Competition for a spot at a grand exhibition at the Mall Galleries. Featuring a painting with a £35,000 price tag and a drawing using mixed media including soya sauce.
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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.
For me it's just amazing
to be able to make money out of something like art.
It would mean that my work has a bit more credibility.
It would give me confidence.
You must be mad to come on television, because you've got it all to lose.
I'm really interested, actually, to know what they're going to say.
These artists could stand to make some serious cash.
It's got 7,500 on it.
I'll guess about 3,000.
But first they need the seal of approval
from three of the art world's toughest critics.
It looks to me like the view you'd see staring back at you
from a high street photographer.
Their hopes are in the hands of the Hanging Committee.
I would love to see this in our exhibition.
I'm going to say yes.
It's time to Show Me The Monet.
Hello and welcome to Show Me The Monet.
Over the past few months, ambitious artists from up and down the country
have been facing our panel of expert judges,
all hoping to reach our exhibition at the Mall Galleries in central London,
where, if they did get through,
they'd have the chance to show and sell their artwork.
But to get there,
they had to get past three of the toughest art critics.
Charlotte Mullins is editor of highly respected Art Quarterly magazine,
and author of 10 books on art.
She knows what she's looking for.
Great art has the power to communicate directly,
assertively, even aggressively, with everyone who looks at it.
Roy Bolton is an expert in the old masters,
who's valued art for some of the world's most exclusive auction houses.
Technical ability is the skill to express yourself
in whatever artistic language you choose.
David Lee's been critiquing art for over two decades.
He's known for his dislike of conceptual art
that's all talk and no substance.
In one sense there's nothing original to do.
I want them to surprise me.
Coming up on today's programme,
Roy tells one artist to come back down to earth.
The title is cuckoo land stuff, for me.
It makes, it's got no relation to the painting whatsoever.
And another artist reveals some unusual ingredients.
This painting I use Chinese ink, oil, rice and soya sauce.
Eltham Palace was one of the most important royal residences
between the 14th and 16th centuries.
It was where Henry VIII grew up.
The medieval Great Hall is still standing,
and it's where the artists braved our judges
in the hope of landing a place in the exhibition.
Our first artist to go before the Hanging Committee
was a 50-year-old Russian-born painter
who likes to be known simply as Arina.
She came to the UK in 2005 to study,
and she completed a degree and a masters in fine art.
She now works full-time as an artist, lives in London,
and has exhibited her work in the UK and abroad.
-Welcome to Show Me The Monet.
I was born in the far north of Russia,
and for first years of my life I saw only endless white snow around me.
And when I was four-years-old,
my mum moved with me to the Ural Mountains area,
and I saw the grass and flowers for the first time in my life,
and I think that was the moment the artist in me was born!
What would it mean to you to get to the exhibition?
Any exhibition is a chance to show your works.
And this is what any artist works for.
We're giving you a chance to exhibit in London and I wish you the best of luck.
And hold your own with those judges.
Arina only graduated four years ago
so she's still trying to make a name for herself
in the UK and internationally.
A spot at the Mall Galleries
would be an important stepping-stone in her career.
But will the judges like her painting enough to put her through?
Arina, hello and welcome to the Hanging Committee.
Please tell us about your work.
I titled this work as musical composition, Silence Opus Three.
Because, for me, silence is the music and harmony of the universe.
One of the quantum physics theories
suggested that the universe consists of strings
and they vibrate throughout the universe,
and when we are in silence, we are in tune with these vibration.
And what valuation do you put on this painting?
I suggested the price for this piece, like, 35,000.
£35,000! Now that's quite a price tag.
I know it's big money, but I need for big project.
We'll come back to it later.
We're going to come and have a closer look first.
If Arina gets through to the Mall Galleries
and manages to sell her painting for that amount of money,
she plans to stage an international art exhibition of her own.
£35,000 is an awful lot of money.
For a painting by an artist who graduated less than four years ago.
I recently sold two of my paintings for price range £24,000.
