20 November 2010

RCA Secrets 2010 - Advice For First Timers

Although I have posted about the previous years RCA Secrets on this very blog, today was the first time I actually braved the mammoth queues to try and get myself a postcard.

RCA Secret Postcards at the Royal Academy of Arts 2010

Searching through the internet the day before the sale I found there to be a real lack of information for first timers like myself. I was interested to know what time people generally started queuing and I wanted someone to manage my expectations on how quickly the postcards start to sell out. So I thought before I do a write up of the artists and artworks I purchased, I would write a dedicated blog post describing the morning to hopefully give people a better understanding of the sale.

If you're impatient though photos have been uploaded onto my Flickr account, so if you want a sneak peek as to what I managed to get you can go here.

We got to the Royal College of Art for 5:45am and saw the street next to the RCA full of tents, as we walked down the street it looked like they had stopped. "Great!" we thought, this isn't too bad, unfortunately we then saw a sign saying the queue carries on across the street. There were a lot of overnighters so even getting there earlier wouldn't have progressed our position in the queue that much. Below is a quick diagram showing how long the queue was when we got there, which also shows how many tents there were.

RCA Secrets 2010 - map showing what time we started queuing and how long it took

Even at this unearthly hour on a Saturday morning there was a real buzz in the air, within minutes everyone was chatting to each other . It was great listening to peoples stories on how they had arrived, some had just carried on their Friday night drinking whilst others had woken up early. The time seemed to go by pretty quick and after the tent brigade packed up the queue moved along a fair amount boosting morale. However after 4 hours we were still outside so we were starting to feel the cold even through multiple layers, thankfully it wasn't raining as I could imagine that would make things pretty miserable.

Once inside the RCA we had to queue for another hour before we could see the screens showing which postcards have been sold and which are still available to order. I had a personal list of about 70-80 cards I really liked and i was chuffed to see that about 20% of my postcards were still available. I managed to buy 2 cards which were in my top 20 which was great and I was really happy with my other 2 choices, however other people were less happy as all their cards had gone. Once purchased at the cashiers we went upstairs with an invoice, where RCA staff collected our postcards and brought them over.

Finally receiving the cards after queuing for 5 1/2 hours gave us quite amazing feeling. I can see why the postcards hardly ever pop up for resale as there is such a strong personal experience associated with obtaining the artwork.

For those who just want any postcard from the show I had a look on the RCA Facebook page and there were still 350 cards left of the 2,700 with a minimum queue at 4:15pm. So don't be put off by thinking you have to get there stupidly early before they all sell out.

I guess the big question is would i do it again?


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