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Rolling With the Punch and Juice: Auction at Hopkinson Gallery

Punch & Juice Auction

Punch & Juice AuctionAs if the wondrous cavern that is Hopkinson Gallery in Nottingham didn’t already boast enough beauty to feast our eyes on, on Thursday 6th December it was host to the Punch and Juice Auction; an auction of fifty pieces of original artwork, presented by the third year Graphic Design Students of Nottingham Trent University, in aid of raising money for the student’s end of year show.

The invitations were sent out complete with promises of free mulled wine and home-made mince pies and, as an avid appreciator, if not yet collector, of art; I was intrigued to go along and see what new creative talent we had springing up in Nottingham, not to mention ogle the Rob Ryan donation that I would still be too poor to bid on, despite numerous attempts at self-justification!

As expected and despite the impending storm brewing on the evening itself, the turnout was wonderful, mostly due to the students themselves and their tutors, offering support and promoting their own weird and wonderful pieces of work.  From animated animals, to retro ceramics, papercraft and all sorts of interesting art work, it took quite a while to take everything in.  Of course a trip to the Hopkinson usually spells disaster for the less ‘meanderer’ of a shopper, as it is quite easy to lose a day in the vintage hub.  This evening I was steered in the right direction straight to the first floor, where the items available for the bidding event itself, were hung to whet the potential buyer’s appetite.  Wonderful donations from Paul Smith,  the aforementioned Mr Ryan and a beautiful laser-cut pasterpiece from Jason Holroyd were included in the auction, with something for everyone, it was not difficult to see why a large percentage of NTU’s population seemed to be congregating on Hopkinson’s stairway, eager to get a glance of what was on offer.

The turn of the event itself was really something exciting to be a part of even if, sadly, just observing.  The position of the Auctioneer, a familiar face to the students it seemed, took to the auction dock on the ground floor a little after 8 p.m to start the bidding.  Original work from former NTU graduate Alex Fowkes kicked off the event with bidding starting at £5 and already reaching up to £40 by lot 6.  Colourful prints by Jon Burgerman fetched over the £20 mark, each piece seemed to raise more and more as the auction went on.  I did not stay until the bitter end, an empty purse and kicking baby put paid to that, but the results from the auction were positive, raising ‘much more than expected’ according to Juice themselves.

Being my first experience of an art auction, the nearest being catching an odd episode of Bargain Hunt on my days off, I found this a really exciting and homely event.  Juice had spared every thought for detail in putting on the event including a chance to view and purchase their own merchandise and the homemade mince pies and cupcakes were a warming and lighthearted touch to the auction itself (and not details I think you’d find in Sotheby’s). Whilst I may have been merely a spectator to the sport, it was a fascinating and encouraging evening watching the students continued support for each other and, in turn, their belief in their hard work and determination.  From what I saw of the students’ own work, it is clear we have much more design talent to come from our University yet.