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Are You Ready For The Background Bob 2 Auction?

It’s almost that time again when 250 lovely works of art go on auction for Background Bob 2. The first Background Bob raised a whopping £100,000 for charity and fingers crossed Background Bob 2 will be just as successful or even better!

We spoke to Background Bob’s dad, Nathan, to find out how things are going and to get some more details about the upcoming auction…

So let’s get to it and ask the all important question… when is the Background Bob 2 auction taking place?

It’ll start on Sunday 20th March with all the pieces going live about 6pm and will follow the same way we did it last time.

So they’ll be on for a week again then?

Yes. It gives everyone time to catch it. We had some people joining late last year so this way it gives everyone a chance to get involved. Having a week also gives us time to build up the hype over the days and publicise it more.

You’ve obviously gained more followers in the last 12 months which helps we guess? How many Instagram followers do you have now?

Around 8,200 to 8,300, something like that.

Noah aka Background Bob celebrates reaching 8,000 followers on Instagram
Noah aka Background Bob celebrates reaching 8,000 followers on Instagram

That’s not too shabby is it?

No not at all, we overtook Korp a few months ago so had to send him a little message ?

He must have been pleased!

Ha! To be honest, we love Korp and he was genuinely happy for us. That’s what’s made this whole project so nice, everyone who knows about it or has been involved is just loving the success of Background Bob. For us it’s one of those things that has helped us through horrible times. Like what we have now with the up coming operation. So, having Background Bob and receiving the beautiful messages from people all over the world really makes a difference.

We can imagine. For us, right from the start, people’s reactions to Background Bob has been really heart warming and that has only continued to grow.

I totally agree. I was speaking to a couple of artists the other day who I’d noticed had been following us but never got involved, so I got in touch and asked them if they’d be interested if we did a Background Bob 3 and their response was ‘Absobloodylutely’!

Love it ? we assume you must have quite a waiting list for a potential Background Bob 3?

Yeah, there’s certainly people waiting and also other artists we want to contact and I’m sure the list will grow pretty if we decide to go ahead with another one. The project was and always will be about inclusion and is open to anyone but we can’t ignore the fact that having well known artists involved certainly helps with raising the project’s profile and its credibility.

Totally agree. Having the likes of Mason Storm and My Dog Sighs etc most definitely helped in the first round. What did Mason’s piece go for in the end?

I think it was £3,500 which is an amazing amount to go towards the final total. But also having My Dog Sighs on board really early helped get the word out. It also helped me to approach other artists as it brought kudos to the whole thing.

This Mason Storm x Background Bob piece raised £3,500 in the first auction
This Mason Storm x Background Bob piece raised £3,500 in the first auction

We guess it also allowed you to get the attention of things like the BBC too?

Yeah, it made a big difference and took Background Bob to a whole new level.

I was listening to the Ministry of Arts podcast the other day where Gary Mansfield was interviewing The London Police. One of the questions was, “if you were doing a collaborative show with 5 other artists who would you choose?” Anyway they mentioned some well known artists and then at the end Chaz (one half of The London Police) said ‘Oh and you must heard of this amazing thing going on in England with the legend Background Bob? Now I had know idea they were going to mention us at all so it completely blew me away. He then went on to say how lovely it is and how it’s got such great artists on board and that it’s great to see it’s still going strong.

The London Police teamed up with Background Bob in the 2nd round and we think this piece will prove to be very popular in the auction
The London Police teamed up with Background Bob in the 2nd round and we think this piece will prove to be very popular in the auction

Just out of curiosity, how big was the smile when you heard that?

Pretty damn big to be honest!!! I love listening to them talk as they always have a laugh and when that question came up I thought “oh maybe I’ll write down the names they say and approach those artists for next time”, never expecting Background Bob to get a mention!

That’s amazing. It also proves just how significant this project has become.

Yeah, it’s surreal. We’ve always said, if it was someone else’s idea that it’s something we would have loved to have got involved with. When you’re actually doing it yourself you sometimes forget the impact it has had.

We were walking the other day through a forest in the middle of nowhere and we walked past a couple who politely said hello. Then as we past, the guy turned back and asked… ‘are you Background Bob?’ So we said yes and at that point a huge smiled appeared and he went on to explain how he had been to the exhibition and had the book etc. He was just so excited. It’s moments like that when you realise just how far and wide the project has spread.

