The doors have just opened to the 250th RA Summer Exhibition with card publishers ArtPress and Dominic Greyer, owner of Lesser Spotted Images ‘in the frame’ as part of the milestone celebrations.
ArtPress has been working with the Royal Academy since 2013, publishing its everyday and Christmas card collections under licence. But the biggest challenge each year is the Summer Exhibition, which only allows just two weeks from selecting the artworks to printing the greeting cards based on the year’s collection. And the pressure was even more intense this year with increased media coverage around the 250th anniversary celebrations of the Summer Exhibition.
The RA Summer Exhibition, which has been held every year without interruption since 1769, is the largest open submission art exhibition in the world (hanging over 1,200 works by artists) and is curated this year by Grayson Perry CBE RA.
ArtPress has extended its RA collection in this very special year with new publishing from many of the nation’s favourite artists, such as Barbara Rae RA, Mary Fedden RA and JMW Turner RA.
“The cards were launched to great acclaim at PG Live and were literally hot off the press,” says ArtPress director, Linzi Russell-Watson. “There were less than two weeks from selection to print. Within that time, artist permission had to be gained, colour proofs were finalised by comparing the proof to the original artwork on the wall and after final approval from the artist the cards were printed. So literally the cards came from the walls of the RA to the walls of PG Live.”
This year ArtPress also launched an RA wallet containing six cards of two designs with accompanying envelopes featuring a colour wheel by Moses Harris and a watercolour test paper by JMW Turner. “The buyers [at PG Live] absolutely loved it and the orders were whizzing in,” says Linzi.
RA debut for Dominic Greyer, owner of card company Lesser Spotted Images
It pays to check your junk email as Dominic Greyer found out back in January when he very nearly missed an email from the RA committee! “I noticed an email in the junk box with the subject ‘Summer Exhibition 2018’. The committee of the Summer Exhibition, of which Grayson Perry is the head, had been discussing my books and wanted me to submit some work! I submitted two works – Uncouth Road in Rochdale and Cumcum Hill in Hertfordshire – both which were selected! Knowing that Grayson Perry is aware of my work is such a buzz, as is having my prints hung next to David Shrigley and opposite Martin Parr!”
- The Summer Exhibition runs until 19 August at the Royal Academy of Arts
- ArtPress ran a competition at PG Live for those who placed an order with prize being two special tickets to the Summer Exhibition and to partake of a rather fabulous afternoon tea. The lucky winner was Kate Bone of the National Theatre shop.
Pictured at top: Installation View of the Summer Exhibition 2017-Photo © David Parry