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Artists Play Hide and Seek as Incognito, Ireland’s Biggest Online Art Sale, is Launched

It was a game of hide and seek like no other at the launch of Incognito, Ireland’s biggest online art sale in aid of the Jack and Jill Children’s Foundation, which took place this morning at Dublin’s RHA Gallery. Among the Incognito artists at the event playing catch me if you can were artist and former RTÉ Live at Three presenter Thelma Mansfield, RTÉ Home of the Year judge and architect Hugh Wallace, fashion designer Don O’Neill, Radio Nova stars PJ Gallagher and Jim McCabe, portrait artist Rae Perry, landscape artist Cora Murphy, and President of the RHA, Abigail O’Brien.

What makes Incognito so special is that buyers have absolutely no idea of the artist behind their chosen artwork, until after the sale has closed. Among the stars taking part in 2024 are iconic model and actress, Jerry Hall, comedian Colin Murphy, fashion designers Helen Steele, Heidi Higgins and Simone Rocha, milliner Philip Treacy, jewellery designer Chupi Sweetman and singer Brian Kennedy.

With more than 1,200 artists lending their support to Incognito this year, some of the well-known names who have taken up their brushes for a great cause include Martin Mooney, Bridget Flinn, Martin Gale, Fergus Martin and Ruthie Ashenhurst.

Monies raised from Incognito will support the work of Jack and Jill, a nationwide charity that funds and provides in-home nursing care and respite support to families caring for children, up to the age of six, with complex medical needs. These may include children with brain injury, a genetic diagnosis, cerebral palsy and undiagnosed conditions. Another key part of the service is end-of-life-care for all children up to the age of six, irrespective of diagnosis. Jack and Jill currently supports over 400 children in communities across the country.

Now in its eighth year, Incognito 2024 sees over 3,300 original postcard-size artworks priced at €65, no matter who the artist is, on show at www.incognito.ie. Buyers will have three weeks to peruse and pick their favourite pieces before the sale goes live on Wednesday, April 24.

Build Your Own Collection
For award-winning architect Hugh Wallace, purchasing an Incognito artwork could be the perfect start to an amazing new art collection:
“I love art because it makes you smile. It tells a story. Today, in the world of architecture, because of technology, architects don’t have to draw any more, which I think is such a shame. Back in my day, in college, we even had to use watercolours in class, which I loved. I still love to draw and doodle. It’s amazing watching the craft of creativity in being able to actually draw with a pencil a three-dimensional representation of what your brain is thinking. With Incognito, I love the idea of being able to buy someone’s creativity, imagination and thought in lovely little postcards. In time, you can even build up your own collection of artworks, which is super.”

TV legend Thelma Mansfield was perhaps destined to return to the world of art having won in the under-14 category in the Texaco Children’s Art Competition at school. An impressionist painter, Thelma is a keen supporter of Jack and Jill:
“I loved painting as a child, and had a paintbrush in my hand, I think, from the age of three. My mother used to buy one of the newspapers that featured a children’s page which included a painting competition. I am proud to say I won regularly! When I left RTÉ, I started painting again. Of course, I got lots of encouragement from my brother and sister who were both established artists, but I was still a little nervous about putting myself out there and what the public might think. It took me at little bit of time to build up my confidence. But I knew I wanted to paint and that it was going to be my future. I have been a big fan of Jack and Jill from the word ‘go’. So, when its founder Jonathan Irwin approached me at an art fair to take part some years back, I was delighted to, as it’s such a wonderful cause.”

Long-term Jack and Jill supporters, Radio Nova stars PJ Gallagher and Jim McCabe, are thrilled to take on a new challenge in support of Jack and Jill families:
“We’re not up there with all the great painters in the world, like Van Gogh or Pavarotti, but we have produced a piece of minimalist brilliance for Incognito, and we’d like to think it’s a fair reflection of us as people – the triumph of achievement over talent! While we didn’t necessarily follow ALL the rules of incognito; we think we’ve added value by adding something a little extra at the front of our very exclusive and original artwork! We’re breaking ground for a great cause! We’re delighted to support Jack and Jill again; and encourage everyone to see if they can spot our masterpiece in the collection.”

For Incognito curator, Lucinda Hall, when it comes to Incognito, people buy the art because they have simply fallen in love with it:
“This year, the total number of artists taking part is the highest that we have ever had, and we have lots of new and emerging artists. I think for most Incognito buyers, they’re not looking for a particular artist’s work. Rather, they go in for a browse and select something that they have simply fallen in love with. Of course, that’s not to say that there aren’t some who have their heart set on unmasking their favourite artist. If this is you, then my advice is to first get a good handle on their signature styles and any telltale brush strokes! Then search through the Incognito art collection from top to bottom and see how good a detective you are!”

Round-the-Clock Care
Pride of place at the launch was given to little Seán Daly (age 2), from Leixlip, and his siblings Laura (age 9) and Tom (age 6). Seán was diagnosed with an extremely rare genetic condition shortly after birth and receives support from the Jack and Jill team, including Liaison Nurse Manager, June Foxton, who joined Seán and his family at the launch. For dad Mick, Jack and Jill offers much-needed peace of mind:
“Our little boy Seán has significant medical needs and requires round-the-clock care. We are extremely grateful for the peace of mind our Jack and Jill nurses give us, knowing that Seán is being looked after by nursing experts. It is great to have those few hours to focus on other parts of home life, like spending time with Seán’s siblings, Laura and Tom, or even to get practical things done, like the groceries, all the time knowing that Seán is safe and under the best possible care. We are delighted to support Incognito and really want to thank all the artists who have generously shared their time, and their talents, to help raise funds to support this vital service for families like ours.”

For Deirdre Walsh, CEO of the Jack and Jill Children’s Foundation, the support of the art community and the wider public in raising vital funds for its work is crucial for the 400 families currently receiving in-home nursing care and respite support:
“This year, once again, we are amazed at the high standard of art by Incognito artists and the diverse selection of styles. Artists love being part of the excitement that is Incognito and want to help raise money for Jack and Jill, and we are incredibly grateful to them for their support. The Incognito art sale quite literally turns art into a currency for care. The funds raised through Incognito 2024 will translate into vital in-home nursing care, respite support and end-of-life care for over 400 families who are caring for children, up to the age of six years, across Ireland.”

For further information and to see the Incognito collection, visit www.incognito.ie, and to check out the work of the Jack and Jill Children’s Foundation, visit www.jackandjill.ie. Follow all the latest Incognito developments on Facebook at www.facebook.com/2024incognito #Art4Care #Incognito2024

Incognito 2024 in Three Simple Steps: What You Need to Know

Step 1 Create your account on the Incognito website at www.incognito.ie

Step 2 Browse the complete collection and compile your top ten wish list by 8am on Wednesday, April 24. Random selection applies on sale day when you can secure up to three of your favourite pieces

Step 3 Sit back, relax, and watch the excitement unfold as the sale goes live on Wednesday, April 24 after 10am. For those lucky purchasers, all will soon be revealed as to who the mystery artist is behind your work of art!