Competition for a spot at a grand exhibition at the Mall Galleries, contenders include a former costume designer, a forklift truck driver and a part-time university lecturer.
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Britain's top artists make big money.
Their works can go for millions.
9.5 million. 10 million.
10.5 million. 11 million.
Up and down the country, thousands of ordinary people
are also trying to get a piece of the action.
They're putting their necks on the block for the chance
to sell at the hottest exhibition in town.
To get into an exhibition in London would be just a fantastic opportunity.
It's like showing your soul when you show them your work.
It is kind of a dream come true.
These artists could stand to make some serious cash.
This piece is 4,500.
About 3.5 grand.
But first they need the seal of approval
from three of the art world's toughest critics.
It's terrible. Absolutely terrible.
I can't work out whether it's great fun and formally witty
or actually if it's a waste of space.
Their hopes are in the hands of the Hanging Committee.
It was done to death a hundred years ago
and it's so obvious it's almost painful.
It's time to Show Me the Monet.
Hello and welcome to Show Me the Monet.
Over the past few months, ambitious artists,
both amateur and professional, have been appearing
before our rigorous judging panel, the Hanging Committee.
And if they get through, they have the chance to show
and sell their work at our exhibition.
But to get there, they have to get past
three of the most demanding critics in the business.
David Lee is one of the art world's most outspoken critics.
Renowned for his tirades against conceptual art,
his pet hate is work that's all explanation and no substance.
Only the greatest works of art can stop you in your tracks
with their overpowering beauty.
But there's no harm in trying.
Charlotte Mullins is our contemporary specialist.
The author of ten books on art and culture,
she's selected works for some of the most prestigious art competitions.
I'm looking for art to really stand out from the crowd.
I want to not take my eyes off it.
Roy Bolton is our resident money man.
A fine art dealer of international renown,
he has valued and sold works for some big name auction houses.
Technical ability is a skill to express yourself in whatever
artistic language you choose, abstract, realistic, anything,
so long as you do it really well.
Thousands of hopeful artists applied,
but only the very best will be selected
to show their work at the Mall Galleries.
I'd be very pleased to see this in our exhibition.
So it's a yes from me.
Coming up on today's programme,
one of our artists gives me the heebie-jeebies.
Not too nervous are you?
I'm not as nervous as I was when I dug up my first person.
Er, repeat that please?
And the judges are touched by a very heartfelt self-portrait.
I was actually ill when I was painting it,
so it was very much about an uncertain future for me.
Eltham Palace, South London,
medieval home to Tudor kings and queens.
It was here in the magnificent great hall,
built for Edward IV in the 1470s,
that the judges set up their hanging committee,
and artists from all over the country arrived
to showcase their art.
First up was 55-year-old Ross Ashmore from Hertfordshire.
Ross studied fine art, then spent 20 years building up
a successful graphic design business, before deciding to
take the biggest gamble of his life
selling up, lock stock and barrel,
in order to live out his dream of being a full-time painter.
I started off four years ago in a sort of potting shed in the garden.
But that space became too small,
and now I'm renting a studio in the high street in Rickmansworth.
It sounds as if you're really busy.
Oh, I love it. Yeah.
Creating lots and lots of work. Are you your own worst critic?
No, I'm terrible, you know, I,
I have such an emotional high and low, you know.
You're not ripping stuff up or burning stuff, are you?
Oh, yeah, no, I've burned things, yeah, yeah, yeah.
-OK, well, these, these guys can be quite tough and harsh.
But they don't burn your paintings, which is great, these critics here.
I mean if you do sell at the exhibition,
how would you spend the money? Do you need the money?
I use a lot of paint.
I mean, I use five-litre tins of paint.
So the amount of oil paint I use goes into hundreds.
-So you need the money then?
-I need the Monet, yeah!
All right, well, I wish you the best of luck, then.
Lovely to meet you. The judges await through there.
Bit of confidence and belief. Go for it.
No, I'm going to try. OK, thanks, Chris. See you.
Ross' style of painting is costing him a fortune.
He really needs to hear from the judges that he's not
pouring his money down the drain.
