Competition for a spot at a grand exhibition at the Mall Galleries. Featuring a photographer from North Wales who previously spent ten years working in a factory.
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Britain' top artists make big money.
Their works can go for millions.
Nine million five. Ten million.
Ten million five. 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.
It would be a dream come true.
It would mean everything to me.
Art is me. It's what I think about all the time.
These artists could stand to make some serious cash.
How much would it cost, this?
But first, they need the seal of approval
from three of the art world' toughest critics.
It looks like some sort of Heath Robinson contraption
for tossing pancakes.
Their hopes are in the hands of the Hanging Committee.
Fantastic piece of work - best I've seen so far.
You're one to watch for the future.
It's time to Show Me the Monet.
Hello and welcome to Show Me The Monet.
Over the past few months, ambitious artists
have been facing our panel of expert judges,
all of them hoping to win a place at our prestigious
Show Me The Monet exhibition,
where they have the chance to show and sell their artwork.
But to get there, they'll need to get past three art critics
who demand nothing but the best.
David Lee's been holding the art establishment to account
for over 20 years. His pet hate is work
that's all explanation and no substance.
In one sense, there's nothing original to do.
I want them to surprise me.
As an auction house expert, Roy Bolton
has sold thousands of paintings over the years.
But he knows there's more to great art, than just commercial value.
Art's got to pack a punch. An artist's got to have
a clearer take on the world than the rest of us.
And I need to be bowled over by what they have to say.
And Charlotte Mullins has written ten books on contemporary culture.
She knows what it takes to cut it in the modern art world.
Good technique is vital.
But I'm looking for an artist to use a particular technique successfully,
to try to communicate what they want to say.
Thousands of hopeful artists applied,
but only the very best would be selected to show their work
at the Mall Galleries.
I would love to see this in our exhibition. Absolutely, yes.
Coming up on today's programme...
Charlotte is not impressed...
The drapery at the front, I'm afraid, looks more like baked Alaska
than Egyptian cotton sheets for me.
..and one young artist is more than a match for the judges.
Shouldn't you give the viewer more of a helping hand?
Why should I?
Eltham Palace in South London,
was one of the major royal seats in medieval times.
It was the childhood home of Henry VIII,
and it was here in the magnificent Great Hall, where kings and queens once feasted,
that the judges set up their Hanging Committee.
Artists from all over he country arrived,
in the hope of landing a place in the exhibition.
First up in front of the Hanging Committee,
was 20-year-old Fiona Rose-Batey.
She's studying for a degree in illustration.
She's determined to make a career out of art and a place
in the exhibition could give her the financial leg-up she needs.
-Hi, Fiona, nice to meet you.
-Yeah, you too.
I mean, obviously, we love to find young, budding talent.
What difference would that make to you?
It would make a world of difference.
For me, it would be going from a girl who does paintings
of pretty pictures, to an artist.
And you might get some cash.
Hey, that's a bonus!
-What would you do with it?
-I'd use the money for a Masters
after my degree course.
-You need two yes's from the judges.
-Good luck. Deep breath and give them the best.
-Thank you very much.
Fiona Rose wants to study for a Masters degree in fine art.
But she's going to need a lot of cash to do that.
She's got a chance of making some,
if the judges think her painting, called Mind Over Matter,
has got what it takes.
-Please tell us about your painting.
-This is an oil painting
of my grandma, to demonstrate memory loss.
The portrait contains some faces within the hair.
Those are actually my family,
and she's like, reflecting back on her life,
and memories that she can remember, but, sort of, remember,
and they're kind of, faded.
And what value do you put on this work?
I found it really hard to put a value on it,
because it's so personal to me.
I valued it at 1,500.
Have you sold other works like that before?
I've sold an oil painting that size for £600.
-Can we come and have a closer look?
Wow! Fiona Rose has more than doubled her price.
But I guess she's thinking of the cash needed for that Masters degree.
I just hope her painting's got everything
the judges are looking for.
I love the way you've restricted that head
to virtually one half of the canvas, because by doing that,
I knew straight away that something was going on
inside the head of that character.
