RCA Secret is an annual contemporary art exhibition and sale consisting of around 2,500 original postcard-sized artworks, made and donated by professional artists, designers and illustrators, plus up-and-coming students and alumni from the Royal College of Art. The cards are all sold to the public in a huge sale, with every postcard costing just £45, regardless of whether it has been made by a famous name or a young art student.
What’s the Secret? Each postcard is signed on the back, so collectors don’t know the identity of the artist until they have made their purchase. Although it can help to know the difference between a drawing by Tracey Emin and a sketch by Sir Paul Smith, a lot of it is down to pure luck and many collectors don’t realise whose work they have chosen until they hand over their cash on the sale day.
The RCA is grateful to receive enormous support from hundreds of leading international artists and designers who contribute to the event each year. Artists may choose to paint, draw, sketch or even produce a 3-d sculpture as long as it’s postcard-sized.
To date this year’s exhibition has received over 2,000 postcards including artists Grayson Perry, Sir Peter Blake, Tracey Emin, Olafur Eliasson, Jake Chapman, Yoko Ono, Sir Anthony Caro, John Baldessari, Franz West, photographer David Bailey, filmmaker Mike Leigh and animator Nick Park, illustrator Quentin Blake, fashion designers Sir Paul Smith, Manolo Blahnik, Mary Quant, Julien Macdonald and Erdem, architect John Pawson, designers Ron Arad, Sir Ken Adam, Sir James Dyson and Ross Lovegrove.
Potential collectors will be able to view all the postcards in person at the RCA in London or on-line at www.rca.ac.uk/secret from 12 November. All postcards go up for sale for one day only on Saturday 20 November at the RCA. Postcards can only be bought on a first come, first served basis, with no sealed bids or reservations in advance. There will also be a raffle for collectors to win a position in the first fifty places in the queue.
As well as being a fundraiser for the Fine Art students at the College, RCA Secret has a loyal following of supporters including regular collectors and art-lovers some of whom have been visiting the show since it began in 1994. It is not only one of the most popular events at the RCA, but has now become an established date in the British art calendar.
As in previous years all monies raised goes to the Royal College of Art Fine Art Student Award Fund. To date, sales of postcards have raised over £1 million, helping hundreds of emerging artists at a formative stage in their careers.
RCA Secret 2010 is sponsored by Stewarts Law LLP.