Although that is very significant, it is, still,
we're still talking £10,000 more.
< What makes you feel you can justify
asking this much money for this painting?
I wanted to try.
Well, there's no harm in trying.
And at least she's up-front about it.
But she's being judged today on the quality of her art,
not her price tag.
The judges are looking for emotional impact, technical skill
Has Arina's painting ticked all of those boxes?
It has immediate impact and power.
It glorifies the feminine.
The title is cuckoo land stuff for me,
it makes, it's got no relation to the painting whatsoever.
As an image I like it.
All the nonsense around it, sadly, confuses it,
and it's like white noise and static.
Arina, all the analogies to music, silence, physics, seem to me
to be important to you, but it sounded like drivel to me.
It's a big image, it's much bigger than its size.
And it demands a response.
My emotional response is one of coldness and formality.
Hmm, that doesn't sound hopeful for Arina.
Is this good enough to go in the show?
Yes, I'll go with that.
-Well, that was a surprise.
Arina, you have ability as a painter. But it's a no.
OK. Fair enough.
Arina needs two yeses to go through,
which means her fate now lies with Charlotte.
I feel there's a war raging inside me, Arina, as to my vote,
because it should be a really easy yes for me,
and I find so many reservations going off in my head like alarm bells.
-I'm going to say yes.
-We will see you at the exhibition.
-Thank you very much.
How on Earth do you think we're going to sell that?
I don't think she will, she needs to consider the price.
The Mall Galleries, London.
And Arina's painting with its colourful splash of red
was certainly unmissable at the exhibition.
The artist herself was trying to calm her first night nerves.
Well, I'm nervous, not just about the exhibition,
I'm just...but talking in public, for me, is a big challenge, you see!
But I'm trying to do my best!
But there was no hiding in her garret for Arina
as her painting was quite a talking point at the exhibition,
and she was very much in demand.
Arina took the judges' advice
and lowered her asking price a bit to £27,000.
If anyone wanted to buy her painting they had to make a secret bid to
an independent agent, who would take a 10% commission of the final sale.
I was given the results of these bids in a sealed envelope,
to revealed to Arina at the end of the exhibition.
Until I opened that envelope,
even I didn't know what bids had been placed.
So I wonder how we got on?
Just remind me how much you wanted for this piece?
Err, initially, on audition, yeah, I put, I think, too high price.
So I put my price down to £27,000, which I think it's quite fair.
Right, and what were you going to spend the money on if you did sell?
I would like to organise art contest,
international art contest, which will proclaim cult of beauty.
Well, let's see if we helped. OK? So you wanted £27,000.
Let's see how we got on.
OK. So the guide price was £27,000.
We didn't get any offers. Ahh!
It's fair enough, it's OK.
Yeah, the thing is, what I love about you is you're so confident.
-Yeah, it's OK.
-And you have a market out there already.
And you know, in my case it often happens that my paintings
-sold after the exhibition.
Something of that size and price, people are going to think about it,
-they're won't buy straight away.
So pleased we've met you, and so pleased that we've seen your work.
Best of luck in the future. Thank you for being part of Show Me the Monet.
Nice to meet you. Give her a round of applause.
So Arina received no bids,
but she now successfully sells her work internationally,
through an art dealer, for the full asking price.
To win a place at the exhibition, amateurs and professional artists
from all over the country sent us their work.
Everything from paintings to sculptures
to photographs to drawings.
The standard of art presented to the judges was high.
But only the very best went through.
Up next before the Hanging Committee was 38-year-old artist
and part-time personal assistant, Lyn Aylward from Norfolk.
Lyn left college at 18 and went to work as a secretary,
even though she secretly wanted to be an artist.
When she was 21 she did an art foundation course.
But it wasn't until she was 28 that she decided to really
dedicate herself to art.
Oh, thank you!
When I was at school I was going to apply to go to art college,
but I suddenly had a big crisis of confidence,
and I was too scared, I thought they'd eat me alive!