It takes a lot of guts to decide to make such an intimate portrait,
what, five times life size.
But, for such a personal work,
why would somebody else want to own this?
I think it reflects a larger theme
of ageing and the human condition,
that can relate to anyone, not just my grandma.
I hope the judges agree that anyone
could relate to the themes in Fiona Rose's painting.
At what point
did you put in the faces
in the hair?
Because before I realised I was looking at a picture
with heads mysteriously appearing in the perm there,
I'd already got what you were talking about.
And I think it's a kind of gimmick
which spoils your picture.
Does that spell the end from David?
On reflection, I see what you mean.
I just wanted to put my own element in there.
-Like, quite a surreal element.
And it just anchors the theme that I was trying to portray.
It took my appreciation of the work
down a notch, unfortunately.
And it's a student
lack of confidence to think you have to explain, because you don't have
the confidence in your ability as a painter.
Exactly, you should have confidence.
You're brilliant at what you do.
Wow! That is some praise from Roy.
What you have done is communicated your grandma,
with all her strengths and weaknesses, to us looking at it.
And that is when the portrait becomes bigger,
than just a picture of your grandma.
So, Fiona Rose has come in for some flack.
But then again, she's only 20-years-old.
Can the judges overlook her youthful mistake and vote her through?
I am going to go first.
For the points I've outlined, I'm afraid it's a no from me.
You have so much going for you.
I'm afraid it's got to be a no from me, as well.
-I'm afraid I have to say no as well.
You may not want to do this, but if I were you, I would
paint out that hair, do it properly,
we get everything you mean by the portrait, it is very, very, very strong.
It's a very, very eloquent picture that.
In fact, I'm changing my vote.
I think I...that would be worth showing in our show.
-Oh, thank you.
-Sadly, just not quite enough votes to make it.
-But do take from this that you are a very talented painter.
-Really nice to meet you.
-And you, thank you.
Well, it doesn't make any difference to the outcome,
but David obviously couldn't live with himself. And quite right, too.
-That was a bit of an emotional rollercoaster, wasn't it?
but I got one vote from David.
And they gave me some really great feedback.
What are you going to do now? Apart from change your grandmother's hair!
Well obviously, my style
is continually improving and changing, so I'll take everything
I've learned in this process, and use it to be more confident
with my work, I think.
We asked artists from across the country to send us
their works of art.
Amateurs, students and seasoned professionals
all submitted their masterpieces, and the cream of the crop
appeared before the Hanging Committee.
Next across the bridge at Eltham Palace
was 41-year-old Ben Lingard,
who manages a home and garden store in Coventry.
He's never had an art lesson in his life and he's keen to know
if the judges think he's got any talent.
-Ben, welcome to Show Me The Monet. Nice to meet you.
-I'm just looking at your sort of CV, nothing says artist.
-No! It doesn't, does it?
-I mean, art's my hobby.
Bought myself some oil paints and thought, "I'll have a go at this".
I just chug away in my spare room but you get to a point
when you think, "Oh, this seems to be working now."
What would it mean for you if someone said, "Do you know what?
-"We're going to give you a place in our exhibition."
-It'd be amazing. Absolutely.
And what would you do if you got to the exhibition and you did sell?
My daughter's already earmarked that for a trip to California, so...
That's what I like to see, money's already spent!
-No, it's gone, it's spent!
The judges...are just through there.
-And you could come back an artist!
Ben's bravely entering the lion's den
in the hope that the judges may give him the chance
to exhibit his work for the first time ever.
'I love art.
'If I could have a place in that world, just a little bit,
'a little corner somewhere, it would be terrific.'
But whether or not this self-taught painter
gets a spot in the exhibition
all rests on what the judges make of his oil on canvas painting.
-Ben, would you like to tell us something about your painting?
This painting's called Hotel...
and I had the idea for the painting whilst sat in a hotel room one night,
watching the TV whilst my daughter was asleep.
And I was just, sort of, thinking about the anonymity of hotel rooms,
and that kind of blankness where a hotel room anywhere in the world could be the same.