He's submitted this extravagant oil painting,
entitled Borough Station: Zone One Series.
But will it impress our three judges
and buy him a golden ticket to the exhibition?
-Welcome to the Hanging Committee.
Would you like to tell us a little bit more about your painting.
Yes, this is a painting of Borough tube station.
I'm painting every London Underground tube station,
there's 270 of them.
I've done 100 so far, it's taken a year and a half,
I think it'll probably take another year...
You do sell them individually?
I've actually sold one, which I didn't want to.
I really want to get the collection together,
it's sort of a personal ambition of mine.
Well, if this goes through to the exhibition,
you may well have to sell this one.
Ross has set himself quite a challenge,
painting all 270 London tubes.
But is there a method to his madness?
The, I mean the price I've put on it is 4,000.
I mean 4,000's a lot of money, but for me, I feel it's worth it, so...
We'll come back to that,
I think we should have a closer look at it first.
Sure. Thank you.
Now I'm no mathematician, but at 4,000 a pop,
I make that just over £1 million
if he sold all 270 paintings in the series.
He's only managed to sell one so far,
but if the judges like Borough Station,
the next stop for Ross could be Bank.
The judges are looking for originality, technical skill
and emotional impact.
Ross will need two yeses from the panel
to get a place at the Mall Galleries.
I find this style sadly quite dated.
I mean, I find even the cars in this look quite dated,
I mean, it makes me think of artists who painted London in this way
in the '50s and the '60s.
You think it's 50 years ago.
But you think 50 years ago is old fashioned.
I mean, to me, 50 years ago isn't old fashioned.
I just look at it as a painting, really,
I'm not sort of obsessed with fashion, contemporiness,
that kind of thing.
It's not fashion, it's being rooted in the moment it's painted,
saying something about the time it's painted.
-Well, I think that is rooted in the now...
-To you. Good.
This is why we're discussing it.
I mean I know this scene, it's, it's pretty accurate.
The painting's provoked a bit of a spat between David and Charlotte.
Is it old fashioned? Is it contemporary? Does it matter?
You have painted 100 of these.
4,000 each, we've done the maths, 400,000 if you sold them all,
-but obviously you've sold them all, but obviously you've sold one.
That suggests you don't have to sell paintings to survive.
-No, no, I'm on a road to collision, you know, basically.
Financially speaking, it's a disaster, but it's self-belief.
You know, I've got the self-belief to feel it's worth doing it.
You have to admire Ross's determination and his grand plans,
but he's just admitted he's heading for financial disaster.
I really don't know whether you're a mad genius or a mad man.
It could be pure genius to paint a series of 270 of these things,
and either sell them individually to people from those localities,
or well, I don't know how you could possibly sell them all together
as one group for over a £1 million, but it's an interesting idea.
I think...I think that, you know, when you're, you make the money sound
as if that's the big factor in it, and multiplying it up.
And, you know, that's...it isn't the objective.
The objective and the purpose
is actually to sort of achieve something.
So it's not all about the money for Ross.
It's more about achieving his personal goal.
He's set himself a Herculean task, painting all 270 tube stations,
and I suspect if he gets a place at the exhibition,
it could give him that extra boost to carry on.
But will Borough Underground be his ticket to fame and fortune?
Or is it all going down the tubes?
Charlotte, are you ready?
Ross, I think you probably know my answer. It's no I'm afraid.
I don't dislike this, but it's a no from me as well.
Ross, it doesn't much matter what I say at this point.
I would like to say yes to this picture,
but I'm afraid I can't really. I'm sorry. Thank you, Ross.
-Thank you very much.
-Thank you. Bye.
Three no's and it's the end of the line for Ross.
But is it the end of his journey around the London tube network? I suspect not.
-You're going to carry on, aren't you?
-I'm going to have to.
Yes, I'll get over the shock of today, you know.
Are you happy with the criticism that it was a bit of a dated style? Bit old fashioned?
I think hopefully I argued that.
Charlotte, I think she's got, you know, it's in her head.
She's got certain things that, you know,
she has to tick a few boxes, and obviously that didn't.
And I think, in a way, she has a bit of a view,
which for me is a bit more limited.