I didn't think I was good enough, really.
-Oh, no, that's terrible!
Have you always lacked that confidence
and belief in yourself, in terms of art?
I did at first. It's not too bad now. It's getting better!
So what are your ambitions then, Lyn?
I'd like to paint full-time.
I'd like to be, yeah, spend all of my time painting.
OK, what would you do if you did get to the exhibition
and you sold your piece, and you got some money in your pocket?
I have booked a holiday, so I thought it would be quite nice
to use the money, if I did sell it, towards the holiday.
Yeah, to help pay for that holiday. I'm sure it's well deserved.
And I want a bit of confidence from you,
so I'm gonna give my best, say it to me!
-I'm gonna give my best!
-That's it, Lyn!
-The judges are through there.
Lyn has been working part-time as an artist for the past ten years.
She's exhibited in both solo and group exhibitions,
and has sold several dozen pieces.
But she still lacks a bit of confidence.
A yes from the panel could be just the boost she needs
for her self-belief and for her career.
But what will the judges make of her very revealing self-portrait?
-Lyn, hello. Welcome to the Hanging Committee.
Please tell us about your work.
This is a self-portrait, I've titled Scar Tissue.
I had a breast reduction when I was 19,
and having done everything correctly, going through the GP
I still managed to come out looking like
someone had opened me up with a tin can opener.
It was a painting that I wasn't going to paint,
but I saw an advert on TV which annoyed me so much,
which basically had a tagline that said,
"Before you need a permanent lift."
And I was so annoyed that there's this assumption that,
at some point, we all have to go through this cosmetic surgery.
I think it's probably hard for you to answer this next question,
but what value do you place on this work?
I tried to think about how long it took me
and how hard it was to paint, and I ended up coming with 1,250.
-Fair enough. We'll come and take a closer look.
Lyn has produced something very personal to her,
and she's been incredibly candid in both her painting
and her explanation of it.
If she sells this work,
she'll put the money towards a holiday in Boston.
But will something so personal also have a broader appeal?
Is anybody likely to want to buy this?
I suspect, yes.
I don't know how many hundreds of thousands, if not millions of women
have had breast surgery of one form or another,
every one of them bears scars
that they probably didn't realise they were going to have.
Or even beyond the surgery aspect, that there are very few women
in this country who are happy with the size of their breasts.
-They're either too large or they're too small.
So, you know, I think the female population can get this,
even if they haven't had surgery themselves.
Well, if every woman watching this is moved by Lyn's painting,
I'd say she's doing pretty well.
But there are also two men on this panel,
and Lyn needs at least one of their votes
to get a place at the Mall Galleries.
Your face in this self-portrait,
it's almost like you're looking at yourself in the mirror
before you go out and say, "Yeah, I look good."
There's a quiet acceptance and strength in it,
which is complicated enough to allow me further into the picture,
and care more about the sitter.
I think a title that described what the surgery was
somehow, in some way, would help, because I think most people
would expect and assume that this is surgery from breast cancer,
and people will have a very different reading.
Your technique is not at all bad.
I don't think it's quite there at the moment.
Am I emotionally moved by this?
I am not moved by the paint or by the pose,
I am moved by the subject,
I'm moved by the butchery of what you've been subjected to.
And I suppose in that sense, that's...that is something.
So Lyn's very personal painting does seem to have struck
an emotional chord with both David and Roy.
But is it good enough to go through to the exhibition?
Lyn, I think this is an under-tackled subject
that could well resonate with millions of people in this country alone.
You're not quite ready yet. No.
Oh, Lyn, I wish I wasn't in the position to have the casting vote.
I like where you're going,
but equally I don't think you're quite ready.
I'm afraid it's a no.
-Thank you for seeing me.
-Thank you, Lyn.
Oh, that was so close.
I think everyone was moved by Lyn's painting,
but in the end it didn't quite come up to scratch technically.
But David did say, "You're not quite ready yet."
So maybe we'll see Lyn again next year.