I just took a few pictures and then, when I was back at home, erm...
started work on this.
Can you tell us what you price this at?
I'd price this at 2,000.
Is that based on selling other paintings?
That's based on pure guesswork
cos I've never sold or exhibited a painting before.
-OK, all right.
-I'm what you call a keen amateur.
-We'll just take a closer look at it now.
£2,000 is a high price tag for a first-time amateur.
This is a crucial moment for Ben.
Has he managed to capture the anonymity of a hotel room
as he intended?
And will the judges give him his first ever chance
to exhibit and sell?
It struck me as a jilted lover's picture, this.
-Do you think?
-Before you told me it was your daughter.
It doesn't matter that that's my daughter,
it could be anybody, couldn't it?
And as a person looking at that picture,
it could mean a lot of different things to a lot of different people, couldn't it?
This painting is clearly about light.
I can see, from the lamp over the bed,
where the light is intended to come from but I question the rest.
It seems to be artificially coming from everywhere.
Which is, kind of, how it was because it was a hotel room at night,
so there wasn't much light in there at all.
It's sometimes working from a photograph does this
because in a photograph the light appears differently
to how it would from observation...
But, of course, if I'd copied the photograph,
all you'd seen would have been like a grey blob!
-So you have re-interpreted it?
I mean, the sheets weren't like that. That's painted from sheets that I've thrown on the floor.
-You painted those sheets from observation, did you?
-It doesn't look like it.
-Does it not?
No, they look flatter than they should be.
-They look heavier, like icebergs, to me!
'Mmm, are those sheets going to be Ben's undoing?'
David, would you like to summarise your position for Ben?
Am I involved with this? Yes, I am quite interested in it.
It's a narrative picture but, you know, the vast majority of us
-actually like looking at narrative pictures.
Ben, for me this is overwhelmingly a picture about drapery.
The drapery at the front, I'm afraid, looks more like baked Alaska
than Egyptian cotton sheets for me.
People very often run into dead ends when they use a photograph as a starting point.
You clearly have skill.
I think it just needs honing and I think it needs a direction.
I like the fact it looks liked baked Alaska!
So, Roy's partial to a bit of baked Alaska
but is it too stodgy for Charlotte?
Is this self-taught painter still in with a chance?
David, are you ready to vote?
Ouch! That's a bitter pill from David,
after he said he liked the narrative.
Ben, it hardly matters what I say but, please, stick with it.
-But I think, on balance, it would be a no from me as well.
-But thank you very much for bringing it.
-OK, thank you.
-Lovely to meet you, thank you.
Ben's dreams of taking his daughter to her very own Hotel California
have just bitten the dust.
-You're still alive!
-How was that for you?
-Oh, it's tough to here, isn't it? Baked Alaska.
-Did that hurt?
-Well, nobody likes to be criticised, do they?
You want the criticism, but you don't want to hear, you know,
you're hoping to hear something good. But it is what it is, isn't it?
It's not going to stop me painting, at the end of the day.
I'm going to go back and try harder.
Artists from all over the country
brought their work to show the judges
and hear what they had to say.
All of them were hoping they'd make it through to the exhibition
in the Mall Galleries.
The galleries are right in the heart of central London,
a stone's throw from Buckingham Palace and the busy West End.
Showing and selling their work here
would be the chance of a lifetime for the chosen few.
With her husband away in Afghanistan,
military wife Francesca Becks' artwork
was all about family life in an army camp.
Often when my children were toddlers they would come home with drawings
and whenever my husband was away he would disappear from the drawings,
and so I wanted to do the same kind of thing.
The judges got the emotional message but Francesca's style split them.
-There's no way that anybody coming to that fresh would find that to be an army camp.
-Isn't that refreshing?
Because if it were that literal we wouldn't be able to read it in more personal ways.
Charlotte gave it the thumbs up...
-It's a yes from me.
..but that wasn't enough.
The story, that's in this picture, I find too obvious,
and the simplicity of those symbols is like a lump hammer hitting me.
So, I must say no.
