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Fine art meets rock’n’roll for The Big Art Auction

The Big Art Auction brings 21 creative geniuses together to raise money for Big Issue vendors this winter

Leading figures from the contemporary art world have joined forces with The Big Issue to produce exclusive creations that will be auctioned off to raise funds for the magazine’s sellers this November.

Graffiti artist and musician Goldie; former Young British Artist Gavin Turk; Sex Pistols album artist Jamie Reid; installation artist Lauren Baker; and Glaswegian artist and illustrator Rugman are among 21 creative geniuses who have generously lent their talents to create extraordinary works for the auction, which will be held by The Auction Collective on November 4.

The Big Art Auction is a collaboration between The Big Issue Group and Creative Giants and has been made possible by a donation from Fender of a collection of iconic Stratocaster guitars. Registration for the auction is open now.

The auction will be a live-streamed event, taking place at 7pm on Wednesday November 4 at The Auction Collective. The evening will include video messages from the artists involved.

Funds raised from the auction will be used to support Big Issue vendors through this challenging winter period, as pandemic lockdown uncertainty makes life even tougher for those who make their living selling the magazine on the streets.

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The nine artists who have customised the iconic instruments are Goldie, Gavin Turk, Jamie Reid, Lauren Baker, Rugman, conceptual artist and photographer Bran Symondson, Portuguese street artist Vhils, countercultural hero Joe Rush, and installation artist Joana Vasconcelos.

Alongside the customised Stratocasters there is also a range of limited edition and exclusive artworks, including lithographs, paintings, prints and sculpture.

Other artists involved include Radiohead’s artist of choice Stanley Donwood, Conrad Shawcross, Adam Neate, Gary Stranger, Hayden Kays, and Unskilled Worker as well as a portfolio of limited edition prints donated by Bridgeman Images from Bill Jacklin, Cathie Pilkington, Eileen Cooper, Paul Huxley, Stephen Farthing, and Vanessa Jackson.

Goldie commented: “Such an awesome project to really put light on the homelessness in the UK. Big up Big Issue for involving me in this project, it is an honour.”

And Adam Neate said: “I have a history suffering from psychosis and have been so lucky to have the support of my family and doctors to help me through the hard times. I know how easy it is for someone with mental health problems but without the support to end up on the streets.”

Russell Blackman, managing director of The Big Issue, said: “We are delighted to be working with Creative Giants and The Auction Collective on this hugely exciting event. The Big Art Auction comes off the back of an idea originally sparked from a kind donation from the legendary guitar manufacturer Fender and the timing couldn’t be better.

“With footfall down in previously busy high streets across the UK, it’s very tough out there at the moment for Big Issue sellers. The Big Art Auction, with these truly one-off works of art, will raise urgently-needed funds to ensure we can continue to support our sellers, both now and in the future.”

Simon Vaughan, director at Creative Giants, said: “We are so excited and proud to be part of The Big Auction. We believe art has the power to inspire, stimulate and promote new ideas.

“Our team of artists were enlisted to deliver a range of exciting and thought provoking artwork that could support The Big Issue to explore and challenge the problems of our society today and ultimately raise awareness and funds.”

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Tom Best, auctioneer and director of The Auction Collective, who are hosting the auction, explained why they got involved: “We have long been fans of The Big Issue and its community of vendors. For us, The Big Art Auction is an opportunity for us to help keep this community going through the pandemic and out the other side. It is an honour to be involved with such a great cause.”

He praised the “remarkable” and “inspirational” works created by the artists for the auction: “The creativity and physical effort from the artists for this auction is truly inspirational. The imagination and skill needed to transform a guitar into a neon light sculpture, a flight of collage butterflies, or encased in a woven tapestry is remarkable and shows why each of them are leaders of their expertise.”

Registration is open now and closes at midnight on Tuesday, November 3. Go to The Auction Collective to sign up and to see a full list of auction lots.

And for art lovers seeking a more affordable investment, a strictly limited edition run of prints will be available for two weeks after the auction. For more details watch this space.