I knew I was in for a bit of a rough ride.
All right. Are you going home by tube?
I had to drive in because the picture was too big.
Oh, yes indeed. Just away you go up there.
-Lovely to meet you.
-Thank you. And you.
We invited artists from all over the country to send in their work,
and we received work of all shapes and sizes,
from paintings to drawings, to photos, to sculptures.
Next up in front of the judges was 39-year-old
Gillian Lee Smith from Nottingham.
A former costume designer, Gillian now uses painting and sculpture
in her work helping Alzheimer's sufferers with their memories.
After being struck down with her own health problems,
Gillian's outlook on life completely changed.
And now she's determined to push her art career as far as it will go.
The year before last, um,
I was unfortunately diagnosed with breast cancer,
-so at quite a young age, obviously.
I'm recovered and I'm really well now.
But that was the time that I decided to get really serious
about my artwork,
and yes, this is really want I want to do for the rest of my life.
I mean obviously if you do get to the exhibition
there's a chance of selling.
Is there anything you'd love to spend that money on?
Yes. When I was ill, the year before last, my husband and I,
well, we got married,
and because I was ill we couldn't really have a honeymoon,
because I was going through treatment, so we'd go away somewhere.
Gillian's been through a lot.
The thumbs up from our panel would give her art career a huge boost,
and the chance to make some money towards the honeymoon
she and her husband missed out on.
But will her acrylic and pencil piece
entitled A Moment in Time be her ticket to our exhibition,
and the chance to make some money out of her work?
-Gillian, welcome to the Hanging Committee.
Would you like to introduce us to your work please?
Yes, the piece is called A Moment in Time.
And I really had this idea in my head that there are certain
parts of our lives that we carry with us throughout our whole lives.
And that's really what inspired the piece.
It's also quite a melancholy piece.
I was actually ill when I was painting it.
So it was very much about an uncertain future for me.
Thank you very much.
Could you tell us what you would sell this picture for?
I've put a price of £495 on it,
which is based on previous work that I've sold.
-Can we come and have a closer look?
-Of course you can.
Although Gillian has exhibited before,
she's never had a piece judged as closely as this.
It's a deeply personal painting, and any criticism could be tough.
-You said you painted this, I believe, when you were ill.
It sounded, from what you were saying, quite a serious illness.
Yeah, I was, I was diagnosed with breast cancer.
Oh, bad luck!
Two years ago. So...
-I'm fine now.
-I'm very glad to hear it.
I still get emotional about it! But, yeah.
-I'm not surprised. I'm not surprised.
And it was quite soon after my diagnosis,
just as I was going through treatment.
So I just, I didn't really know what was going to happen,
and how I was going to be, and so yeah.
And would you say this is then a self-portrait?
Um. Yeah, in a sense it is.
I guess for me this kind of barren tree silhouette
was possibly how I was feeling.
The judges now know the emotional significance for Gillian
of this very intimate painting.
But to get through to the final exhibition at the Mall Galleries
in London this painting must stand on its own merits.
What do we think of the, the symbol here of the tree
and the figure growing out of, or behind the tree?
My first sticking point in the picture was that,
because it's, it's so obvious, in a way.
-Of what, Roy?
-Well, hold on, you don't have to jump down my throat!
Sorry, it's not obvious at all.
It's a symbol, it's this sort of organic, alive, dead,
I would go well beyond melancholia for the figure.
It makes me stumble a little.
Yeah, I'm not getting what Roy's getting at all.
I think the tree's really a positive sign,
because also you...it's not a literal tree.
Before you even told me the very personal, emotive story behind this,
I feel you get a sense of that from it,
and the tree growing over the very spectral figure,
a tree which I would associate quite often with life,
that actually here is a darker overtone that is ambiguous,
and I like that ambiguity.
I think I'm a bit with Roy on the tree and the figure,
it's a...it's something of a cliche to have figures related to trees,
somehow, I think.
Could one of you explain to me why that's cliched?
I seem to have seen the relationship of a tree
growing into a figure...
But it's not growing.
..Portending the growth, or withering of something else.
