Episode 5 Show Me the Monet


Competition for a spot at a grand exhibition at the Mall Galleries, this time featuring a freelance illustrator, an amateur sculptor and a part-time art restorer.


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Transcript


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Britain's top artists make big money.

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Their works can go for millions.

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Nine million five. Ten million. Ten million five. Eleven million.

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Up and down the country, thousands of ordinary people

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are also trying to get a piece of the action.

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They're putting their necks on the block for the chance

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to sell at the hottest exhibition in town.

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It's all consuming. It's everything.

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-I thought they'd eat me alive.

-To get something in London would be pretty special.

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These artists could stand to make some serious cash.

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-What price do you put on it?

-14,000.

-14,000?!

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But first, they need the seal of approval

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from three of the art world's toughest critics.

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Your friend nearly died for your art.

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But the question is, was it worth it?

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Their hopes are in the hands of the Hanging Committee.

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What do I think of this?

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What do I think of this?

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I'm on a bit of a knife edge.

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I feel there's a war raging inside me.

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That's three bells. You've won the jackpot.

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It's time to Show Me The Monet.

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Hello and welcome to Show Me The Monet.

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Over the past few months,

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amateur and professional artists have had to withstand

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razor-sharp critique from our judges in the hope

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they get a chance to show and sell their work

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at our prestigious London exhibition at the Mall Galleries.

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But to get there they have to get past

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three of the most demanding critics in the business.

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Charlotte Mullins is our contemporary specialist.

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The author of ten books on art and culture,

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she's selected works for some of the most prestigious art competitions.

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I'm looking for originality,

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because if a work is truly original, you'll never forget it.

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Roy Bolton is our resident money man.

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A fine art dealer of international renown,

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he has valued and sold works for some big-name auction houses.

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Emotion in art is what really matters.

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Art needs soul to be alive.

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And David Lee is the editor of a satirical art magazine.

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Renowned for his straight talking,

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if he thinks something's rubbish he'll come right out and say it.

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Good technique, through practice, is essential.

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Without it, they'll get nowhere.

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Thousands of hopeful artists applied,

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but only the very best

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will be selected to show their work at the Mall Galleries.

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I've reconsidered. I'd like to change my vote.

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Coming up on today's programme,

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one artist reveals a secret he's kept hidden for most of his life.

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It was about opening up,

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and baring myself to the world in some ways, I suppose.

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And the judges discover a rare talent.

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You don't very often come across work that wants to draw you in,

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and which tells you that somebody is trying to communicate with you.

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Eltham Palace, South London.

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An important royal residence from the 14th to the 16th centuries,

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and home in the 1930s

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to society couple Stephen and Virginia Courtauld.

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It was here that the judges set up their Hanging Committee,

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and artists from all over the country came to showcase their work.

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First to face the panel was art student,

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and part-time art restorer, Chris Fittock, from Lancashire.

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A married father of two, he's a man who until very recently

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had a secret.

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Now at 54, he's in his second year at art college,

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and finally in touch with his inner self, and he's about to stand up

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before three very critical judges and lay himself bare.

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Literally.

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-Hello, Chris.

-Hi.

-Welcome to the Hanging Committee.

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Please tell us about your painting.

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This is my self portrait,

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which I painted from life.

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The title of the painting is called Guilt.

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Two years ago, I started a Fine Art degree,

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and at the same time, I decided also to come out

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and reveal to my fellow students and friends

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that I was a transvestite, a cross-dresser.

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That was unexpected.

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I've been in this position so many times over the years.

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It's a very strong memory of that feeling

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of after that sort of whirlwind

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of what it is in cross-dressing,

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there's quite often that sense of a very big low.

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Because, "Who am I?

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"Why have I done this?"

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You have to admire Chris's courage.

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After a lifetime keeping his cross-dressing hidden from view,

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he's finally laid his stilettos on the table for all to see.

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What valuation do you put on this work?

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I would guess about 3,000.

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£3,000. Have you sold work at that price before?

