably post a bit about this when I do my own round up, but once the cards were online and doors opened RCA secret totally worked it's magic on me again.

Still just under 2 days left to go and buy one of the cards remaining which the college have said includes very well known musicians (Damon Albarn maybe?) and other fine artists. 

See you on collection day!

Friday, April 08, 2016

Interview with James R Ford

We caught up with one of the blogs favourite rca secret artists James R Ford for a second interview (the first one was way back in 2011).

You almost missed out on donating cards this year, you must be pleased that is now sorted?

Definitely! I look forward to the cards each year. It’s my chance to give something back and test out ideas in (now) foreign waters. I normally use the cards as a way to experiment with new work.

What's your view on how RCA secret has changed over the years - the sponsorship, the new venue in Dubai etc.

It’s definitely grown and developed, but the core principles remain. I’m unsure of the new delay in collection of the cards - flipping it over and seeing the artist’s name and signature after hours of waiting was part of the experience.

We assume that now you're based in New Zealand you don't have much chance to see the show in the flesh. Will you be logging on in April to look at the cards online?

That’s very true - I haven’t seen it in the flesh in over 7 years! I always have a look at the cards online and try to guess the famous artists. It’s a form of window shopping.

What card or cards that you've done in previous years are you most pleased with?

I’m struggling to remember them all. I liked the ones I did last year - they were simple drawings using pen and colour pencil and were very punny.

How old was Elvis Presley when he died ;) ?
Haha 42! Those cards of mine were from 2 or 3 years ago. An example of an idea for a series of works that has yet to manifest...

Any clues as to this year's donations?

The biggest clue I can give you is that my donations this year could potentially be a multitude of things.

What projects are in the pipeline for you?  Might we see a show in the UK anytime soon?
I showed in a couple of group exhibitions in London last year at/curated by FourFold and Ferreira Projects. I have a solo show coming up in early May in Wellington at The Young gallery. It will feature a suite of new drawings, a ghost full of holes and a text installation.

Thursday, April 07, 2016

Interview with Sarah Kudirka

In advance of the show opening tomorrow we caught up with artist Sarah Kudirka who has a busy week.  You can see Sarah's work in the show but also you can go and see (and buy) her work at the other art fair.

Tell us about your work and influences.  We guess that your current work, given that it starts small scale, is perfect for RCA secret?

I am a painter whose work is about objects, buildings and words. The shapes and edges of ordinary stuff marked by traces of experience, have long held a fascination for me and that's what I make work about. I love cities and architecture and since the city where I live and work. They are about looking up at the sky through the gaps between urban buildings. A simple idea but a compelling project. Having now made over 400 individual images in the series (they look amazing en masse) my intention is to extend the project to other cities.

You've been donating to RCA Secret for some years now. What is it that you like about the show ?

I have contributed cards to the RCA Secret show every year since 2004 [back then I was Sarah Davenport, I was Kudirka Davenport for a while, and now I am called Sarah Kudirka (my husband's family came from Lithuania to east London in the 20s)]. I like the way it is a group show including lots of big name artists, but is kind of sweet and understated. I mean it is put on in an egalitarian way, with each work perching modestly on the neat, long, shallow shelves.

What do you think about the hard-core fans who queue overnight or even for days to buy work at the show ?

I think the hard-core fans who queue for days and camp out to get cards on their wishlist at RCA Secret are great. A little crazy too perhaps, but I admire their dedication. I loved meeting a few recently at The Other Art Fair - such long-standing enthusiasm for the show is wonderful!


Do you like looking round the postcards yourself?  What work appeals to you?

Sorry no, I haven't actually made it along to see the show for a couple of years.

Have you ever bought something or queued ?

I have never queued or bought any myself, but the other day I found a list of the ones (just the numbers) my husband and I liked when we last went to see the show, it read like a secret code.

Do you have a favourite card that you have donated to a previous sale?

I think my favourites are those where the buyer of my card has got in touch with me afterwards, as new collectors of my work. That's probably the best bit for me as an artist. I usually put in something that relates closely to what is in my head and my studio right then. I usually forget to photograph them before I pop them in the post, so I often have no record of what I've sent in (stupidly). So if you get mine this year, do email me a shot of it on your wall please.

Have you got any projects on the go at the moment?  What can we look forward to?

I am painting now, in parallel with my London series, over Polaroids I took in Berlin and I may show there later this year. I would love to be commissioned to work in/on other cities too. I have been asked to make a series in Beirut so that may happen further down the line. I have travelled to some amazing places in the Far East, Australia and the US that I'd love to revisit with my Polaroid, and part of my childhood was spent in Nairobi: there are lots of places on my list for making work!


Monday, April 04, 2016

First 50 raffle after all!

After all the speculation the college confirmed in an email to its mailing list on Friday that the first 50 raffle will happen this year.  Further details have also now been published on the rca secret Facebook page

"And so the First Fifty Raffle returns!!
Come on down on Friday 8 or Saturday 9 and try your luck on the first fifty raffle to be in for a chance of winning a place in Sunday's first fifty sale day queue!
Tickets are priced at £2 each and all proceeds go to providing scholarships and bursaries for future RCA students. Sales are limited to a maximum of 10 tickets per person and payment must be made in cash.
Winners will be notified by 8pm on Saturday 9th and will be required to arrive at 7am for the sale on Sunday 10th April!
Good luck! 🌟🌟🌟🏃🏃🏃"

Sunday, April 03, 2016

Emma paolozzi and theo fennell also contributors

This piece in Luxury London has a slightly different contributor list to others.  Not long to go now!

Mention in the Nigerian guardian here about Yinka Shonibare's involvement