It's a hackneyed, cliched image.
David and Roy seem hung up on the tree image in the painting.
But the work has definitely connected with Charlotte.
Gillian, I'm quite affected by this work.
I think great art should have an emotional impact.
And it moves me.
Gillian painted her piece as therapy during her illness,
and if the judges now deem it good enough for the exhibition,
it could be a life-changing moment for her.
Recognition, the chance to sell her work in London,
and not to mention her long overdue honeymoon,
all hang on the judges' decision.
It's an absolute yes from me.
I don't think it's quite strong and original enough for me. No.
I would like to see this in our exhibition.
So it's a yes from me.
What a fantastic result for Gillian. She's got a place at the exhibition.
All she needs now is a buyer for her painting.
The Mall Galleries, London.
And Gillian's painting took centre stage.
I'm really exited.
It's my first time having a painting in an exhibition in London,
so it's quite a big deal for me, quite exciting.
The exhibition was open to the public, art dealers and collectors.
And Gillian made some important contacts,
some of whom seemed ready to put their hands in their pockets.
I think if I could buy one piece of art it would be
A Moment in Time by Gillian Lee Smith.
It really evokes a sort of, a very dark side, a dark emotion.
I think she really undervalues her work, so I certainly,
I think, will put a bid in for that one.
But will Gillian's fans put their money where their mouth is?
If anyone was interested they had to make a secret, sealed offer
to an independent agent,
who would take a 10% commission of the final sale.
The results of the bidding were then handed to me in a sealed envelope
to be revealed to the artist on the final day of the exhibition.
Until I opened that envelope,
even I didn't know what bids had been placed.
A lot of interest around your piece, wasn't there?
I also saw a few cards being swapped, or contacts being made.
Any news you want to tell me?
I've got one gallery who is interested in seeing more of my work,
with a view to possibly exhibiting it.
And another gallery who's possibly interested as well.
And you had someone that was behind you smiling all the way along,
feeling very proud. Can you introduce him?
-This is my dad, David.
-Very proud dad.
-Came all the way down from Edinburgh.
-Was it worth it?
-Now sadly we didn't have hubby.
No, no, he's not well at the moment, he wasn't able to make it.
-Well, send him my regards, won't you?
-I will do, yes.
Cos if I remember correctly, you wanted how much for this?
It was 495, was my asking price.
495. And what were you going to with the money?
We got married a year and a half ago
and we weren't able to have a honeymoon at the time,
so if it does sell then we're going to have a weekend away in Cornwall.
-Here we go.
-This could be for your honeymoon.
-Now, you wanted £495.
You got four offers.
Just double-check that. Are you keeping her steady?
Did you think that she was going to go there?
The first offer was for £495.50.
OK. Second offer. Way above that.
Now we're getting serious, OK?
But the biggest offer was for £650.
Oh, my goodness!
Go on, Dad, give her a hug, she needs it!
Well done to you, Gillian, big round of applause.
Well done, Gillian.
It was a triumph for Gillian.
She sold her painting for £650,
more than enough to finally take her husband
on that long overdue honeymoon,
and she couldn't wait to get on the phone and break that news.
So obviously I won't be bringing the painting home.
I love you too. OK. Bye-bye! Bye!
Artist after artist made their way to the Hanging Committee
in the hope of impressing the judges,
and the standard of the art was incredibly high.
But sadly not everybody made it through.
Zimbabwean radiographer, Kudzai Sibanda,
was hoping that her fabric image of an ancient African queen
would earn her a ticket to her first ever UK exhibition.
David, for one, was impressed.
I like all of it, I think it's marvellous,
I think those amazing earrings, they look like mobiles.
But ultimately the work's decorative nature scuppered Kudzai's chances.
In what way do you see this as a work of art,
rather than a tourist image?
The fact that I've managed to transfer this image
from a real person, onto fabric, I think that's art in itself.
I'm afraid I don't think there's enough art with a capital A in this.
It's a no from me.
With his special drawing of Venice, inspired by a recent holiday,
aspiring surgeon Luke Cole likes to draw as a break from studying.
And for the would-be doctor, the initial vital signs were promising.