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No, never, no.

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It's a high price for a first...

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-Yes, yes.

-..oil painting.

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And I would think to knock it down a thousand pounds or so.

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Possibly, yeah. I wouldn't be at all worried about that.

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-Can we take a closer look?

-Yeah, of course you can.

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Chris and his family have been through a lot.

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If he manages to sell his painting,

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he's promised to take his wife on holiday.

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But this is about more than just money for him.

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He's finally accepted himself for who he is.

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So has his family.

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He now wants the wider world to accept him, too.

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-You've chosen to paint yourself naked.

-Yes.

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You have chosen to really strip yourself back.

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Yeah, it was about opening up

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and baring myself to the world in some ways, I suppose.

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To stare at yourself in the mirror naked for a length of time

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is not an easy one to do.

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It makes it more of an emotional painting, I think, to do that.

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Would you say this was in some ways a therapeutic painting?

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Yeah, definitely. I found it quite difficult to do.

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The judges seem moved by Chris's story.

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But, ultimately, he's being judged on the quality of his art.

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It will have to be original, emotive,

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and technically skilful,

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to earn him a place at the exhibition,

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and he'll need at least two yeses from the judges to go through.

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I like the story it tells, because it's fresh to me.

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And I like the nude subject,

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and, "Here I am. I am guilty".

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And that horrible feeling of guilt, which you had at that time.

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It's hard to fail to be moved by the painting.

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By the candid nature of your depiction of yourself.

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The idea you have the woman's heels and the nail varnish,

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hinting at one side to your personality,

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and the male jeans and a big rugged belt on this side.

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And you are there in the middle.

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And, actually, what you're saying, quite powerfully I think,

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is that whether you're in the heels or in the jeans,

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you are still you.

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Yes, that's right.

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As a narrative picture,

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I think you did very well with very limited means.

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You told us absolutely everything, without going too far,

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without hitting us on the head with a mallet.

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So, thank you for that.

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Mm, it's not everyone who gets a thank you from David.

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I'd say Chris has got his emotional message across loud and clear.

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But has he displayed sufficient technical skill?

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The first thing that strikes me is the background

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is fighting with the figure for my attention the whole time.

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And when I get to the figure, I look at it,

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and I'm quite interested, particularly in the head.

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I think there's some lovely brushwork in the head.

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But that background's just crazy.

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It's the foreground, the lower third from the knees down,

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that vies for my attention, in a bad way.

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To do a figurative painting,

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and one foot looks like it's growing into the ground, tree stump-like.

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It's too well worked-up everywhere else

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to allow that to fall away.

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The first thing that struck me was how badly it's painted.

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In part.

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The foot you were alluding to

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looks like a hoof or a trotter to me.

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My latest works were too big to enter for this competition,

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but I think they're much better.

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Well, the panel are judging Chris on this painting alone,

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and it doesn't quite come up to scratch for them technically.

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But they were moved by his story.

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It's time for the vote.

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There's a lot riding on this for Chris.

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If he gets through to the exhibition,

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it'll be an amazing platform for him to communicate his message

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to a wider audience.

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And if he sells his painting, he'll be able to take his wife on holiday.

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Chris, I'm afraid it's a no.

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David?

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No, not yet, Chris.

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Chris, I'm also going to say no.

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But I wish you all the best with your studies,

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and maybe we'll see you again.

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Oh, thank you very much. Thanks for your time.

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Powerful. Thank you.

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Chris has bared his soul, and his body, here today,

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in an attempt to get his message across, and I'd say he succeeded.

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His work won't be appearing at the Mall Galleries,

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but he has thrown some sympathetic light

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on the world of the cross-dresser.

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I think it's got to be one of the most revealing

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Hanging Committees I've ever witnessed.

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You opened up. You told us a lot about yourself.

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And a lot about your artistic ability

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and your growing career, I suppose.

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And by the sounds of it, it's all going in the right direction?

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Yeah. I don't feel knocked back by it.

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No, I feel quite privileged to be here.

