RCA Secret 2016


It’s been awhile since I last blogged, largely because life is so busy with work and beyond that when you’re creating, you don’t necessarily want to share your creations straight away. I may not post on here terribly regularly but you can find me on a plethora of social media including Twitter, Facebook, periscope (I’ve just started to use) and others.

So I apologise but I shall try to update you on what I have created since I was last around on here.

I’m posting now, as its the point in the year that I contribute to RCA Secret and take a ride on its whirlwind. Its been an interesting time for me despite the shortened hand in deadline this year of just three weeks instead of six. I had a little bit of blank page syndrome moment when I got the official postcards and it did take awhile to get going with the sketching. I’m not the strictest of sketchbook keepers but I often jot down ideas from random conversations or weird phrases that have popped up as they can sometimes suggest unusual images to me.


I also have a big collection of referral images that I tend to look at each year . Some years I am topical with my image choices and other times I am a little surreal or humorous. This year was trickier.

One of the cards was designed just after I heard of the passing of David Bowie, a contributor and sponsor of RCA Secret on one of the first years I took part. He was a big inspiration to me as an artist, musician and a character so I decided to give my own salute to him in postcard form.

This was a direct to postcard drawing and was not pre-sketched before hand. I don’t tend to reproduce drawings exactly the same every time so I normally go with my first version in a lot of cases which makes them more unique.


I’ve been very lucky with this image.

Its been featured in multiple areas of the media and I was very honoured that it appeared in Creative Review within an article on the postcard auction. I’ve also heard since the auction started this may have sold in the first 50 postcards that went on Sunday 10 April. I am curious to find out who may have snapped this up as its always nice to know.

This is my second postcard. It’s another quick sketch but seems to be a theme that I’ve accidentally fallen into doing if you look at some of previous postcards. Its a pen and ink style piece which was always safely destined for the London RCA Secret rather than RCA Secret Dubai.


The third postcard is a little more basic but I still like it’s simplicity.My third piece went to the RCA Secret Dubai auction and was quite different to the other two. It was one of my knitted monster brooches and I thought this might be more appropriate.


It’s a salute to the crafting side of my artwork and I really like making them when I have the chance to. They are all different in their own way and evolve as I’m making them. They have also been available in the past at the Barbican’s winter fair and can be purchased via my etsy page.

As usual I took the opportunity to attend the Artist Thank You Party and had a good look at all the contributions from this year and even did a little periscope stint for the first time which you can see here via instagram:

This from my periscope at the @rcasecret thank you party part 1

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Part 2 of @rcasecret thank you party

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Part 3 of @rcasecret thank you party

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The crazy busy-ness once everyone starts to arrive at @rcasecret

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@rcasecret party in slow mo

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Here are the postcards in situ:

This year felt a little different to previous RCA Secret’s, not sure if it was because the hand in for postcards was shorter, the venue was back to being the Kensington site or just how I feel generally as an artist and what I want to do to make my work progress. I think maybe its finally getting a glimpse of publicity this year means that I want to try and make the most it. So, this year I’m hoping I can carry the momentum and maybe try to add some more projects to my portfolio even if this means more postcard auction events or similar. Please feel free to approach me if you like my work.


Like every year themes occur, I’ve not known whether this is accidental or whether a few of those contributing discuss and plan between them what they will design as a collective. There were clearly some themes that were popular for an obvious reason, the first being David Bowie related and the second which is always popular, skulls.


As I didn’t write about RCA Secret last year, I thought I’d share my contributions for last year:

The first three were contributions to RCA Secret (London) and the knitted monster was featured at RCA Secret Dubai.


RCA Secret…….The Return……and 20th Anniversary

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Its that time……..RCA Secret 2014 has just concluded and I’ve had the honour of participating once more among the hoipaloi of the art world………both the famed and those wanting to be discovered…………its been a hard one for me this year……….I’ve had a lot happening and I wasn’t finding inspiration that easy when it came to making my postcards……………that’s part of the jeopardy of having to do my art work part time rather than being able to dedicated my time to it fully – got to be able to pay those all important bills. But anywho, that’s a distraction from what this post is all about………..I had 3 postcards in this year’s auction and the ideas for what I created came very late to the sketchbooks………a little surreal-ness, a mysterious masked figure and a trendy unicorn with a little twist.

Here are a few of the work in progress shots for the pieces……..I will be honest, I don’t always follow the same sketching style when I start off…….some of the time its done in basic, single colour drafts and other times I go straight to pen and ink……Its an instinctive thing and depends on what I’m in a particular mood for

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Some of the finished products were barely altered from the original sketches and were left as slightly minimal pieces; apart from the collage piece of the corseted man and horses.

I love getting to take part in this event………..its a strange experience and sometimes chaotic,  making the final postcards, waiting for confirmation your cards have been received, all in a month and a bit. Followed by the press coverage, artists thank you party and the dedicated, camping buyers.

