The Secret is out!

Last year I visited the RCA Secret postcard exhibition for the first time with works created by students of the Royal College of Art mixed in with submissions from a variety of professional artists (this year Tracey Emin as always and Grayson Perry among others) and celebrities (James Dyson, Sir Terence Conran and Nick Park etc.).  Each year 2800 postcards are displayed and the trick is that the artists (who are all known in advance) are associated with each card only after the sale in a mad auction/reveal on the Saturday. 

#230, Valerie Merlo, RCA Secret 2010

#230, Valerie Merlo, RCA Secret 2010

I popped along again last week and following an hour or two of browsing, here are my favourites (and post reveal I can do some background on the artists).

The first card that really caught my eye was this simple reuse of the Royal Mail “Sorry you were out” delivery note by Valerie Merlo

Living in a London flat without a porter (as I do)means that arranging internet deliveries can sometimes be a huge hassle and receiving these notes can often lead to a never ending series of phone calls, missed deliveries and trips to the far flung outposts of delivery companies on days when you need to be doing something else…

#1628, Peter Ra, RCA Secret 2010

#1628, Peter Ra, RCA Secret 2010

Next up is budding paper artist Aaron Stanley (who I am guessing is an RCA student).  Clearly a fan, like me, of the master of paper art; Peter Callesen, but I feel that Aaron still needs a few more years to properly find his feet in mastering this media and making it his own.  If he needs some further inspiration then this blog is not a bad place to start!

Who is Peter Ra? I’m not sure (and neither does the internet) but his colourful postcards in a fantasy comic book style caught my eye – if he is a student then I think he definitely has a future ahead of him in the creative industries if not in fine art. 

I can’t decide if I prefer 1628 or 1769 though…

There were quite a few linocut postcards on display – mostly from students I’m guessing – but the offerings from Edward Hiscock stood out from the crowd both in terms of colour choice and composition.  Some of the others were truly dull in comparison, but don’t take my word for it… what do you think?  Contrast and compare with the attempts of Johanna Melvin, Joe Winkelman and Eley Kishimoto.

#417, Edward Hiscock, RCA Secret 2010

#417, Edward Hiscock, RCA Secret 2010

I also liked theses offerings from Penny Roberts, Gethin Wyn Jones, Martyn Brewster, Fernanda Seles and Teresa Wicksteed.

There were also a couple of artists who submitted a number of cards of varying styles and quality. Having said that I did like at least one of their offerings but it is still quite confusing to me why the others are so poor… Two examples: Gill Robinson (I like 2067) and Alan Kitching (818 … obviously).  I guess there is no accounting for taste!

Just to finish off, here are the rather underwhelming submissions from the artists and celebrities I mentioned in the introduction: Tracey Emin, Grayson Perry, James Dyson, Sir Terence Conran & Nick Park.

I’ve yet to attend the auction day, but maybe next year one of the cards will be so desirable (unlike those celebrity ones!) that I might just have to brave the madness and camp outside the doors for a couple of days to get the one I want!  I might also just have to work out how the auction works…

Note: the embedded links in this post to the RCA are not permanent which is a bit of an annoyance but I’d rather not copy too many of the pages as I think both artists and the college deserve all the referrals and link equity that they can get. However, I might have to return at some point to modify the post…

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8 Responses to The Secret is out!

  1. David Feldman says:

    I purchased 818, so I’m delighted to have you blogging about my new acquisition, even if (provided I understand you correctly) you didn’t care for Kitching’s other efforts!

    • AT says:

      Oooo a fellow RCA fan – nice! And also someone who knows how the auction/sale process works – please share your knowledge and wisdom (and let me know just how mad it is on the Saturday!). And yes, I only liked 818 from Mr. Kitching… 😉

  2. David Feldman says:

    The rest of my family spent the week in London and so could get to the sale. They left me back in New Hampshire to feed the pets and water the plants. So I can’t offer you a first-hand account, but if you have specific questions, I’ll get one of them to post.

    Some people had camped out for nearly a week. My clan waited in the cold for 6 hours (fingers and toes numb). Mom and two daughters each brought along their lists of postcards, and they had my list too. By they time they got in, nothing on mom’s or younger daughter’s lists still remained for sale! From my list, the Kitching, of course, and 883 by Jessica Rayner (perhaps not earth shaking, but delicate in its craftsmanship and unfamiliar of subject). My older daughter also found two postcards, I don’t recall which just now.

    • AT says:

      6 hours… now that is dedication (I won’t even comment on the frankly insane idea of camping out for a week!) and yes, it was a bit nippy on the day! 883 – just had a look; not bad… cant quite make out what the subject is – looks like an infested fruit to me?!? Enlighten us…

      Is it snowing in New Hampshire? and did you get to see any more inspirational stuff while you were in London?!

      • David Feldman says:

        I didn’t get to London, just my womenfolk, but they saw lots
        of theater plus museums, and got to Oxford where my older
        daughter goes to school this year.

        You are too tidy a housekeeper – the long forgotten sprouted potato is a common sight around our kitchen – and the subject of my other postcard.

        No snow to speak of here in New Hampshire. A few flurries one night that didn’t stick. Once we get a real storm, the ground never clears again till spring, so winter really just hasn’t started here, either officially or in spirit. In fact we haven’t had a day cold enough yet to require me to wear anything heavier than a sweater. But I leave in Seacoast NH, I’ll bet the story is colder in the mountains.

  3. thank you for liking my post cards…as an isolated Cornish artist, I am sooo delighted that someone sees my work in London!! you made my day with your comment.

    • AT says:

      And I’m guessing you might be a bit more isolated than normal at the moment what with all the snow that is around? Yupp – I did like your postcards; and would be keen to have a look at anything else you may have produced!? Feel free to post some links here!

  4. Pingback: Boy meets girl | Dead clever

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