For somebody who's self-taught, it's obviously very, very good.
But David had seen it all before.
When I saw this my heart sank, "Oh, no, it's another view of Venice."
And Luke's surgical attention to detail
proved too much for Charlotte.
That labour that you've done, a labour of love in your case,
has sort of worked the life out of it. No. Sorry.
I'm afraid mine's a no as well.
-Thank you very much.
Gail Fisher does the accounts for an architecture firm,
alongside studying art part time.
She presented this charcoal drawing, Portrait Of A Thinker.
David rated her work highly.
That's not a bad drawing by any stretch of the imagination.
I'm going to say yes to that.
But Gail's technique was shot down by Roy.
To me he feels he's sitting in an electric chair.
His hat is his shaking. His body is shaking.
I used the art college models to try and get proportion and technique.
And then basically I take them away and work on them,
and then, you know, things just happen.
So Roy wasn't convinced and Gail's journey to the exhibition
ended with Charlotte, but only just.
I am going to say no, Gail, but I'm very close to saying yes.
Keep it up.
Edinburgh-based professional photographer, Lindsey Robertson,
thought he was onto a winner with this photo
of the aptly-named horse Picasso,
taken in a mobile studio, which he built himself.
It's actually a portable studio, because the idea is that
I'm trying to attract commissions for a new route that I'm going down.
Out of the starting gate,
things looked promising for Lindsey and Picasso.
Everything in this portrait oozes success as a photographer.
But the judges didn't feel it was right for the exhibition,
even if David considered taking a punt
on Lindsey's mobile studio business idea.
Well, it doesn't matter, even if I was prepared to sell you
my yes vote for a 40% stake in your business now, does it?
It was great talking to you. Thank you very much.
Thank you. Bye.
Next to face the Hanging Committee at Eltham Palace
was Lee Broomhall from Walsall in the West Midlands.
Lee is 45 years old and drives a forklift truck for a living.
He's also a keen amateur photographer,
who has dreams of pursuing his art full time.
His passion for photography has its roots way back
in his early working life in a cemetery.
Not too nervous, are you?
I'm not as nervous as I was when I dug up my first person.
Should I be calling the police? Or is this a career/job?
No, this was a career that I was doing. I was a gravedigger.
Right. Thank goodness for that!
Strange occupation. Are you still doing that?
No, no. I'm a forklift driver now.
But obviously I'm here and looking for another career change.
-Oh, you want to be a professional artist, do you?
Well, professional photographer. I would like that immensely.
What would it mean to you if you did make it through to the exhibition?
Getting to actually exhibit your work in London, I mean,
what else do you, what else could you want?
If you did sell your piece, what would you spend the money on?
I'm planning to have a website done.
Because I haven't got a website of my own at the moment,
and everything now is on the internet.
Lee, a lot at stake, I'm going to wish you the very best of luck.
-Through that door. The judges await.
-Thank you very much.
Former gravedigger Lee may be used to looking death in the face,
but he now has to go eye to eye with the judges
if he wants to make his mark in the art world.
Lee has chosen this photo that he hopes will have what it takes
to earn him a place at the exhibition.
-Hello, Lee. Welcome to the Hanging Committee.
Would you like to introduce your work please?
I call it Frozen In Time.
I was doing a bit of stone skimming at this late, you know,
sort of 40-year-old children, you know.
And I asked one of the chaps, "Can you throw a stone into the water?"
-I took the picture, it was one shot, and that was that.
Could you tell us how much you'd charge for this kind of work?
I've never actually sold a piece.
So I initially put a value of 200 on that.
-What do you do?
-At the moment I'm a forklift driver.
Previous to that, I was a gravedigger.
Which is where the photography come out, though part of the work,
photographing the memorials and stuff for people to quote from.
-Can we come and have a closer look?
Lee may have developed his artistic style in a graveyard,
but he now has to hope his photo, Frozen In Time,
-his chances of becoming a full time artist.
Lee, it sounds to me like it was half created, half not.
Asking your friend to...did you ask him to hit a particular leaf,
and you were already set up at that position?