I must admit, I take my hat off to you for being so courageous,
you really have exposed yourself so emotionally there, haven't you?
It was just so hard to paint, I think.
How do you feel about, you know, yourself as a painter now?
I feel quite good, really.
I think they had a, they had some really good comments,
and it was really useful.
-It's been lovely to meet you.
-Lovely to meet you!
I know it was a bit of a blur, and a bit of a whirlwind,
but you really have got some talent, you know.
-Lovely to meet you Thank you.
-Thanks ever so much.
The standard of art presented to the judges
in the Hanging Committee was high.
But only the very best went through.
Textile artist Jan Lewis was hoping her fabric-based artwork
would secure her a spot at the exhibition.
It's based on a fossil, an ammonite, that I have on my fireplace.
The fossil's made up of lots of different layers and textures,
and I felt that a layered and textured piece
would work really well, for this.
But it didn't work for David.
You've lost me on this, Janet, I'm not sure what it's about.
I don't get the impression you're deeply interested in fossils,
because that image doesn't say that to me.
And Charlotte felt that Jan's talent should be directed elsewhere.
The use of textiles to make things that are three dimensional,
like a coat or a hat, for example, is possibly where your strength lies.
-I'm afraid it's a no from me.
-Thanks very much.
Next up was former stockbroker turned photographer
Nicola Taylor, with her ghost-like self-portrait.
Charlotte was intrigued.
You have a lot of skill as a photographer,
you've obviously worked very hard at your technique,
and you have a distinct look.
It's a very painterly look,
and it's a very processed look at the same time.
I went out with the express thought of creating an image
based on this story of loss and grief.
But when I got it into an editing software programme,
it felt like it needed something more,
so that's when I brought in the leaves.
But for David, the leaves were the root of problem.
I personally find those leaves a bit obtrusive.
It's almost as though you're using a sledgehammer to crack a nut.
It's windy, right? Here are the leaves going past.
Overall the judges found the image too commercial
and they didn't vote her through.
Professional photographer Quintin Lake
brought along an award-winning landscape image
he'd captured on a trip to the Arctic.
Last year this image won the category of
Travel Photographer Of The Year.
I see myself not as a fine art photographer,
rather than as a documentary type photographer.
But for two of the judges,
Quintin's work fell down on its artistic merits.
It is striking and I am impressed
with the way you got that so quickly.
But I have a problem with it being too controlled, to prettified,
Roy, however, didn't agree.
-I'm going to vote yes.
But with only one vote, Quintin's journey ended here.
Wallpaper and fabric designer Diana-Bernice Tackley
travelled from Cheshire with her painting of an industrial scene
near her home in Northwich.
It's the chemical works.
And it means a tremendous amount to thousands of families
who live in Northwich,
because so many of them were employed here at the works.
The decision was up in the air with one yes and one no,
so it was over to David.
Let's hear it for Northwich. Yes.
Oh, thank you!
But would any of the hundreds of visitors to the exhibition
want to buy Diana's landscape painting?
You wanted £3,500. We've had one offer.
And it's for £1,501.25.
Is that enough?
I regret to say, but no.
I'd like to say, whoever put the bid in, really, really appreciate it.
A big round of applause, nevertheless. Well, done.
Back at Eltham Palace,
the next artist to face the Hanging Committee
was 49-year-old Clem So from Devon.
Clem's always loved art, but he ended up running an online business,
trading vintage collectables instead.
Only recently has he followed his heart
and gone to university to study fine art.
Now with a degree, he's determined to make a living from his art.
-Lovely to meet you.
-How are you?
-It sounds as if you had art in your heart all your life.
But I love the story about how it started. Tell me.
My sister tells me that cos my dad used to work in a chip shop,
and she said that I used to be sat in the corner with the chip paper,
and she said I used to just doodle and doodle all day.
And I guess it's just developed from there.
What would it mean, then, for you to get through to the exhibition?
It would mean everything to me.