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Be sure to look at the full site for RCA Secret 2014  at http://www.rca.ac.uk/secret


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The official link for my postcards is here –  http://home.secret.rca.ac.uk/netpub/server.np?find&site=RCA_Secret_2014&field=Document%20Title&op=matches&value=AA6953&sorton=Ref&catalog=catalog&template=aresults.np



RCA Secret …..the grande reveal……

Welcome back to the update………. after the hullabaloo of the build up, tease and crazy queues in tents at RCA comes the grande reveal of the artists involved with RCA Secret 2013. It was an amazing event again and has had great coverage as always. I’ve been lucky this year and my cards were really well placed compared with other years. Here are some of the prep sketches, final postcards and press shots……enjoy and thank you for one of my buyers for contacting me, its always great to hear from those buying your work especially when they like the piece…..with RCA Secret we only know whats happened with the postcard if buyers choose to contact the artist. I’m sure I’m not the only one who gets curious about where the postcards new homes will be and twitter is helping more this year at linking buyers and artists up.

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Press from RCA Secret can be found here:



RCA Secret ….the return

Well, as you may or may not be aware this week (15th March) is the start of the RCA Secret Postcard Auction, it took a little pause and has been resited to the new RCA Dyson Building over in Battersea. It is also apparently celebrating its 20th Anniversary as a fundraising event for its prospective students and looks to be as busy as ever. Around 1000 artists both famous and unknown are participating and donating their handmade postcards to the auction with a whole bundle of very creatively ecclectic imagery.


I believe this may be my 8th taking part and its suprising to see what else you can discover when you go to see the pieces but always fun to play guess the artist. This year’s deadline felt very short and I felt a little out of rhythm with the normal routine of producing some ideas for final postcards as this was all taking place on a new schedule. So, I tried to think on what I would like to do…….in the past I’ve done at least one ‘homage’ postcard and then a couple of my own style but I’ve slowly filtered out the ‘homage’ postcard as this show/auction  is a great way to also showcase your own work. For as much as we may all earn a little halo for helping out new art talent through the RCA education system by helping to bursary fund such talents, we have to be honest and say that many of us also use this opportunity as gilded listing on our portfolios and CVs. Its fair to say that it does give you some responsibility on what you end up making as part of this beautiful display of mini artworks, your own peacock like dance for the public, buyers and the press……….ultimately and potentially,  your way to glimmer in a sea of paint, pencil and other daubings whilst you are part of the gallery’s wallpaper.

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This year I’ve made three postcards, 2 are hand drawn and the 3rd is mixed media. I cant give too much away at the moment but I can show some sneaky peeks of the pieces and leave you to spot the finished pieces at the RCA Secret show. Now that I’ve seen where my pieces are I’m very pleased with their positioning and am also quite surprised at how amazingly full the gallery space was on Friday at the Artists’ Thank You Party where many of the contributors attended.


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I was also lucky enough to attend the Artists’ Thank You Party with fellow contributor, illustrator and writer, Stevyn Colgan, (http://www.colganology.blogspot.co.uk) where we chatted about the thousands of postcards, played hunt your postcard and took in the big event. Its great to know another contributor and see what they think of the whole thing. Hopefully, you can spot both of our sets of postcards and I’ll reveal them after the auction.

In the meantime, here are some sneak peeks of my pieces

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London Fashion Week pieces and others

As I’ve already mentioned on the update, I have continued my contributions to Amelia’s Magazine, I’ve taken part in quite a few callouts over the last couple of months on and off. I enjoy doing these pieces and I’m still learning what my style might actually be but its enjoyable doing something quite different to my usual pieces. I would love to get the opportunity do more of this illustration and I’m trying to get into freelancing as soon as I have that chance.

These are some of the pieces I’ve produced for Amelia’s Magazine and some of its associated writers, many of these have been music or fashion associated illustrations to accompany articles. These have included singer, Bishi, along with several pieces for London Fashion Week 2013.

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Le Grande Update…….

It always seems to take awhile between creating new sketches, artworks etc and posting them here on the blog…….As its probably true for some of us that are newer to blogging, its trying to get the content right and display your work and I’m still attempting the balance as I go between the creative areas that I use whether its drawing, accessory making, building fascinators etc. So these posts are designed to be one big update to things that I’m doing or have done but not yet posted.

I’ve been doing a fair bundle of things recently including illustrating again for Amelia’s Magazine for London Fashion Week as well as also putting pencil to sketchpad and postcards for RCA Secret 2013 again……..There has been a long gap since the last one and I welcome the chance to take part in it again. This time will be unusual as I actually know a few of the other contributors so that should be fun although it is going to be a little harder to get to this year……Battersea……but a new venue could make for less crowded viewing and more chance to see the details of everyone’s pieces.

