Celebrating “The Secret Life of the Pencil” with Paul Smith
A one of a kind charity project collects, exhibits and auctions off pencils from famous owners including Stephen Fry, David Bailey, Tom Dixon and Paul Smith. “The humble pencil is found where most of mankind’s greatest achievements begin”, explain Alex Hammond and Mike Tinney, the pencil pushers behind this special project.
The photographic study aims to showcase the continued use of the pencil in an increasingly digital world, demonstrating how the simple writing implement still sits proudly on the desk or behind the ear of the world’s leading artists, architects, writers and designers.
Documenting each pencil in pin-sharp detail, the photographs capture individual pencils as unique as fingerprints, each giving clues to the character of their owner.
Contributors to the project have been drawn from across the creative industries and visitors to the exhibition will be able to view pencils from cultural icons such as Sir Quentin Blake, Tom Dixon, Stephen Fry, Mike Leigh, Philippe Stark, our very own Paul Smith.
The project started on May 20th until June 3rd at No. 9 Albemarle Street, featuring every photograph in the series. Visitors can support the project by buying editioned posters and limited edition prints from the series.
For the length of the exhibition a series of framed one-off prints, including the original pencil, will be available for auction online via Paddle8. To add an extra element of exclusivity, some of these unique prints will also come with special personal effects from the contributors. These include: A concept car sketched by Ian Callum, Chief Designer at Jaguar; a Nick Park sketch of Gromit professing his love of the 4B pencil! Hand carved pencils from Anish Kapoor & Pam Hogg, a unique sketch from Paul Smith, and a one-off large Solander presentation box containing 20″ x 16″ prints of all 52 participants will also be auctioned.
The auction will be hosted online via Paddle8, with proceeds going to the charity Children in Crisis.

On top of being an intriguing taxonomy, all of this pencil craft is for a good cause. Working hand-in-hand with the charity Children in Crisis, The Secret Life of the Pencil hopes to raise money and awareness for children who are suffering the effects of conflict and civil war.

With the symbol of the pencil as a catalyst for creativity and a positive tool to battle poverty and trauma, Children in Crisis works to ensure that these children are educated, protected and that the most vulnerable amongst them do not suffer discrimination.

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