Get some new art for your (home) office, help your industry colleagues

Art and advertising are intertwined, with many people in the industry painting, photographing, sculpting, etc. on the side. More than 40 advertiser/artists have donated their work to this year’s nabs art auction, a key fundraising initiative in what has been a historically difficult year for our industry.

“Given the impact that the COVID pandemic has had on nabs’ ability to fundraise, initiatives like the nabs marketplace are more important than ever,” said Mark Neves, director of nabs central. “This campaign will allow us to raise much-needed funds to continue to support our colleagues across the country going into the holidays.”

“We need to put a hand out to help those that have been hammered by this horrible plague,” said Geoffrey Roche, a self-described “cheerleader for this worthy cause” who enlisted many of the artists whose work is being auctioned. “It’s not just the loss of work, but also the loss of human interaction just when they need it most.”

This year’s auction is taking place entirely online and in two waves. Bidding on the first lot of 31 items wraps up on Oct. 31, while bidding on the second wave of 30 items runs from Nov. 15-30. All of the items in the auction’s first lot can be viewed here.

We asked some of the artists who donated their work to describe their style and explain where they get their inspiration.

Bob Hambly, “Orange Slide”

I’m always looking to photograph the unexceptional. With the right framing and composition, I want to encourage the viewer to take a second look. Maybe there’s more there than meets the eye.

The geometric shapes in this rural playground, and how they interact with one another, seem more significant than the actual objects themselves. Rigid, metal structures in a welcoming, verdant setting.

The angle of the slide in the foreground echoes the trees in behind. What makes a playground? The equipment or the location?



Jack Neary, “Stadium”
I took up walking and photography as a hobby while I was living and working in New York.

I walk with my eyes, always scanning for the unusual juxtaposition, an arresting composition, the happy accident.

I hope my images chronicle in some way daily life, but in ways others fail to see. This scene, caught at the famous old bull ring at Ronda, Andalucia, reminds me of a de Chirico painting.




Sandra Kennedy, “Mustard Fields”
I retired this year from marketing communications. Over the years I realized how lucky I was to work in this industry; I appreciate the support and mentoring that I received from my clients, colleagues and employers.

Not everyone is lucky enough to have had that support. To simply donate a painting to nabs is a way of showing support to others in our industry.

Sure, I’ve had the good fortune to travel many places for work and for pleasure, but Ontario is a fantastic province and one can’t help but think of watching the seasons pass, with images of grape vines starting to grow, the hills changing from brown to green, mustard and wheat fields passing you by as you pass by in your car. In an abstract way of course!


Mike Sipley, “Bayfield”

I grew up enjoying drawing as a child. The feeling of pen in hand and how movements large or small translated into various effects on paper. I would draw anything from my surroundings: an object on a shelf, the family pet, a book, to literally the kitchen sink—anything.

As I studied art in school I enjoyed the impressionist works and their documentation of their surroundings and how things change with light. I dabbled in various mediums, but always found my way back to pen and ink. I love the contrast of light and dark that is achieved with various pen strokes applied over one another. How they build and eventually form shape through black and white.

I studied in London, surrounded by old historic homes with their grand architecture. I began to draw these surroundings, admiring their detail and beauty. The pen lines really capture the variety of elements of the home and the fluidity of its surrounding vegetation.

To this day I continue to admire old architecture whether big or small, preserved or dilapidated, and continue to snap reference shots of homes around town or on my travels. This is how this latest image came to be. Bayfield is a quaint town west of Toronto with beautiful old homes. This one spoke to me with its simple, almost symmetrical design perfectly framed by its foliage.

I’ve worked as an art director in the advertising community for many years. Fortunately, my job challenges my creative side, and even though my job is of a digital nature, as often as possible, I will apply pen to paper. You’ll always see me with my black sketchbook handy, usually conceptualizing or drawing layouts, but seldom fine art during the day. When the work hours aren’t crazy, I enjoy getting back to the basics and drawing old homes in my personal time. I do it as gifts, as commissions and often just for myself. In the case of nabs, I do it for my fellow ad friends. Mostly friends I probably haven’t ever met, but friends through the common ground of advertising—friends in need. This is a small way of me giving back. I hope it helps.


Caitlin Neve, “Social City”

I donated to nabs because it is important now more than ever. Our industry has been hit hard by the global pandemic, resulting in job loss. Raising funds to support those effected is critical, but I also believe in the sense of community that nabs brings together.

My art draws inspiration from working in advertising by expressing my frustrations to provoke critical thought on media’s impact on our collective culture and individual psychology.

My artwork is created by recycling magazines and newspapers, deconstructing the representations of consumerism, recreated into rebellious collages to empower viewers to find their own personal meaning.

Chris Powell