Londoner Joy Thompson's colourful picture of her neighbourhood street,
based on a photograph she took herself, dazzled Charlotte...
Gosh, I needed sunglasses on when I got close up to that!
It's so bright and vibrant.
You are absolutely celebrating paint itself,
with all those hot pinks and oranges.
..but Roy didn't take such a rosy view.
I think that the pink is so distracting.
It doesn't look like any morning or evening
I've ever seen in a stuccoed street.
I'd manipulated the photograph, put it through the printer,
came out all funny, and I thought, "This is lovely!", so that's where the colour came from.
In the end even Joy's spirited defence of her work
couldn't win over the judges.
Gavin Oliver Devine's photograph captured his partner, Denver,
in deep contemplation before telling his parents that he was gay.
And Roy got it immediately...
It is an unreserved yes for me.
..but Charlotte and David struggled with their votes.
If I'm in so much doubt, the answer has to be yes.
But I can't stop looking at him.
It's a yes from me.
-Thank you, lovely to meet you.
-Thanks very much.
In the end it was a unanimous three yeses and Gavin went through.
At the exhibition the young photography student was busy networking.
So, did he manage to sell his work?
Here we go then.
You wanted £450.
Oh, we didn't get any offers.
-Photographic portraits are very hard to sell.
-but I really mean congratulations to get to the exhibition.
-We wish you the best of luck.
Charity worker Paul White's artwork sparked a debate
about whether illustration has any place at a fine art exhibition.
For Charlotte it was clear-cut...
This is illustration, for me, but it belongs in a Sunday supplement.
I don't believe it belongs on the walls of our exhibition.
It was just being, trying to be quirky and playful, really,
with the types of elements that fitted together.
..but David had other ideas.
Illustration is not a word I use as a term of abuse.
Illustration can be included in fine art exhibitions, it is frequently.
So will Paul's work make it to the Mall Galleries?
-Paul, it's a no from me.
This belongs in a children's book. No.
Next up in front of the Hanging Committee was Anne Blankson-Hemans.
Anne studied fine art in her native Ghana
but when she came to England in the 1980s
her own art practise took a back seat as she strove to pay the bills.
When she was made redundant nearly ten years ago,
she moved a step closer to art,
setting up a fine art printing business.
It went well at the beginning but towards the end
it, kind of, took a bit of a dive.
And the art has always been the passion, you know,
so I came back to it.
Are you full-time? Are you making ends meet? Are the bills being paid?
Not a lot at the moment, I'd love to.
I made the decision last year that I would,
I'd like to start up as a full-time artist
to actually make a living from my art.
-You need two yeses.
-..your art may be sold.
-And hopefully it's all smiles when you come back.
Anne's now relying on making a living from her art
and what the judges don't know is that her home is in danger of being repossessed.
Getting through to the exhibition
could help turn the corner for her...
..but will the judges think her oil painting of a fish market is good enough?
-Anne, welcome to the Hanging Committee.
-Would you like to tell us about your painting?
-This painting is called Harbour Market at Elmina Two.
Which means, it's the second of a series that I've done,
the third one being one that hasn't happened yet!
But, erm, it's based on a fishing village
in my country, Ghana, where I was born.
And I find it such an energetic, vibrant, busy place, you know?
I can sit there all day, you know,
just drawing, sketching, photographing.
Can you give us a valuation of your work?
I put this one at about £1,500, yeah.
-Do you mind if we have a closer look now?
-Yes, of course.
Anne clearly loves this vibrant fishing village...
..but has she brought it to life in her painting?
And will the judges connect with it?
You said that you sketched, and took photographs,
and then composed a picture from all your sketches and photographs?
Sometimes I want a long, panoramic picture of the fishermen
pulling in the nets, you know, so I'll wait for that kind of scene
but you'll find that if you take two or three different shots,
you'll find somebody that's really, sort of, pulling away
and, you know, you'll take the boat of one, the man in the other,
and the rope in the other, for example,
-and then put them all together.
-Why choose red as a background?