It's just in my body and I just need to be out there making marks,
and really, I guess, you know, it would be really nice
for others to appreciate that and share in that.
If you do get to the exhibition and sell, how would you spend the money?
Well, because I was born in this country,
and I'm of Chinese descent, I've always wanted to go to China.
Brilliant. That would be so, a trip of a lifetime, really.
Yeah. It would be absolutely fantastic.
-I wish you the best of luck.
-Thank you very much.
-Lovely to meet you. Through that door.
Clem's taken a big risk going to university in his 40s
and it's make or break time for him now.
He needs to make his living from his art,
and if his judges vote his mixed media drawing
entitled Breaking the Mould through to the exhibition,
it could set him on the road to success.
-Please tell us about your work.
This painting's inspired by a photograph my father gave me
of my great-grandmother.
To me it felt quite profound.
I really wanted to pay tribute to that in a painting.
The body of my work is about Chinese identity.
In this painting I use Chinese ink, oil, rice and soya sauce.
And what is the valuation you put on this work?
-Great. We'll come and take a closer look.
That's a sizeable sum, and if Clem sells,
the money will help him realise his dream
of going on that trip of a lifetime to China, to discover his roots.
And it's the first time on Show Me the Monet
we've had a drawing that's got soya sauce and rice on it.
So hopefully Clem will score on the originality stakes.
But will his portrait deliver the emotional impact
the judges are looking for?
You talked about addressing Chinese identity.
What do you mean by that?
To not have any real connection with mainland China,
I've always felt that something is missing from my life,
and this seemed to me like an, you know,
quite a deep subject that I could investigate in my own work.
So this drawing is loaded with meaning for Clem,
but will the judges warm to his exploration of his identity?
This painting depicts your grandmother...
-..Or your great-grandmother...
..In a scarred, mutilated way,
with what looks like a burn over an eye,
looks like scar tissue and stitching round the nose.
Is that intentional or subconscious on your part?
No, it's not, it's not a mutilation of the person.
I've never thought of it as scars,
I've always just felt it was like a puddle of ink.
That wasn't the impression Clem was going for at all.
His puddles of Chinese ink seem to have taken Charlotte
in a direction Clem didn't intend.
I wonder how the soya sauce and rice have gone down?
I'm not convinced by he food aspect to it,
I can see why it probably means something to him,
but it doesn't mean anything to me, and it's a bit obvious.
- But we don't see it really.
It's a bit obvious, it's a bit obvious in a way, isn't it?
- The rice is tiny in the corner, I can't even see soy sauce on it.
I quite like the rice as texture, just in that little position,
it feels like the fabric on a braided tunic or something.
It's an image of a Chinese person,
therefore we'll use rice and soy sauce. What?
But this is Clem trying to put in what he remembers,
as he was saying, about being British-born Chinese.
Emotionally, I read this in a very strong way,
but it's not the way the artist is intending.
So the judges have found Clem's drawing moving.
But not for the reasons he intended.
Will that go against him in the vote?
I'm finding it very hard.
I'm going to say yes.
There's just a little bit too much lacking,
so I'm going to have to say no.
All on you, David.
Clem, I'm very sorry, but that means it won't be in our exhibition.
But thank you very much for showing us it today, and good luck.
Cheers, thank you very much.
So Clem hasn't made it to the exhibition this time,
but Charlotte did find the portrait powerful.
Clem's only recently graduated, so with a bit more time,
hopefully, he'll be selling enough paintings
to finance his trip to China.
Bad luck, mate. All right. How do you feel about that?
A little gutted.
I think...I felt they kind of misread some aspects of my work,
but it doesn't mean that I won't keep carrying on
and doing more work, cos I think I've got enough about me to do that.
It was a great pleasure meeting you,
-we loved your work.
-Good luck. Take care.
Next up in front of the Hanging Committee
was 20-year-old Tom Davis from Romford in Essex.
He's in his first year at art school and he's set his heart
on becoming an artist, even though he knows it's a risky career path.