I’m also still customising and crafting, finally completing the fascinator I started sometime ago based on embroidery cloth of my mother’s that had not been used so I thought I’d dig it out, embroider it and add a little something to allow it to become a fascinator. I’ll post full update pictures of this piece too. I may even wear it to the RCA Secret thank you party, I will keep you posted either way when it gets its first outting

Bolongaro Trevor Launch

I recently had the opportunity to attend a fashion launch for the first time from Bolongaro Trevor, it was a great surprise when I got this invite and so I thought I should take up the opportunity that fate had decided to deal to me. Bolongaro Trevor is a store that I was already familiar with the fashion store prior to this as I’ve always admired its styling and often wandered past to be inspired by its window displays that would integrate taxidermy and its clothing together.

So, despite being a little lurgied, I was determined to make my way to the launch and I’m really pleased that I did. I’ve been to a few art events such as RCA Secret, normally on the opposite side of the press line but this was a new experience for me……..I’m new to all the etiquette involved with these kind of functions but I would like to take part in more as they remind me of when I used to review plays and gigs. I was a little unfashionably early but welcomed straight away however by the team there as they were getting ready and all were happy to answer any questions I had.

The Broadwick Street store has undergone quite a makeover which reflects the styling that was already given focus in its window displays and it is a great backdrop to its clothing, with wood panels adorned in vintage Victorian style newspaper prints, eccentric taxidermy inc caged ducklings wearing paper hats and skulls of all varieties.

Bolongaro Trevor is the next project from Stuart Trevor and Kait Bolongaro,  the founders and creative inspiration behind ‘All Saints’. They sold ‘All Saints’ in 2005 and from there, two years later they launched Bolongaro Trevor which was a natural progression for them.

Influences I would say are punk, Vivienne Westwood, militaria and a little wink to quirkier aspects of bygone eras. Stuart designs the menswear aspect of the label with Kait creating the women’s pieces. They give two design styles which unite under one DNA which gives them diversity and yet an identifiable themeing to their final pieces. The brand is much loved by the great and good of the arts including Daisy Lowe, Agnes Deyne, Kate Moss, Gwen Stefani, The Who, Kasabian and The Kings of Leon.

Bolongaro Trevor are based in a Victorian Warehouse in Hoxton and still produce a limited and exclusive range, approximately up to 1000 of each design. Each piece has great detailing from things such as detailed beading in items such as the Dolores Sequin Cape (below), to the 3/4 button fastenings on their military style trousers. Prints are also quite a feature of their work, with character print tshirts such as Mr Harry Tee, union jacks and skull designs being a repeated motive which are also seen in many of their accessories such a scarves. Their work is also beautifully tailored with punk influenced tartan dresses and skirts that nod toward Westwood but still have a uniqueness and were one of my favourite pieces on the night. The shaping of these, even on a slightly curvier figure such as my own would be incredibly flattering and could provide a statement piece for any wardrobe as well as a talking point for a special event or daytime wear . They can be both a bold statement if accessorised appropiately with dramatic, chunky jewellery as well as being an confident statement for day wear. I would love to have a piece myself, so I shall start saving my pennies as their clothing is quite aspiring and inspiring for me as a creative person. If I had a wishlist from the pieces I saw that night, I have to be honest, it would be quite long.

They can be found in the best department stores across UK, Europe and the United States. They also have six stores, 4 in London, one in Leeds and another about to open in Birmingham, plus 4 more planned shortly.

pam hogg for lfw

I’m a little lurgied but I’ve chosen to do some updating in the meantime as I have been doing a number of callouts including a couple for Amelia’s Magazine, this time it was for Pam Hogg’s catwalk star studded catwalk show at London Fashion Week. As I may mentioned before, I am now trying to also post work in progress photos of my drawings as I invariably just carry out one main sketchpiece when I’m doing these fashion pieces…….so they are quite spontaneous as a result…….here are the most recent one’s. The finished article along with more photographs of Pam Hogg’s amazing and cheeky future punk catwalk show here: http://www.ameliasmagazine.com/fashion/pam-hogg-london-fashion-week-ss-2013-catwalk-review/2012/09/26/



Vita Gottlieb pre-London Fashion Week

Its been a busy week including on illustrating, I’m often watching out for call outs on twitter and this week has been great for that. I heard about another oppportunity, this time to do something for pre-lfw and the work of Vita Gottlieb. Her work features ruffles, and lot of hand detailing as well as very flowing lines. Here’s my interpretation of one of her outfits, its in coloured pencil, inks, and a little watercolour.

The final article from Amelia Gregory on Vita Gottlieb is here: http://www.ameliasmagazine.com/fashion/vita-gottlieb-london-fashion-week-fashion-fringe-ss-2013-collection-preview-interview/2012/09/10/


Fiona Paxton illustration

Another piece for Amelia’s Magazine, Fiona Paxton, jewellery designer features in a piece this week and I had the pleasure of illustrating for the article…..I’m quite new to this area and so I decided as I started the piece add a collage element to the finished work as my brief was to illustrate her jewellery as if it was being worn. Here is the article http://www.ameliasmagazine.com/fashion/fiona-paxton-london-fashion-week-ss-2013-preview-interview/2012/09/13/ and here are the drawings