Is it because it happens to feel right for you,
or is it just to do with the sort of ochrey, dusty ground of that region?
I think red, and generally any bright colour, comes from my background,
you know, I grew up in Africa, it's always sunny,
it's always hot, it's always energetic.
I think the way it's painted is controlled,
in terms of being able to leave that red edge on every single figure.
It somehow takes a little bit of life away from it...
-Mmm, absolutely, well said.
-..but, you do it so well...
that's why I feel really torn by that.
The process that you work with,
i.e. taking figures and putting them in here,
prevents it from being vivacious.
It is, but, in a sense, that's what's happening.
If you can imagine that you're in a place where it's moving,
it's really, really fast moving...
I guess that's the thing, we're not getting that.
Capturing the energy and life of the scene
is exactly what Anne has tried to do
but the judges don't seem convinced she's pulled it off.
Although I haven't got a problem with the top third of the painting, the background itself.
-It looks like a billboard, it bears no real relation to the real action in front.
-I quite like that.
Well, effectively, it's a lot of studies.
-Very, very good studies, in my opinion...
..but studies, nonetheless, of people doing things -
actions, strong actions, looking a certain way.
So you have individual life, so it makes a lot of sense
but it doesn't necessarily gel together as a working composition.
People go, "Oh, gosh, that's like a photograph,"
and sometimes, sometimes I take it as a compliment but sometimes not.
Because the idea is not to, sort of, to copy a photograph.
Anne's come in for some criticism there
but is she still in with a chance?
I think it's a vibrant picture...
the technique is competent...
I'm not sure that's an appropriate term in this case.
There is something in the that you control the paint so much,
that you can't help but lose something more vital
from the actual figures.
It's such a busy, vibrant, exciting scene,
it's just not communicating that kind of excitement to me.
Are Anne's chances of going through slipping away?
I think as far as an artist selling her work goes,
I see no reason why you wouldn't sell this, and the next one,
and the next one, and the next one.
It's very, very pleasing...but whether it's going to be
the right thing for our exhibition or not is another matter.
This is the moment of truth for Anne.
She HAS to make a living from her art
and going through to the exhibition could bring in some much needed cash.
It has failings and it's, it's tourist art...
but...yeah, I think it's OK.
I just don't feel what you feel.
JUST a no from me. Sorry.
I'm very much on the cusp and I could go either way.
It does have a lot of energy...
it's very controlled.
-I think I'm going to say yes.
-Oh, thank you!
Well, that vote was on a knife-edge!
But Anne's through and if she manages to sell
it could help patch up her rocky finances.
Well, I know I was outvoted but I'm not wholly sad, I have to say.
There's something about it.
The Mall Galleries, London,
and Anne's market scene cut a colourful dash on the walls here.
The public, gallery owners, art dealers
and collectors were all invited,
and Anne worked hard to net a sale for her fishing scene.
Well, I'd like to meet gallery owners and anybody who's interested in buying art.
I'd like to do this full-time, so if I can meet a gallery,
you know, that will, sort of, take my works on a regular basis,
or somebody who would be interested in collecting,
you know, that would be perfect, yeah.
The public were invited to make sealed bids to an independent agent,
who would take a 10% commission on sales.
The results of the bidding were placed in a sealed envelope,
to be revealed to the artist and the public on the final day of the exhibition.
Not even I knew what the bids were until I opened the envelope.
You had a massive smile on your face last night,
you looked as if you were having a ball.
I was just loving it, it was fantastic, I really was.
It was, I had a good time.
Did you meet gallery owners? People with a bit of cash?
I didn't want to eye up their pockets too much
-but, yes, I did meet a few gallery owners.
-I like to hear it.
In this envelope we're going to find out exactly what went on last night,
whether you sold this piece, this piece that you love.
-I love it, I really do.
How much did you want for this?
-I put it up for £1,500.
-That's right, yeah.
-It's been hanging in her house for a while...
-Has it been in your house?
-I've been watching it.
So have you got a big space in your house now, where it used to be?
-Yeah, she gave me something else, not quite anything like this.
-No, not quite like this, OK!