-Lovely to meet you.
-So what are your ambitions?
-Um, to be an artist!
There's a lot of fears in that, but live life, I suppose.
I think I'm going to go for art.
What are you looking for from this programme?
This would be good to put in your CV
to get into a masters degree, or something like that.
But other than that, a bit of money for the pub.
-A bit of money for the pub.
-Can I come too?
-If you want, yeah.
-That can be arranged.
All right, good luck. The judges are through that door.
-Don't mention the beers, OK?
-No, I won't!
He's got some guts, he's only 20.
And although he's had some critique from tutors at art school,
this is a whole new ball game.
Three professional art critics are about to tell him
what they really think.
Hello, Tom. Could you explain your sculpture please?
Yeah, no problem. This is one of my first sculptures.
It's influenced by a trip that I had to Israel.
Basically, what it is, is all steel that I've found lying around.
I've welded it together in different sections,
and the rest is just balanced on each other.
It's basically, I've got the idea from, the heard stories about,
in Gaza, how raw materials were being restricted.
And then I found all these materials just lying around,
and I've created something with potentially no function,
and yet is cherished in our culture.
So that's where I've got the idea from.
What value did you put on this?
I've put it at about £800.
OK, and what is that based on? Have you sold before?
I haven't sold before, I've sold a painting for £60!
That's just for my cousin.
-We should come and have a better look at it.
-Yeah, no problem.
Tom must be planning on quite a few drinks in the pub.
He's got some serious political themes
going on about life in the Gaza Strip.
But will the judges get that from his work?
Do you intend exhibiting this with some kind of great tract beside it,
of a political persuasion, saying that this is inspired by Gaza?
I mean, I'm not going to get that from looking at this.
I didn't really want it massively to be as soon as you looked at it,
I wanted a little bit of mystery about it.
But quite a few people have said to me,
I don't get any politicalness from it. But...
I mean, I'm a bit with David, I find your story really interesting,
but it sounds like a story that's been applied to the work,
I don't get any of that from the work.
Yeah. I mean if you look at this,
it looks like it's going to fall over, some of the times.
And I felt that that sort of resembled the same sort of,
with the political situation in the Middle East,
there's a lot of, it's very touchy, isn't it?
So, that's what I tried to resemble through
the precariousness of this piece.
Mmm, Charlotte and David aren't looking at all convinced
about the political message Tom wants to convey. Has Roy got it?
To me this is all about balance and fragility in strength,
which doesn't speak about Gaza or their lack of building materials.
You have lots of ideas at play here.
They, none of them really stick together at all, or gel.
You need time to develop what you want to say, more clearly.
I think as a, you know, it's a first sculpture,
you're a first year student, very brave of you to bring it
in front of us, and to play with that, develop it.
I'm just lost by it.
And in the end, I have to stand back and look at it and think,
"well, actually, it looks like some sort of Heath Robinson contraption
"for tossing pancakes or something!"
Right! Fair enough.
David's never one to mince his work.
I reckon Tom's chances of going through
look as wobbly as his sculpture.
Surprise, surprise. No.
-Tom, it's no from me too.
It's a no from me, but I hope you've enjoyed the experience.
-No problem. Thanks a lot.
-Right, thanks Tom.
So with three noes, Tom's going to have to work hard
to generate some cash for his master's degree.
And hopefully one of his mates will buy him a drink in the pub.
They didn't say they absolutely hated it, just got a lot more work to do.
I hope that you're not sort of gonna get despondent from here.
No, no, no, no. It'll drive me on more.
So what are you gonna take from today?
Start painting more!
I wish you the best of luck, commiserations for today.
-Keep smiling. Keep working.
-Nice to meet you.
-Thanks a lot.
Next up to face the judges is 39-year-old Richard Howell
from Somerset, who is desperate to become a full-time artist.
Richard already makes a living from painting
and examples of his work can be found in houses
all over the country.
But just not in the way he dreamed of.
-What do you do at the moment?
-Painting and decorating.