Yeah. Well, I was actually lying on my back, and whilst looking though
the viewfinder, I was also watching him with the other eye,
so that when it come over then I could just make the final adjustments
-and take the photograph.
-So he wasn't skimming, he was lobbing...?
No, we'd, we'd gone past the skimming stage,
-so that when I thought, ah!
-I can tell that from looking at it.
Were you using a zoom lens?
Yes. A 19-200.
-But not a tripod?
So far the judges seem impressed by Lee's technical ability,
capturing the moment of impact with a very steady hand.
But is the standard good enough for a fine art exhibition?
What you've done so far is you've shown us
what photography does, it stops time.
You've got to use it for something now.
You've got to think, "How can I improve that picture?"
And I'd suggest that one way you can do it is by using flash
on a subject like that, in order to bring that splash
that you can see there, you will highlight all the edges on it,
and it will make it look more impressive, alive,
crystalline, if you like.
Sound technical advice from judge David, but Lee's work
also needs to impress on both originality and emotional impact.
Emotional engagement, it's a very personal thing.
It's probably the most important thing.
-And for me, I don't have one with it, I'm afraid.
It is a clean, slick image.
-But I want a bit more you in it, I think.
It's time for the judges to vote.
Is Frozen In Time just a lucky shot,
lacking in the necessary emotional impact?
Or could Lee be on the verge of starting his dream career
and getting one step closer to his website?
-Lee, I'm afraid it's a no from me.
Yeah, keep at it, but a no this time.
Yeah, mine's a no too. But I echo Charlotte.
You must keep at it.
-Thank you very much.
-Thank you for your time.
It's three no's for a disappointed Lee.
But he has received some professional advice
that'll hopefully take his photography to the next level.
Lee. Commiserations, mate. How do you feel about that?
There were some good constructive criticisms.
I don't think that's too harsh on me, to be honest,
I was expecting a lot worse!
To have got this far, I was flabbergasted anyway.
Brilliant. All right, well, it was great to meet you,
-Sorry you didn't get to the exhibition.
-Best of luck in the future.
-Thank you very much.
-Lovely to meet you.
Next up in front of the judges was 61-year-old Helen Ryan,
who's originally from Dublin but now lives in London.
For 14 years, Helen held the purse strings
as a financial officer at Middlesex University,
but now she's retired she's thrown herself into painting full time.
At last you're doing something you love, is that right?
Yeah. Exactly. Yeah.
A burning desire, was it?
It's almost like an addiction. But it's a good one.
What do you want to get out of this programme?
If I could see my painting up on the wall of the gallery,
I would think, "Yes, I've achieved that."
That's something you can't put a price on, that's priceless.
And if you got to the exhibition and sold,
what would you spend the money on?
My husband's 70th birthday is this year,
and he has been incredibly supportive of me,
all through my artistic career.
I would treat him to something.
Just through those doors, the judges,
and I wish you the best of luck.
Thank you very much. Thank you.
Helen has painted obsessively all her life,
as her long-suffering husband will testify.
But is she any good? She's about to find out.
Her hopes of going through all depend on this picture,
called Men At Work, Blackfriars Bridge,
which she's made using acrylic paint and bits of material
to create a collage effect.
Helen, hello. Would you tell us about your painting please.
Yeah, well, the idea for it came around last August.
My brother came from Dublin to visit me,
and we were walking across Blackfriars Bridge,
and I just saw these three blokes sitting on a wall.
And I just said to him, "There's a painting! Great scene!"
So I had to pretend to take a photograph of him.
And can you give us a valuation for this?
I valued it at £450.
-We should have a closer look for ourselves.
-Yes, of course.
Helen lives for painting, and seeing her picture
hung in the Mall Galleries would mean everything to her.
But before that can happen,
the judges must find enough artistic merit in her work.
Did you do any art training in Ireland, by any chance?
-Yeah, well, funnily enough, the first thing I thought
when I saw this was it seems like the River Liffey,
and these are three Dublin Council workers
having one of their infamous tea breaks.
Funny you should say that. I've just finished one,
which I'm just about to have framed, of the Liffey.
-It's probably just the clouds.
-Yeah, the wretched grey sky!