Right, £1,500 seems a fair price, doesn't it?
OK, so, Anne, let's find out exactly what happened last night.
I see your sister holding her breath!
OK, here we go.
So, you wanted £1,500, Anne.
-You didn't get any offers, I'm afraid.
-Oh! That's a shame, yeah.
-Which we're flabbergasted by, aren't we?
-But the great news is you can have it back in your house!
-I'd rather she had the £1,500.
-Yeah, I bet, I bet.
Well, Anne, it's been a real pleasure to meet you,
and I'm sorry it didn't sell but congratulations.
You made it to our exhibition. Give her a round of applause.
-Lovely to meet you. I'm sorry about that.
'Despite not selling, the latest news is that, following the exhibition,
'Anne was successfully signed to an online gallery.'
Next up in front of the Hanging Committee, at the palace,
is 31-year-old photographer Alan Whitfield
from Colwyn Bay, in North Wales.
He spent ten years working in a factory
before realising that he'd hit a low point
and wanted something more from his life.
-Nice to meet you.
-Nice to meet you.
I was off work for about six months with depression,
which was partly caused, I think, by working in the job.
So was that the turning point for you? You said, "Well, I've got to do something different."
Well, as a child I remember taking a photograph that everyone raved off,
they said it was really well composed and stuff,
and then it kind of bobbled along,
and it was like, "I've got to do something with my life,"
cos it really cut me up, just standing there doing the same job every day.
And then I started a GCSE in photography,
and it was like, "Oh! I can do this education thing!"
And then, and then I've just completed my degree last year.
Now you're a photographer, what would it mean to you? I mean, have you ever exhibited before?
I've only done stuff up in Wales, in North Wales.
So, yeah, to get something in London would be pretty special.
And what would you do if you sold at the exhibition, with that money?
Well, it's been a, it's been a long struggle
and I've been supported by my girlfriend all the way through,
so I definitely think I'd like to go away, just somewhere nice,
just cos I've not been away for ten years now, so...
-Right, so treat her a holi... What's her name?
..a holiday could be looming for her. A well-deserved one, eh?
-Lovely to meet you.
And away you go through that door.
Art's helped Alan beat depression.
Getting through to the exhibition could be the start of a bright new future for him.
He needs the judges to give his photograph,
entitled Empty Space, the thumbs up
if he's to complete his journey from factory worker to fine artist.
-Hi, you OK?
-Welcome to the Hanging Committee.
Please tell us about your work.
So, obviously, with the downturn in the economy at the moment,
I thought it would be nice, "How could I document something?"
So I'm noticing more and more empty shops where I live in Colwyn Bay.
So I go into Woolworths, this was all that was left,
but what I wanted to do as well, with the light,
is I think the light captures the hope
and what's kept me going through where I've got to now
in my career, sort of thing.
-And what valuation do you put on this work?
We'll come and take a closer look.
Alan can hardly bear to watch as the judges move in to examine his work.
Will it show enough skill to make it through?
What they want to see is originality, technical skill
and emotional impact.
Why did you put the shopping trolley in the centre of your picture?
I swear down the shopping trolley was there.
That was the thing that draw me to it,
I would never move something in an image.
And it was just, I decided, "I've got to take it,"
because it just shows, like, the last stand of the building.
Why didn't you move the shopping trolley?
I don't know. I thought it give it a bit of depth,
I think that's why I wanted it there.
People may relate, as well, to the trolleys being in Woolworths,
and filling them with pick 'n' mix, and stuff like that, and things.
-A lot of pick 'n' mix!
There's something about this photograph, Alan,
that just told me this was Woolworths.
It reminds me of the Woolworths I know in St Ives very well.
-It's very evocative of what's...
-Even though it's in black and white,
we know what colour them floor tiles are.
Them red and cream floor tiles,
-you can feel them crunching under your feet.
-The low ceilings, yes.
-The metal doors that they had...
-I'm there with you!
The subject has struck a chord with Charlotte...
I thought that was the work
of a pretty established commercial photographer.
Is that new to you? Or...