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I shall just take this, and grit my teeth,

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and get on with some more work.

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-Well, we are really pleased to meet you.

-Nice to meet you too.

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-Well done to get this far.

-Thank you very much.

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-Nice to meet you.

-Thank you. Bye-bye.

-Away you go.

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Amateur and professional artists from all over the country

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sent in their artwork,

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in many different media, and of all shapes and sizes.

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But only the best got through to our Hanging Committee.

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Next up was 51-year-old Kevin Lee,

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an amateur sculptor from Norwich.

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Kevin works full time maintaining nature reserves,

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but his real passions are travel and art.

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He's come to the Hanging Committee hoping to raise some cash

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for a trip to Ethiopia.

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I love travel, yeah. It's a huge passion of mine.

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Yeah, I've been doing it for, for years now.

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Anywhere? Any type of...?

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Well, I like to get off the beaten track,

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and I would say my art is certainly influenced by my travel.

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Have you stood before critics before?

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No. This is a bit like doing my driving test,

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first day at work,

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you know, exams.

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If, for example, you get onto the Show Me The Monet exhibition here,

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it could be a life-changing experience for you.

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Oh, yeah. I know that. Yeah.

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As soon as I found out that I'd been short-listed,

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I went to work and said, "Guys, I've just had a possible

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"lottery-winning moment here".

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Yeah.

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We're giving you exposure, possibly, to lots of people out there,

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gallery owners, the public.

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-Bring it on.

-You may be the biggest thing since slice bread.

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-Come on, let's have it.

-Come on, then.

-OK.

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Through those doors are the judges.

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-Good luck. I'll see you afterwards.

-Cheers. All right, then.

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'Kevin may be entering the Hanging Committee as a complete amateur,

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'but he could be walking out as an artist,

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'with some serious credibility.

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'And if he sells his artwork,

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he'll be able to finance that trip to Ethiopia.

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'His fortunes ride on this wooden sculpture he's called Fetish Totem.

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'It's got an immediate response from the judges,

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'but is that the reaction Kevin is aiming for?'

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Kevin, hello.

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Hi.

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Welcome to the Hanging Committee.

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Could you tell us bit about your sculpture, please?

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Well, it's made out of driftwood,

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and the actual sculpture

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has been inspired by my travels...

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..mainly to Africa.

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And it took about a morning to make,

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and it represents 50 years of life experience...

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and I'm pretty proud of it.

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Wonderful. Can you tell us what price you put on this?

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Well, I put £1,500 on it.

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But, in my opinion, it's probably worth ten times that.

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Right, OK. So how did you arrive at 1,500, then?

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Well, I've made lots of smaller masks and wall hangings,

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and I usually sell those for round about 300.

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So this is a significant step up, but it is a bigger piece of work.

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It is, but you have to chance your arm a bit.

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If somebody's prepared to pay 300 for your work,

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you think, "Let's put it up a bit".

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Love your approach, Kevin.

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He made his sculpture in a morning,

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and now he's taking a bit of a punt on the valuation.

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-I think we should probably have a closer look at it now.

-Sure.

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-That's it. Smell it.

-Yeah, yeah.

-Enjoy it.

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-Smells of driftwood.

-HE LAUGHS

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Slightly burnt campfire, slightly tarry, slightly...

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-Earthy, it's earthy.

-Salty, earthy, yeah.

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Nice work, Kevin. Trying to push a new judging criteria on Roy.

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"Does the art smell nice?"

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It's fairly crude in technique.

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Sure.

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Without the paint, you have a pile of firewood there, really.

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Ah, not the best of starts, having your art compared to firewood.

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It's humorous. When the curtain came down and I saw it,

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I just smiled for 30 seconds.

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I like that he looks like he's just sat on a tack.

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Normally that sort of a little bit of a gag

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is enough to kill most things for me, but it doesn't with this.

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It's got some sort of weight, to me.

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There's just lots of energy in it.

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Kevin, I feel like this is a bit of a guilty pleasure for me.