What I do think is lovely, is you're taking the urban landscape
and you're capturing it as it's going up.
It's interesting you talk about the figures that drove this painting.
But they're almost not there.
And it's obvious you spend a long time with, on your technique,
putting things in, taking them out, trying to get the balance.
You're a view painter. Why does it need the collaged element?
Because I felt that the crane was...had a lot of...
Well, you know what a crane is like, it's got a lot of holes in it.
Sorry, it depicts a crane?
-Yes, yes, yes.
-Right. I hadn't realised that.
David doesn't seem overly impressed with Helen's decision
to add a collage effect to her painting.
But will those fond memories of Dublin be enough
for Roy to vote her through?
And will Charlotte's enthusiasm for the changing cityscape
sway her in the right direction?
I think this is on a knife edge for Helen.
Helen, this is a close decision for me, but I am going to say no.
A disappointing no from Charlotte. Is Helen still in with a chance?
It's competent, Helen.
But, no. I'm sorry.
I'm afraid it doesn't matter too much what I say now,
but it would have been a yes.
One yes is better than no yeses!
-That's the attitude. Lovely to meet you.
-Thank you. Bye-bye.
Ahh! So close, but in the end, Helen's acrylic and collage painting
didn't quite come up to scratch for two of the judges.
-Bad luck. Commiserations.
Well, I'm obviously disappointed, I mean I'd be lying
if I said I wasn't, but I'm pleased I got one yes.
-I will live! You know?
-You will live!
-I mean it's...
-You'll live to paint another day.
-Oh, yes. Yes.
-There's always another day.
-C'est la vie.
-C'est la vie. Lovely to meet you.
-Bye-bye. Nice to meet you.
One after another,
the artists arrived carrying art of all shapes and sizes.
It was a day of disappointment for some, and triumph for others.
Next up in front of the Hanging Committee
was part-time university art lecturer, Lesley Halliwell,
Alongside her teaching, 46-year-old Lesley has a busy family life,
with three sons to bring up.
So her artistic ambitions often have to take a back seat, but not now.
Tell me about your family. How much support do they give you?
I've got a fantastic family, three gorgeous boys,
and they often come home from school, sit and see what I've been doing.
So, yeah, yeah, they're full of ideas and opinions.
So what are your ambitions? Why are you on this programme?
Well, this is just a great opportunity, isn't it,
to get your work seen by a much wider audience,
and also to get some feedback from three experienced critics.
Now, if, if, obviously, you get to the exhibition,
you might be able to sell your work.
I mean, it would be, it would be really nice
if this piece of work would go to somebody who wanted it.
What would you do with the money?
Well, the money would just be reinvested back into my career, really,
I've got a studio, and that costs money,
there's framing, and if there was any money left,
then that would be re-invested into new work.
-I wish you all the best of luck.
-Thank you very much.
-Through that door. I wish you best of luck.
It's a brave move for Lesley, coming here today.
As an art lecturer, she should know what makes good art.
So if the judges don't like what they see,
her professional reputation could be on the line.
She's presenting this curiously titled biro on paper drawing,
called Pick And Mix 745 Minutes.
Now what's that all about?
-Welcome to the Hanging Committee.
Please tell us about your work.
This drawing was made with a pack of very ordinary biro pens.
And a very simple plastic Spirograph kit.
I'm interested in what happens
when the same basic shape is repeated over and over again.
The paper gets worn away, or my hand slips,
or inevitably biros run out of ink.
And those imperfections, I think, make the work what it is.
And what value do you place on this work?
This piece of work is £2,400.
-Let's take a closer look.
Hmm. Paper wearing away, your hand slipping, the biro running out.
You're not having a laugh, are you, Lesley,
all the way to the bank?
I wonder if Mum's held on to the ones I did as a child?
Could be worth a few bob now.
But, seriously, is this art or is it child's play?
This is an amazing thing to look at.
Have you ever been diagnosed with obsessive compulsive disorder?
I haven't but I'm probably a good client
for being diagnosed with that.
I mean, the work is very, very obsessive.
I've got a love/hate relationship with the drawing process.
