A run-of-the-mill table tennis paddle can be purchased for under five dollars, while a top-of-the-line model will set you back more than one hundred times that much (see the Nittaku Hinoblaze). Pricier still are some of the rackets tricked out by today’s hippest artists, and that’s where The Art of Ping Pong comes in…
ART OF PING PONG
For the past five years, The Art of Ping Pong project has been raising money for charity by auctioning off artistically-enhanced table tennis paddles (or, bats, as they are called in British parlance).
Money raised from the event’s first couple years went to support BBC Children in Need, while last year’s auction benefited Trekstock, a UK-based youth cancer charity.
A sampling of the paddles that were auctioned off last November is offered below. All told the auction raised more than £4000. The highest winning bid among 2016’s crop of ping pong paddles was £1001 (US $1,233).
Nigel Howlett’s latest drawing series depicts hairy characters, sometimes dressed only in their underpants, who act out scenarios that reflect familiar social anxieties and conditions. Always humorous and sometimes sinister, common themes in the work include our obsession with technology and our relationship with social media.
Yoni Alter is a London-based designer whose work dances between the figurative and the abstract, while exploring form and space. Alter studied art and design in Jerusalem before completing him MA Graphic Design at University of the Arts London.
Mr Doodle’s work consumes walls, furniture and even the occasional ping pong paddle — almost like a happy virus. His artwork is often described as ‘Graffiti Spaghetti’, as his clusters of characters, objects and patterns group together in a formation that appears to continue to grow relentlessly.
Exaggerating and celebrating the ordinary, Kev Munday aims for his art to appeal to all ages and prompt the viewer think and smile at the same time. Working with a wide range of mediums including spray paint, brushes, paint markers and digital illustration, his often simplistic, naïve illustrations take inspiration from artforms as diverse as kawaii graphics and huichol yarn paintings.
Emily Forgot is the appropriately curious moniker of London based Graphic Artist Emily Alston. Embracing the odd, the everyday and the sometimes surreal, Alston’s playful visual language and image making continues to innovate, evolve and surprise.
Illustrator Sam Taylor’s clients include Converse, VICE, The New Yorker, Google, Pitchfork, The Guardian, Nike, The Bavarian State Opera, WaterAid, Die Zeit, The Atlantic, Jacobin, BBC and Nickelodeon.
The Sebastian Cox workshop, studio and mill were founded on the principle that a traditional approach can be radical and that the past can be used to design the future. Without nostalgia or sentimentality, Cox champion’s British woodlands through design, making and milling.
Emma Brewein’s art studio is committed to minimizing the impact our modern throwaway culture has on the planet by creating sustainable pieces that last a lifetime, mixing modern designer vision with purpose and positivity. Her faux fur paddle even comes with its own comb!
Benedict Radcliffe works across a wide spectrum of disciplines, creating everything from card and bicycles to furniture and household objects — which may explain his hybrid ping pong paddle which combines a Dunlop handle with a hand mirror.
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