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I do think he's kind of a crazy Bohemian beachcomber,

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who reminds me of a Swiss Army knife, I have to say,

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with all these kinds of bits of wood flailing all over the place.

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But he makes me laugh,

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and there is you know a place for English eccentricity, I think.

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So, Charlotte and Roy both like the humour in Kevin's piece.

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But is this enough to secure him a place at the exhibition?

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It's time for that possible lottery moment Kevin talked about.

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He's about to find out if he's won the jackpot,

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or if his totem has brought him bad luck.

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For the reasons I've given, I like it and I think it's worthy.

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It's a yes from me.

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David?

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It's jolly.

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But kind of trivial. No.

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Oh.

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Down to you, Charlotte.

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Kevin, so much of my head is saying no.

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But I cannot help myself, I'm going to say yes.

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Excellent. Well that's it, Kevin.

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You will be in our exhibition, and I'm quite pleased with that.

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Thank you. Thank you very much.

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-Thank you very much. Cheerio.

-Bye.

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Kevin's numbers have come up.

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Not bad for a pile of driftwood.

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The question now is, will anyone want to buy it?

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The Mall Galleries, Central London.

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And it was hard to miss Kevin's Fetish Totem.

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The great thing was, I came down the stairs,

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and there it was in the distance,

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and it was glowing, glowing like a beacon.

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And so was Kevin, in his element.

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My stage has been set, and here I am.

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And his sculpture generated lots of interest.

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I think the sculptures are great.

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There's a lovely variety.

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And I think I like all of them.

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'If anyone wanted to buy Kevin's sculpture

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'they had to meet a secret bid to an independent agent,

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'who would take a 10% commission of the final sale.

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'Any bids were handed to me in a sealed envelope,

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'to be revealed to Kevin at the end of the exhibition.'

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Did you get a sniff that people would like to buy?

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To be honest with you, I didn't get any clues at all.

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Well, I've got all your answers in here.

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How much did you want for this?

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Well, I put 1,500 on it,

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but if I can get enough to pay for my parking fees...

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-Right.

-LAUGHTER

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You didn't park near the palace, did you?

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I did. I knocked on the door, but they wouldn't let me in.

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She wouldn't let you park in there, OK. Sorry about the Queen.

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OK, let's have a look, then.

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So you wanted £1,500...

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..for your piece of work.

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Indeed.

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Kevin...

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You didn't get any offers.

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Well, I'm not surprised, you know.

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It's not everybody's cup of tea.

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You either like it or not.

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And, to be honest, you've got to have a big house to appreciate it.

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-I'm so sorry it didn't happen.

-That's all right.

0:17:310:17:33

But it's been a pleasure to meet you,

0:17:330:17:35

and I wish you the best of luck in the future.

0:17:350:17:37

-Give him a round of applause.

-APPLAUSE

0:17:370:17:40

'No sale for Kevin's driftwood sculpture.

0:17:400:17:43

'He'll have to find some other way to finance his travels.

0:17:430:17:46

'But he has exhibited his work at a major London exhibition,

0:17:470:17:51

'and rubbed shoulders with some very important people in the art world.

0:17:510:17:54

'As he said himself, his stage is set.'

0:17:540:17:56

Artists arrived in their droves to show their work

0:18:040:18:07

to the Hanging Committee.

0:18:070:18:09

But the judges' bar was extremely high,

0:18:090:18:12

and not everybody made it through.

0:18:120:18:14

Professional artist Sophie Hammerton wanted £2,500

0:18:140:18:19

for her portrait of her daughter.

0:18:190:18:21

My dream is to learn to paint as well as I can,

0:18:210:18:24

taking on board techniques of the old masters.

0:18:240:18:27

And technique was very much in David's thoughts.

0:18:270:18:29

I found that flying buttress on the left shoulder a bit difficult.

0:18:290:18:34

I think it's supposed to be hair, is it?

0:18:340:18:36

It looks like a piece of wood to me, which is holding the head up.