So it’s the celebrity lifestyle for you now then? Will you start charging for photographs? ?

Ha! No never, but it was just such a lovely experience. Surreal, but lovely. It was a similar experience when we visited the exhibition at the Firstsite Gallery in Colchester where you see people’s faces light up when they realise Noah (Background Bob) had arrived.

So does Noah enjoy the attention?

Oh my god, he has become a media diva! He loves it. His favourite thing now is to do an Instagram live. If he’s a bit down and fed up I just say ‘do you want to do an Insta Live’ and this huge smile appears. At the beginning we were a little worried about him being in the spotlight but over time we’ve come to love how much people care for him. It’s been magical and we take each day as it comes. We don’t know what’s round the corner but this is such a beautiful legacy he’s creating.

We guess the exposure has also made people more aware of the conditions Noah has to deal with?

Yeah absolutely. It’s given people a chance to understand a little more about the logistics of doing even simple things. I put a post up a few weeks ago about having to change Noah on a toilet floor because the shop didn’t have adequate facilities and it was one of the most commented on posts we’ve had. It’s still crazy that in this day and age people are having to suffer the indignity of having to change a child on a bathroom floor.

That must be incredibly infuriating but what’s interesting is that although Background Bob is essentially an art based project, it’s also highlighting the inadequacies of our so-called modern society?

To be honest, it was never our intention to highlight or draw awareness to Noah’s disabilities but it’s just kind of happened naturally as people have wanted to find out more about Background Bob. Our goals for the project were to show how much love there is within the artistic community, raise a ton of cash for charity, and have fun doing it. Raising awareness is something we never really considered but as I said, it’s kind of happened naturally.

As far as we are aware, and correct as if we’re wrong, but right at the start there wasn’t even really a plan for a ‘project’ as such? It was more just something to do during lockdown to entertain Noah?

Yeah, you’re right. There was certainly no ‘meeting’ ? it was just an afternoon of fun that I posted about on social media asking if anyone would like to join in. Never thinking it would take off in the way it did. There was certainly no discussion about a book, exhibition or auction!

Regarding the auction, it’ll be the same set up as last time right? And for those who weren’t involved can you tell us a bit more about it?

Yeah, it’s exactly the same format as last time. We felt it was easy enough to follow and gave people enough time to get involved. So all the pieces will be on eBay and go live at 6pm on Sunday 20th March with every work of art starting at 99p. It was really great fun last time seeing people in bidding wars so we can’t wait for it again.

It was fun but also bloody stressful. Not only were we bidding but we also had a piece in the auction. We’ve never pressed the refresh button so much in our lives!

Ha! Yeah same here. Towards the end it was crazy to see how the bids were jumping and a lot of that came from the artists themselves hyping it up on social media, so we’re really hoping that the same thing will happen this time round.

Those last 20 minutes of the auction were certainly intense, did you expect it to go as well as it did?

Maybe not that well. When we spoke to you last time about our hopes for the first auction, I think we said we hoped it would get around £50,000 including book sales. So as it started to head towards the end we couldn’t believe what was going on. For the last 10 minutes of the auction we actually stopped following it as we couldn’t keep up with it all and at that point I think it was on about £60,000 so when we then looked at the final total we couldn’t believe it had jumped to over £80,000!

I mean we were hoping for £50,000 including book sales and ended up doubling it!

Last year the original Background Bob book raised £18,000. The 2nd edition features work by all the artists who collaborated second time round.

On the topic of £100,000 are you feeling confident of breaking that this time round?

Wouldn’t that be amazing, but who knows. We never expected it last year so I guess we’ll have to see which team is better Background Bob 1 or 2 ? (that’s me trying to get some fun rivalry going) but in all seriousness if the artists hype it up in the same way as last time then it certainly could be possible, but whatever is raised will be an awesome achievement.

Well we can’t wait for it all again and hope Background Bob 2 smashes £100,000

Thanks guys, and thanks for all your support x

If you fancy grabbing yourself an amazing piece of art, the Background Bob 2 auction kicks off on eBay at 6pm on Sunday 20th March. To keep up to date with everything that’s going on with the project and auction we highly recommend following @background_bob on social media.

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