Typically, works by celebrated Aussie artists will set you back a pretty penny – well into the thousands. But a new art show is giving punters the chance to pick up pieces by the likes of Ben Quilty, Abdul Abdullah, Clara Adolphs, Jason Phu and Reg Mombassa for just $100. The catch? You won’t know whose work you’re buying until after you’ve bought it – you’ll make your choice based on looks alone.
“I think it speaks to the first reason someone should love an artwork; because they love what it looks like,” David Liston, the Incognito Art Show’s co-founder, tells Broadsheet. “By excluding the name of the artist, it takes the buyer to that first principal: do I like this work for what it is, not for who made it? This gives emerging artists the opportunity to be picked up by a lifelong collector and enables well-known artists to maybe try something a little different.”
The Incognito Art Show has enlisted more than 1500 emerging and established Australian artists – including multiple Archibald and Sulman prize finalists – to create up to three A5 works each for the art show, with funds raised going to Studio A, a Sydney-based not-for-profit that offers professional development to artists with intellectual disabilities. To snag a piece, visit the art show’s website and take note of the works you like. Then, head to Verona Studio 1 in Paddington this Saturday, where works will be available to buy on a first-come, first-served basis.
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While similar charitable initiatives often see artworks auctioned off to raise as much money as possible, Liston – who co-founded the show with artist Laura Jones (who has also created a work for sale) – says the Incognito Art Show’s works have been priced to make them accessible for first-time buyers or those beginning their collections.
“The flat $100 cost lowers the barrier to entry for aspiring art collectors,” he says. “This makes art collecting more accessible for younger people or people without the means to usually buy art. This also delivers a great opportunity for recognition and support for emerging and established artists alike to find a new collector.”
Liston saw a similar concept while living in Dublin – and even bought three artworks for himself – and found that the concept had also been done in Canada, the USA and the UK. “I thought, given Australia’s strong art scene, that it’s certainly something we could do once I moved home – now here we are.”
Visit the Incognito Art Show’s website and note down the numbers of the works you’d like to purchase. Then, visit Verona Studio 1 at 17 Oxford Street, Paddington, from 8am to 8pm on June 5. If there are artworks leftover, the studio will reopen on June 6 at 10am. Works are sold on a first-come, first-served basis, and there is three-piece limit for each buyer. The pieces will also be on display on June 4.