This year I paid my first visit to the Ruskin Drawing Sale. Feeling something like a cross between the Royal Academy Summer Exhibition and a car-boot sale, this is an annual opportunity for students at the Ruskin to sell works and raise some funds for their degree show, and for art enthusiasts to pick up a piece by up-and-coming young artists.
These photos should hopefully give you a good idea of what it is like; there are drawings pinned all over the walls of the school, up the stairways and on the windowsills, each one being replaced as soon as it is sold by another.
There are no labels, just a tiny price-tag on each item (sometimes this had fallen off, and was to be found on the floor beneath, leading to an amusing guessing game as to which went with which artwork). Despite the name, the works on sale are not exclusively drawings, there are also photographs and painted works, the unifying feature is price, with most works for sale in the region of £15-20, with the highest I saw about £60, and others for less than £5. This results in a very democratic
feel, there’s something for every budget, and it’s presented as suitable for the (ostensibly very small) student budget. The works are varied, but strangely not so varied as one might expect, perhaps because they’re all studying at the same school, there is some sense of many of them being from a family of related artists. It runs for two days, and I have to say that I was left with a slight sense of missing out, in that the works were changing all the time, with new ones being added, so I did feel as if I should make several trips in order to be able to get a real sense of the scope. I didn’t see anything that really jumped out at me, there were some interesting works, and works by artists I’m familiarwith, which always please me, but I came away empty handed, and slightly disappointed.
People were also selling printed T-shirts, cakes, and there was a henna tattoo stall, which gave it a more fun atmosphere. It’s an event well worth visiting if you get the chance, it’s a good opportunity to see behind the closed doors of the art school, and it showcases some very talented young artists.