Yeah, pretty much. I mean, I've only graduated last year.
-What did you do before that then?
-Worked in a factory. Yeah.
-How did you...?
-I operated a laser-cutting machine,
which was challenging(!)
How did you decide...? It's a big move, going from factory work
to deciding, "Right, I'm going to be a photographer?"
I had a bit of a bad time with depression and stuff...
caused by wanting to make something better of myself.
So, I've gone on to university and now to say I've got a degree is,
well, more than I can ever have expected, to be honest.
Alan's history has surprised the judges.
They credited this photograph to a more established photographer,
not a recent graduate.
So far, so good.
I'm very distracted by the shopping trolley.
The trolley has a sense of humour about it
that takes away from the power that that image should have for me.
It seems the trolley is really bugging Roy,
so Alan may have lost his vote.
I agree with Roy about the trolley.
It could have worked as a, some sort of symbol...
but it doesn't, it looks somehow out of place.
And without it, it could have been so many other things,
it could have been about what happened before?
What was this space? Why is it empty? That sort of thing.
I think...you'll have worked out by now
that we'd all have liked you to nudge that trolley out the way.
Leaving it there, it doesn't seem that original
but it is just maybe that experience
of knowing to not take it centre stage.
Right, vote time. Roy, would you like to go first?
Alan, I'm afraid the shopping trolley's done you in.
It's a no from me.
Same for me, I'm afraid, it's a no.
I want you to take away something positive.
Yes is my vote because you deserve encouragement.
-But thanks for showing it to us, I enjoyed it.
-No problem. Thank you.
-Thank you, Alan.
-Thanks a lot.
-Lovely to meet you.
Bad luck. How do you feel?
All right, good criticism. I enjoyed it, it was good.
And I understand what they were saying about the trolley,
I just wish I'd moved it now.
My girlfriend did say, "Are you sure you don't want to put the one without the trolley in?"
-So, you know?
-These women, they know what they're talking about!
Yeah, they know the score!
The worst thing is she's not going on holiday now.
No, I'm just going to have to work harder on something else.
Our last contender to appear before the Hanging Committee today
was Londoner Stacy Brafield.
Stacy works a waitress in an upmarket steak restaurant,
which is not quite what she had in mind
when she left college last year with a first-class degree in embroidery.
But it pays the bills while she builds her career as an artist.
-Hi Stacy, welcome to Show Me the Monet.
-Thank you. Hello.
So, come on then, tell me about you, what are your ambitions then?
My biggest ambition is to have my own gallery, with a cafe,
a residency, so emerging artists can come in,
learn all different aspects of the gallery, curating.
I want to get that far so then I can give back something.
OK, how about you? What would it mean to you to get to the exhibition?
It would mean a lot. Putting my work out there for different people to see.
-The judges are through that door.
At 24 years old, Stacy's got it all mapped out.
She wants to exhibit more but needs the cash to do that.
So she's got to convince the judges that this work,
entitled Botanical Gardens, deserves to go through.
It's made from a stitched line of videotape, wound around pins.
-Please, discuss your work with us.
So, basically, I work with everyday objects.
My background is in embroidery.
My whole work is, kind of, questioning how far can I push embroidery?
So instead of stitching through cloth I've got my videotape
and I'm stitching it through the pins.
This piece, the film is Brief Encounter.
Basically I watched the video depicting different scenes,
and this piece is at the moment where the couple are in the boating lake,
in Regent's Park, and it's, kind of, like, the lake going off,
as an illusion, into the back.
-Can you tell us what price you put on this?
OK, I think we should have a closer look at it now.
If the judges like what they see
it could be a massive coup for Stacy,
straight out of college into a prestigious exhibition
at the Mall Galleries.
-Stacy, you've called this work Botanical Gardens, is that right?
-Yes, it is.
So that gives a very distinct reading of the shape.
And I'm not seeing any connection, visually, with the shape and the film.
So how do you think the film contributes
to what you're trying to say,
without you physically standing there and saying it?
I like the way that it's very subjective.
People can have their own opinions on it.
