my secret distraction

trawling through some image folders, came across these photographs of the three postcards i made for rca secret 2015.

i made the effort to photograph them at the time, and now i am wondering whatever happened to the postcards. my secret distraction.

did they sell and raise some cash for my old college? i think maybe not, and they have since been resigned to the skip of art. the rca have previously stated few remain unsold after the exhibition [so there are some]. unsold cards are not returned to the artists.


[three secret postcards 2015]

thinking about my cards, wherever they may be: the first three are numerals [3, 6, 9] based on wooden printing blocks, although i flipped the original design. i was influenced by metal signage at the time.

rca secret is all numbers: numbered cards on display, long queues, a secret raffle to select the first fifty buyers through the door, selling cards and raising a lot of money for student fees. then after the sale, matching names with numbers, or numbers to names. my postcard numbers [as discovered on the rca website]: 1724, 1875, 2098.

the number three: everywhere, nearly every day: on a door, in tiny details in photographs, pondering on the red ‘33′ painted on the backrest of my vintage swivel draughtsman’s chair, which was rescued from a skip at the college where i used to work – as this seemed significant – and two threes made six, another red three, and that made nine… i was looking out for three numbers. 1-2-3 may have been a simpler combination, but there was something quite cheery about the rounded shape of the figure nine, and it looked like a lowercase little ‘g’.

the number 33 studio chair has since lost any sense of swivel, so maybe the college skip was the best place for it after all. nevertheless, it’s a moderately pleasing piece of vintage furniture, with black tubular steel legs and a curved, ergonomic wooden seat [with some surprising graffiti], and it’s naturally in a design partnership with my parallel-motion drawing board [that i acquired for free in exchange for a small collage]. there is less need for this type of design studio equipment with computer-aided design, i guess. but i digress… it’s just a ‘high’ chair [but chairs can be lethal, as i discovered while casually reading the times newspaper the other day]


[secret postcard to dubai]

for the fourth postcard, for the rca’s newest fund-raising venture, rca secret dubai, i reclaimed [re-used] the off-cut pieces from the number cards to make a new collaged piece with a more pronounced 3d appearance. the assembled curves and overlapping shapes also appeared to evoke a middle-eastern aesthetic.

my secret postcard to dubai, where some millionaires reside, where the world’s most ambitious buildings are being constructed, where everything looks expensive, shiny, and new… and i was reconfiguring various cut-out scraps of already recycled card into a new mini-artwork for an international fund-raising art event in dubai. seems fair.

rca secret: supporting the next generation of fine artists in their post-graduate studies.


  1. Jazz
    Posted September 18, 2015 at 7:28 pm | Permalink

    can’t resist commenting on my own blog.

    i quite like playing with words & doodling with anagrams [and trying to write poetry, but that's another story]

    the other day, i had a go at the times cryptic crossword [supposedly the most difficult crossword in the entire world], but i didn’t get that far. only solved six clues, then i gave up. the exercise felt like the mental equivalent of taking the stairs …in a high-rise building. with bags of shopping. possibly in dubai.

    i do worry about my mental health sometimes.

    i used to be quite good at cryptic crosswords [well, the one in the daily telegraph - which is not a reflection of my political leanings]

    nevertheless, it’s still a relaxing and pleasantly distracting armchair/sofa activity on autumn evenings.

    i just don’t see how chairs & sitting down can be lethal, when it has been suggested by some scientists that doing puzzles & crosswords can [in theory?] extend one’s life.

    i may need to research the research on this…

  2. Jazz
    Posted September 19, 2015 at 8:05 am | Permalink

    rca secret is heavily promoted in the media on the famous artists who have secretly contributed [it's a good hook] and the value of those works [trophies] among the ‘unknowns’. the long queues, many camping out overnight to be at the front, reflect this conspicuous desire – curiously similar to the buying frenzy after the launch of a new Apple product.

    with 3000 postcards on display in the 2015 exhibition, it must have been a challenge to find the real ’stars’ – but buyers could browse all the cards on the website, making a note of the numbers.

    some of the postcards are sardonic responses to this miniature art world.

    can’t see on the website the selling price of the postcards, but i think that this year it was raised to £55.

  3. Jazz
    Posted September 19, 2015 at 8:14 am | Permalink

    in this regard, there is some social ‘cachet’ in acquiring an artwork by a famous artist for comparatively little money.

    some postcards are later resold on ebay [maybe intentionally bought for that purpose?]

  4. Jazz
    Posted September 19, 2015 at 8:27 am | Permalink

    each year i have contributed to ‘rca secret’ i get a special invitation to the private view, but it’s strictly ‘admits one only’ and the train fare is quite a lot of money to be one of a crowd.

    must be a great evening, all the same.

  5. Monica Danielsson
    Posted October 15, 2015 at 11:20 am | Permalink

    I must thank you for shareing all your fantastic exprimental artwork! I have been following your site for some years now, and it’s always exciting and a source of inspiration to see and read. I am a exprimental artist myself, and like to study different materials. I’m from Sweden, but lives in Norway.
    Have a nice day! MoNica

  6. Jazz
    Posted October 16, 2015 at 9:31 pm | Permalink

    thank you, much appreciated. not sure it’s that ‘fantastic’, just an opportunity to try something out, with the ‘abstract’ collaged piece evolving out of the cutout numerals.