Well you are, in some people's minds, a full-time artist.
Yes, with magnolia, no doubt!
Right, OK. So I take it that you've had enough of that.
Well, it's a means to an end, isn't it?
It's sort of, it's a day job which pays some bills, so...
So come on then, what are your burning ambitions in the art world?
To be able to do what I love doing.
-Full-time, yeah. That would be lovely.
If you do manage to get to the exhibition and sell,
what would you spend the money on?
Well, I've got, at the top of our garden,
I've got an old building, which I'd like to make into a studio.
Run out of a bit of money, really, so I hope to sort of re-roof it,
that's what I'd like to put the money towards.
The glamorous world of art.
The glamorous world of, yeah!
Trip to Florence, no, trip to Paris, no, put a roof on my studio.
-Is that what it's come to?
-That's what it's come to, yeah!
-Mate, good luck.
-Thank you very much.
-Give as good as you get with the judges.
-They're through that door.
-Thank you very much. Thank you.
Richard's dream is to stop painting ceilings
and start selling masterpieces, so this is a huge opportunity.
Richard has submitted this tiny sculpture to the Hanging Committee.
I have to admit, though, I was expecting a painting.
-Welcome to the Hanging Committee.
Can you tell us something about your sculpture please?
The piece is called Thirteen Secrets.
It was inspired, I was given a box of old keys,
and I quite liked the fact that they, you know,
they all unlocked things and did things that no-one...
Had no longer...sort of...knew what they did.
And I thought, well, I'd played around and sort of hung them up,
and then took it from there, really, and this little container,
I wrote something in the container,
cos I thought that's sort of a...
So there's a...probably a secret in that container.
But I'm not telling you what it is!
Could you tell us how much your price is?
My price is £475.
-Great, we'll come back to that one later, I'm sure.
We'd better take a closer look as we can hardly see from here!
So, there's a hidden message inside the sculpture.
I'm dying to know what it is.
I imagine the judges will be trying to work it out right now,
as they scrutinise Richard's tiny piece.
So what do you think of the, the scale?
I do love a bit of mystery. And then you see an old key
and I immediately get what Richard's using the keys to represent,
it's that unattainable, you find something mysterious,
like an old button in your garden, or an old, an old key or something,
and you know it's got a history that you will never, ever understand.
And there is something wonderfully frustrating about that.
I find the cage more interesting than what's in it,
well, it's all the same, but it's so tiny, so incredibly meticulous.
Copper wire. I don't know how you managed to do that,
not with your fingers, I assume?
-Yeah. They're all tight.
I don't know how fingers that size could twist those knots.
What a fantastic start for Richard.
Charlotte was drawn in by the mystery of the sculpture,
and Roy is wowed by its intricacy.
But I have a feeling David could be the key man here.
I'm slightly sceptical, it's a bit obvious. You know, keys, mystery.
And yes, we do think, "Well, I wonder what's that for.
"I wonder who owned that and what their life was like."
We do that automatically, we don't...we hardly need to be reminded
of that kind of, rather superficial mystery in an art exhibition, do we?
So it's too obvious?
In a way it's too obvious, but like you I'm a sucker for a small object
that's really nicely made! THEY LAUGH
I like it, the magpie in me loves it.
I think it does have enough subject matter to
be considered a standalone piece of art.
My question mark, and it may be a small one,
I haven't quite made up my mind,
is that there may not be quite enough of it to really stand out.
And whether it's original enough to draw people in.
I have no idea which way this one is going.
Richard's Thirteen Secrets sculpture
is certainly a mystery to the judges,
but will those keys unlock the door to a spot at our exhibition?
If they do, Richard will have a shot at selling his work for £475,
and just maybe putting a new roof on that garden studio of his.
It's so small we can stick it in a corner. Yes.
Thank you very much. Thank you.
Richard, we can stick it in the middle of the room,
and I will look at it with pleasure. It is a yes from me.
-Thank you so much.
-That's it, you're in.