Obviously, that's my opinion and that's how I got to the piece that I've made.
I don't want to tell everybody what they have got to think of it.
Shouldn't you give the viewer more of a helping hand?
Why should I?
Stacy might be young but she knows her own mind.
Can you see how a viewer without the benefit of all these influences
couldn't possibly ever reach the reasons why you put this together
because you've given them such scant clues as to why you've created it?
Yeah, I think that's an interesting point. Thank you for that.
I think that was a polite, "Thank you but no."
So, Charlotte and Roy have struggled
with what the title has got to do with the piece.
I wonder what David's made of it?
Putting aside all this stuff about Brief Encounters, Regent's Park,
I'm sufficiently intrigued by this.
But am I sufficiently intrigued by this as an abstract form?
I'm not sure.
Technically I like it and in terms of originality I like it.
The question mark is, "Is that enough for our exhibition?"
So, will Stacy's encounter with the judges be all too brief?
Or will they fast-forward her work to the exhibition?
Charlotte, would you like to go first?
I do find this hard, Stacy, but I'm going to say no, I'm afraid.
I'm right on the edge, Stacy...
..for so many reasons I think you deserve to go through...
..but I'm so complicated by what you've presented.
However, I think what you're doing is good enough.
-So it's yes from me.
So, congratulations. We'll be seeing you at the exhibition in London.
What a great result for Stacy.
Fresh out of college she's now hotfooting it to the Mall Galleries.
The Mall Galleries, London,
and Stacy's work was there in all its glory.
She got the chance to hobnob with members of the public,
gallery owners and collectors
and her piece certainly attracted a lot of attention.
Fascinating piece with videotape running back and forth.
Interesting story. Going to look at her further.
'You do need to know a bit about the piece,
'I believe it's a piece taken from a film.'
I see potential there, from her as an artist,
coming out and doing something interesting.
In the Hanging Committee, Stacy wanted £675
but she was keen to bag a sale,
so she dropped her price to £625 for the exhibition.
If she sells she'll pay an independent agent
a 10% commission fee
but did anyone want to part with cash for her video piece?
It was time to reveal to Stacy, and her friends,
whether she got any bids.
Did you make any money?
People were intrigued, they wanted to know about it,
but I don't think anyone bought it, no.
Well, shall we go home then?
-Or do we want to find out?
-Let's find out!
-How much did you want?
What were you going to spend the money on?
Basically, I've got a show in May.
So basically it's going towards helping me fund that.
-Right, so here we go. You've had a great time, schmoozing.
-But this could be the icing on the cake, couldn't it?
-It is, yes.
-You've only had one offer.
But at least that's one offer!
-It's an offer.
-And this one offer was for £625.25.
Well done, big round of applause for her!
Yes, well done Stacy, she braved the Hanging Committee,
stuck up for herself, won over two of the judges
and made it to the exhibition,
where she sold her work for her asking price - plus 25p!
Join us next time
when more ambitious artists brave the judging panel
to see if they too can get the chance to sell their work
at the Show Me the Monet exhibition.
Subtitles by Red Bee Media Ltd
Facing the Hanging Committee is Stacy, 24, from London. She left college last year with a first class degree in embroidery, but she is currently paying the bills working as a waitress in an upmarket steak restaurant. She is eager to get the chance to exhibit her work and network with others in the industry. Will her piece, entitled Botanical Gardens and made from a stitched line of videotape wound around pins, get her through?
Anne originally studied fine art in her native Ghana, but when she came to England in the 1980s her own art practice took a back seat as she strove to pay the bills. Anne has now decided to have a go at becoming an artist full time, but money is a bit tight so she is under real pressure to make a living from her art. Getting through to the exhibition could help turn the corner for her. But will the judges think her oil painting of a vibrant fish market is good enough?
Alan, 31, a photographer from North Wales, spent ten years working in a factory before realising he had hit a low point and wanted something more from his life. Art has helped Alan beat depression and getting through to the exhibition could be the start of a bright new future. Will his photograph entitled Empty Space be enough to complete his journey from factory worker to fine artist?