I feel like I have a love/hate relationship with it,
because it is garish, and I shouldn't like it,
but something about it is quite mesmeric.
-When you're doing it, are you bored stiff?
-I move through a whole range...
Or are you actually in some kind of trace-like condition?
I think you move through a whole range of different emotions
when you make a piece.
It isn't exactly thrilling, is it? You know. Ooh! My pen's run out!
Well, I find it, I find it quite exciting.
Of course it's exciting, you get to choose a new pen, David,
and when that one runs out, you get another one,
and, yeah, I'm boring myself now.
It seems to me you have amazing powers of concentration
and have deliberately ignored any imagination.
But still the work has something more than the process you've used.
I'm intrigued by it.
It's a phenomenal effort.
I still feel a little bit, mmm, on the fence about it.
Maybe she didn't have a Spirograph when she was a child.
The question is, do the judges like Lesley's picture enough
to put her through to the exhibition?
Roy, I think we'll start with you.
Lesley, I would love to see this in our exhibition. Absolutely, yes.
Well done, Roy. Just one more yes needed.
Well, I think the fact I want to look at it more
means I really should say yes.
-So I am going to. Yes.
Part of me can't see why you bothered.
-But I'm glad you did. Yes.
-I've enjoyed talking to you.
-Lovely to see you, and the work.
So Lesley's picture will be gracing
the walls of the Mall Galleries in London.
And if she sells it, she'll be able to buy even more biros!
I wonder how many you get for £2,400?
The Mall Galleries, London,
where all eyes were drawn to Lesley's psychedelic picture.
I like the one with the...
-The Spirograph one?
There's a piece by Lesley Halliwell, which is like a Spirograph,
And because that evokes images of being a child
and playing with the Spirograph. Maybe not for 764 minutes.
Lesley had clearly tapped into everyone's inner child.
But would anyone be prepared to buy her nostalgic picture
for her asking price of £2,400?
Any offers would include a 10% commission,
which would be paid to an independent agent.
It was time for me to reveal the results of the secret bids.
So did you make good contacts?
I think so.
I had some good conversations with quite a lot of people.
-Do you think you've made any money?
-It's hard to say.
I mean, people were interested,
but whether that equates into a sale I don't know.
Right. Moment of truth, here we are.
The envelope's got your name on the back.
Let's see if we've got any offers.
Now you wanted £2,400.
-We didn't get any offers.
-Ah, well! CROWD: Ahh!
-It is an ahh, isn't it?
-Yeah, we are disappointed for you,
-because it got so much interest on the night, didn't it?
I mean I entered it for a couple of reasons.
One was to introduce my work to a broader audience,
which I think I've done.
And the second was to put the work in front of some experienced judges,
which I did, so I got two out of three, so, yeah.
-Yeah, you passed there.
It's been a pleasure to meet you. Good luck with everything.
Thank you very much, Chris.
-Go and get a cuddle from the three boys.
Oh, I don't need that, that's fine.
No sale for Lesley.
But those 745 minutes spent labouring away with biros
has not been in vain, because just after the exhibition,
she was signed up by an international art consultancy,
who are looking to sell her pictures worldwide.
That's it for today.
But join us next time on Show Me The Monet,
when the judges will be meeting more hopeful artists
in search of success.
Subtitles by Red Bee Media Ltd
39-year-old Gillian from Nottingham is a former costume designer, who uses painting and sculpture in her work with Alzheimer sufferers. After being diagnosed with breast cancer last year, she is now determined to push her art career as far as it will go. Her piece entitled A Moment in Time was created at the time of her diagnosis and treatment. Could it be her ticket to the exhibition?
Lee is a 45-year-old forklift truck driver and former gravedigger from the West Midlands. He is also a keen amateur photographer, and dreams of pursuing his hobby full-time. Could the chance to exhibit his photography in London be the break he has been waiting for?
Part-time university art lecturer, Lesley, 46, from Chester, has a busy family life raising her three sons. Unsurprisingly, her own artistic ambitions have often had to take a back seat - until now. Lesley's unique style has grown out of a popular children's toy, but what will the Hanging Committee make of her playful approach?