Wednesday, November 23, 2011

That's my card


There are 2900 cards to choose from yet you have alighted on one.  It is your favourite card, the one that speaks to you, the one that you could stare at for hours and hours, maybe because it is just so beautiful or maybe because it intrigues you, or makes you laugh, or repulses you.  Whatever way you look at it that card becomes your favourite card.

Then a change happens.  The card is no longer your favourite card it becomes “my card”.  You want to own it, you want it to be yours, in fact you are already thinking in your mind that it is yours because you know it will be for sale at the end of the week’s viewing so why shouldn’t it be yours.

Herein lies the problem.  You begin to fret, you begin to worry.  “If I like this card so much then surely everyone else likes the card just as much as me”. 

When you see the cards in the flesh your card seems to be lit up like a beacon with flashing lights round it.  There may be 100 cards on each wall but your card could be the only one.  Surely everyone else will see the merit, will understand what you have seen in the card?  You almost want to cover up the card, to hack into the website and delete the card so that no-one else sees it.  At the exhibition you keep returning to your card to check it’s still there, to make sure you’ve got the number right, to see whether anyone else appreciates its merit.

So if other people like it just as much as you then they will buy it and you won’t get it.  So the only solution is to try and win the raffle.  What if you don’t win the raffle? Well then you will have to queue for as long as possible to maximise your chances of getting your card.

So that’s what you do.  You queue.  You queue for an obscene, ridiculous time that in no way reflects the realistic material value of the card.  Friends and family think you are insane, certifiable, for queuing that long for a postcard.

You keep your love of the card furtively secret to those around you in the queue.  You may discuss with them cards that you like, artists that you admire but you keep your card very close to your chest.  If someone else mentions your card, even in passing, you have heart palpitations thinking they might buy it before you. 

And then you get into the room with the tills and this is your first chance to see whether your card is sold.  If it is, heartbreak.  If it isn’t then panic – there are still 50 people ahead of you yet to buy.  That’s 200 cards.  Surely they must all be after the same card that you are after.  Sometimes your card is sold, again heartbreak, disappointment, frustration.  Maybe just maybe it isn’t sold, it’s yours.  You are the king.  You have brought your queen home.  She will be lovingly framed and displayed at home and every time you look at that card you will be reminded of the hours of effort you put in to get her.  That card and you will always have a shared history, a tale of your own small human endeavour.

Leading up to the sale a few words of encouragement.  People do not have the same taste as you.  I guarantee that.  Your favourite card will not be the same as other people’s favourites.  Just as you will be religiously protecting the identity of your card they will have a different card that speaks to them in just the same way as your card speaks to you. 

Secondly even if you miss out don’t panic.  You can find out from the rca website which artist was responsible for your card.  Contact them, tell them your story.  I’m sure they will be delighted to hear from you - who doesn’t like to hear that their work is appreciated.  And maybe you will be able to buy a work from them or their gallery that you love equally as much.  It may not be “your card”, it may not have the history of endeavour that “your card” has but you will still look at it on the wall and be reminded of the year that you queued for “your card”.

So what is “my card” for this year, well that would be telling wouldn’t it.  And I’m not ready to share that yet, even with you.

3 comments:

bunny mazhari said...

I would feel so honoured if anyone felt like this about one of my cards. Sadly I hardly ever get feedback even though I leave my Email address for anyone who wants it. Most artists would love to hear from those who fall in love with their cards, but then again maybe once they find out it isn't by a 'big name' the shine dulls a little? I hope not.

Chris Jones said...

Ha ha - great piece of writing. Yup - know exactly what you are talking about and have been through exactly the same emotions.
Thinking back on postcard shows before the raffle - I was always more relaxed talking to people behind me in the queue than those in front of me!

Rizwan Ali said...

I agree with bunny its very hard when you are lost,then its very hard to get back through the cards.
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