But it was a resounding yes for me as well,
so that's three yeses, which is pretty rare.
-That's fantastic, thank you.
-Congratulations. Thanks very much.
-Squeeze his knuckles as you go along.
-Oh! Thank you, thank you.
-Thank you, lovely to meet you, see you.
And you. Thank you very much.
The Mall Galleries,
and the exhibition proved to be quite a draw.
And Richard's intriguing cage of keys found centre stage,
but he kept the public guessing.
Now, are you ever going to tell anybody what's in that, that secret?
No, I'm not!
And for Richard it was all a far cry
from his painting and decorating day job.
It's all been rather a surreal experience but it feels good.
It'd be nice if I do sell it, but I've just enjoyed the experience,
so that would be the icing on the cake, if I sold.
More than icing on the cake,
it would mean a roof for his studio in the garden.
So now it's down to the big question of
whether Richard received any bids.
Any offers would be subject to a 10% commission.
The wonderful thing about this is everybody could get down and...
They were really staring at it, and you were just
-telling them everything that you could tell them about it.
You know, it's a mysterious piece,
so people ask loads of questions, don't they?
-Yeah. And did you have all the answers?
-And you had good support, didn't you?
From someone, who's smiling away there too. Who's this?
This is Doreen, my wife.
Were you helping out with the explanations?
No, I wasn't, I just stayed out the way and let him do the talking!
OK, down to the business.
-Go on, yeah.
-How much did you want for this magical piece?
475 was the guide price.
I'll look over to this side. This seems reasonable?
Mmm. What were you going to spend the money on?
I've got an old sort of garage at the top of the garden,
which I'd like to convert to a studio,
part of the roof, really, that's my...
-To stop the leaks?
-Yeah, it's a bit wet at the moment.
He started off being quite glamorous, didn't he?
-And now a studio that...
-Stop the leaks in the garage roof.
OK. The moment of truth.
-This is where the smiles disappear and we get serious.
-I don't know, Richard, what's in here.
Here we go. £475 is what you wanted.
We didn't get any offers.
Oh, never mind!
-I'm surprised, because everybody was around you...
-..And your piece, chatting away.
-I probably talked too much.
No, you didn't talk them out of it. Well, good luck for the future.
-Hopefully Show Me the Monet has shown you the way forward.
-And you keep making. And creating.
Yeah, on a very wet, wet garage floor!
-Thank you very much.
Give him a big round of applause, well, done.
So, no-one wanted to unlock the secrets of Richard's universe.
But it was a fantastic platform
for him to launch his artistic career
and leave the painting and decorating jobs behind.
Well, that's it for today, but join us next time
when we'll be meeting more ambitious artists
who face the Hanging Committee for the chance to sell their work
at our Show Me the Monet exhibition. Bye-bye.
Subtitles by Red Bee Media Ltd
Among those facing the Hanging Committee is a 50-year-old Russian-born painter who likes to be known simply as ARINA. She came to the UK in 2005, completed a degree and masters in fine art, and now works full time as an artist in London and has exhibited her work in the UK and abroad. A spot at the Mall Galleries would be an important stepping stone in building her profile, but what will the judges make of her painting - and the whopping £35,000 price tag ARINA wants to put on it?
Richard, 39, from Somerset already makes a living from painting - but as a painter and decorator rather than a fine artist, and his dream is to stop painting ceilings and start selling masterpieces. But rather than show the judges a painting, Richard has decided to submit a miniature sculpture entitled 13 Secrets and containing a hidden message. Will the judges be drawn in by the intricacy and mystery of his tiny sculpture?
Clem, 49, from Devon has always loved art but ended up running an online business trading vintage collectables instead. In his forties he decided to follow his heart and study fine art at university. Now, with his degree behind him, it is make or break time to establish himself as an artist. He is presenting the judges with a drawing using mixed media including soya sauce and rice, which is inspired by a photograph of his great grandmother and explores his Chinese identity. Will the judges warm to Clem's originality?