In 2014, The Hepatitis C Trust hosted their first-ever Art on a Postcard auction, intended to be a one-off secret event. However, due to its unpredicted success, they have continued for seven years and raised over a million pounds. The Art on Postcard auctions offer the unique opportunity to purchase handmade mini-masterpieces by leading emerging and established global artists.
Gemme Peppé, founder of Art on a Postcard, tell us,
“We started it because hepatitis C is a very hard disease to fundraise for. The artworks must stand on their own as desirable items regardless of the fact that the money goes to charity. It’s so important that it’s all about the art, we would never ask a celebrity to take part. When you buy artwork from us you know we have thoroughly researched and handpicked the artists.”
Art on a Postcard stands out from other similar ventures due to its astute curatorial eye – each auction features emerging talent on the cusp of greatness. The auctions always spotlight a diverse range of global artists with an impetus on highlighting those potentially excluded from the art world. It’s a simple formula – a postcard-sized piece of paper is sent to the artist to decorate how they wish – that has produced spectacular responses from the highbrow to the humorous. Here are just a few reasons why you should get involved in their upcoming November Winter Auction.
- Art on a Postcard offers the chance to spot emerging artists before they hit the big time.
The auctions are incredibly well researched and unmatched in spotting new talent. Their International Woman’s Day auction in 2019 included works by Antonia Showering, who had just graduated at the time. Her pieces collectively sold for just £825 in 2019, compared to £5800 in 2021 after her solo show at White Cube Gallery. Like Showering, Olivia Sterling is another young female painter who has gone onto greatness after being featured by Art on a Postcard.
Art on a Postcard also confidently platforms artists who have not yet graduated or who have come to the art world from unusual backgrounds. Outsider artist Kojo Marfo, included in the 2020 auction, previously worked as a butcher coming to his art career a little later in life. His August 2021 solo exhibition at JD Malat Gallery sold out almost immediately. Meanwhile, Okiki Akinfe took part in the She Curates Mini Auction before having finished her BA at The Slade.
- You can purchase work by established artists you would not normally see in a Charity Art Auction.
Art on a Postcard is the place to find something unexpected, beyond the obvious names featured in multiple charity art sales. Their auctions have included works by the seminal photographer and filmmaker Larry Clark, renowned for his film Kids and controversial representations of teenage subcultures in America. Another subversive photographer, Catherine Opie has made work for the charity. She is well known for her confrontational portraiture and depictions of the queer community.
Art on a Postcard is consistently aware of the invisible barriers the artworld may present to people of colour. They have had the incredible opportunity to celebrate the work of black British artists such as Claudette Johnson and Hurvin Anderson. Johnson is known for her large-scale drawings of black women and involvement with the BLK Art Group. Meanwhile, Hurvin Anderson was nominated for the Turner Prize in 2017 and recently set a London Auction Record with his Pool Painting selling for more than $10 Million, the fifth most expensive artwork by a living black artist.
You can also snap up work by huge names for enviable prices. During the secret auction, Marina Abramovi?’s piece went for just £600. Paula Rego previously created a piece that also sold at £600, a bargain for an original work by an artist who just had a retrospective at Tate Britain.
- It allows you to step outside the western art framework, with creations from across the globe.
Take an international perspective with Art on a Postcard, browsing works by artists you may not have heard of but certainly, want to know. Two exceptional South African Artists, Phindile Mamba and Ayobola Kekere-Ekun have both recently been platformed by the auction.
- Art on a Postcard deliberately champions the work of women artists.
We are all aware of the gender imbalance in the art world, and Art on a Postcard does its bit to address this. They host an annual International Woman’s Day Auction with works exclusively by wonderful women at the forefront of contemporary art. They have also held a recent mini-auction with curator Mollie E. Barnes of She Curates which featured many emerging female-identifying talents.
- Art on a Postcard is a vital fundraising tool for The Hepatitis C Trust.
Not only do you get to buy a beautiful work by a potentially world-renowned artist, you can also feel really good about yourself! Art on a Postcard is something special for a vital cause, it raises awareness and funds for an illness so often pushed to the side-lines.
This year marks the 20th anniversary of The Hepatitis C Trust’s operations, the national charity for people with hepatitis C that created Art on a Postcard. It is a patient-led and patient-run organisation; most of its board, staff, and volunteers have had hepatitis C themselves. It is committed to eliminating hepatitis C in the UK by 2030, and its strategy is based on pillars of better prevention, increased diagnosis, and treatment for all. Art on a Postcard is an essential part of the Trust, without which they would not have already made such an enormous difference.