Plumpton Mornings Update

I thought it was about time I wrote a Plumpton Mornings update…

A very quick reminder:

i) this is a project for charity, raising money for East Africa Famine Relief for UNICEF (so please read on)

ii) it’s one of 50 projects created in 50 days as part of 50 / 50 

iii) the aim is to raise at least £1 million across the fifty projects

iv) the basic premise was that I turn a digital, transient art project into permanent, physical artworks, which are then auctioned off

v) the source material would be the Plumpton Mornings series of photographs that I record every morning I cross the bridge at Plumpton Station to head to that London.  More on that HERE.


What’ve you been doing, slacker?

I spent a considerable amount of time thinking about this as a mechanic.  This was after I’d committed to it…

My problem wasn’t a shortage of different ways to execute from the wealth of material; indeed, the digital world did what it does very well, and supplies a very, very deep reservoir of photos, combinations, styles and so on.

My issue was this; what could I make from it that people will want, and actually sit at a device and bid for, and feel that they are not just getting a piece of art, but they’re part of a bigger thing.


But I hope, and am more convinced now Tim, Cath and Andrew at Made by Many have helped make it better, we have a really interesting idea…

It’s a Long Tail Twitter Art Auction.


Oh FFS.  That’s Barley-esque.

No, wait, bear with me… it’s good, I promise.  Or different, at least.  OK, I’ll set your expectations a bit lower; it’s not an entirely shit idea.


Here’s how it works.

1. You bid on twitter

I could do that.  Yes, you could – come the start of the auction, if you want to bid, you just need an amount (for instance, £5) and the hashtag (#pmbid).  You can write anything else alongside it.  For instance:

Then if you want to bid again, you do, and it just replaces your old bid, and you move up the pecking order.

This means you don’t all have to come to an auction room.  Result.  We don’t own an auction room.


2. Everyone who bids gets a piece of art

Hang on… everyone?  Yes, everyone.  Anyone who bids gets a hand-signed artwork, and  minimum bids start at £1.

This is where the long tail bit comes in… if 100 people bid, we’ll make 100 artworks.  If it’s 1000, we’ll make a 1000.  And so on.

You know how the long tail works, I don’t know why I’m telling you…


But wait up, why wouldn’t every just bid a pound?  Well, because the quality of the individual pieces varies…


3. Each piece is twice as good as the next piece

How do you mean?  I’m still developing the algorithm for this, but basically it’s this; the best artwork will be twice as good as the next artwork, which will be twice as good as the one after that, and so on.

Imagine the best work on offer at launch is a tetraptychs (four panels) on 12×12 canvas.

Here’s a squirrel tetraptych, which isn’t Plumpton Mornings, nor is it 12×12.


Anyway, say that tetraptych is the top piece (a Plumpton Mornings piece, not the squirrels).

The one under that would a diptych (two panels) on 12×12 canvas, under that would be one-piece 12×12 canvas, and then under that the execution would shift to be nominally ‘half as good’.

The only rule is that 20% of all money raised will go into one pot for the materials & delivery for the pieces, and all the rest will go to the charity.


4. Bid up for better stuff

As all the bidders are only in order of ranking by bid, it means that you’re never that far away from getting a much better piece.

For instance, let’s say Mel at BBH had bid £10.50, and next person along from her had bid £11.


By increasing her bid by a mere 51p, Mel would get something twice as good. as she would have for her £10.50.

Hang on… surely all this ‘individual competitiveness’ isn’t really that nice, or that social…?  What do we all get if we bid up?

Funny you should ask…

5. If you ALL bid up, you ALL get better stuff

Again, the algorithm for this is still being written and the costings worked out, but think of it like this; as you all bid, and increase the bids, the value of the fundraising pot, and the amount available for materials, will go up.

So we will set fundraising landmarks all the way through, so that when the landmarks are hit, more valuable pieces are unlocked at the top end, and everyone gets a better artwork.



So it’s not just in your interest to bid up, it’s in your interest for everyone to bid up, and to invite others to bid too, as then better pieces will be unlocked at the top, causing a cascade of better pieces all the way through.


It’s ABSOLUTELY NOTHING like a Blackpool beach penny pusher, where everyone is putting an extra penny in at the top to get a £5 out below.  I couldn’t make the analogy work at all.

But I thought I’d throw in a picture anyway…



OK, what do you want from me now?

Not a bid yet, because the guys at Made by Many are still working on the tech behind the auction.  We’ll hopefully be up in 2 weeks, and run it for ten days to see if we can’t get the majority of artworks out by Christmas (yes, I know… tight)

What I would love for you to do is read all this, read it again, and think of anything we’ve missed.  Let me know below in the comments.

Oh, and spread the word, if you would.  It’s for a very needy cause, and there’s a a long way to go.

And I shall go and pester the ace Rachel Coldicutt, who mentioned something about having a space to do something in a very exciting well known London art institution… that’d just be the icing on the cake.

Thanks everyone.