0:18:360:18:39

But Charlotte was of a different mindset altogether.

0:18:390:18:43

You have created something

0:18:430:18:44

that makes me feel I know something about her as a girl.

0:18:440:18:49

That's a really key thing. Yes.

0:18:490:18:51

Oh, thank you.

0:18:510:18:52

No.

0:18:520:18:53

-It is a no.

-Thank you. Bye-bye.

0:18:530:18:57

Puppet maker Nigel Leach brought along his mobile seagull sculpture.

0:18:570:19:02

Although his technical skill wasn't in any doubt,

0:19:020:19:04

the judges questioned his piece's artistic merits.

0:19:040:19:08

I feel that this is more of a design object.

0:19:080:19:10

It doesn't have a great deal of depth for me.

0:19:100:19:13

Once you've got it, you can interact with the artwork.

0:19:130:19:16

You can move the individual pieces around the wires.

0:19:160:19:20

Which again makes it feel like a piece of design.

0:19:200:19:23

It's got great versatility as a toy.

0:19:230:19:25

You could sell it to children,

0:19:250:19:27

and you could sell it to executives for their office.

0:19:270:19:29

Good luck, Nigel, but no.

0:19:290:19:32

Gill Levin's childhood memories

0:19:320:19:34

of playing on the West Pier at Brighton

0:19:340:19:36

were the inspiration for her painting

0:19:360:19:38

of the now-derelict structure.

0:19:380:19:40

For me, it's a requiem, because I'm so upset that it's just been left.

0:19:400:19:44

Despite Gill's feelings, Charlotte felt it was a well-trodden path.

0:19:440:19:49

I don't believe a view of this pier can any longer be original,

0:19:490:19:52

because so many people focus their attention on it

0:19:520:19:56

when they go to Brighton, and they're an artist.

0:19:560:19:59

Roy, however, dismissed this view.

0:19:590:20:00

For originality, I haven't seen anything like this.

0:20:000:20:04

It's got a quietness about it that I like.

0:20:040:20:06

Gill, it is a yes.

0:20:060:20:07

Thank you.

0:20:070:20:10

I may regret this, but no.

0:20:100:20:11

I'm afraid it's a no from me.

0:20:110:20:14

Photography technician Tom Harrison went up before the judges

0:20:140:20:18

with an image of his father,

0:20:180:20:20

and they had nothing by praise for his photographic technique.

0:20:200:20:24

That line of shadow down the hairline,

0:20:240:20:27

all the detail is still in there, and that's really difficult to get.

0:20:270:20:30

It's a tremendous print.

0:20:300:20:32

But their focus was on its artistic worth.

0:20:320:20:35

It's that line between a commercial pose and an art photograph.

0:20:350:20:39

That's the problem I have with it.

0:20:390:20:41

Is a studio portrait,

0:20:410:20:43

however good it is technically,

0:20:430:20:46

fit for an exhibition of art?

0:20:460:20:50

It's tricky,

0:20:500:20:51

as there wasn't a huge amount of preconception behind this.

0:20:510:20:54

I didn't set out to make a study of my father.

0:20:540:20:57

This is what transpired from the shoot.

0:20:570:20:59

It's a really close call this, Tom,

0:20:590:21:02

but I will have to say no.

0:21:020:21:03

Thank you. Take care.

0:21:030:21:05

'Next up to face the Hanging Committee was 39-year-old

0:21:100:21:14

'Matthew Elliott from Plymouth.

0:21:140:21:15

'This former Marine saw action in Iraq and Northern Ireland,

0:21:170:21:20

'before injury put paid to his time on the front line.

0:21:200:21:24

'Now he wants to try and make some cash

0:21:240:21:26

'from a new career in the art world.'

0:21:260:21:29

You obviously had a serious enough injury to leave the Marines.

0:21:290:21:32

Are you OK now?

0:21:320:21:33

Yeah, it's not something that's ruined my life,

0:21:330:21:35

but it's just something I've got to take care of.

0:21:350:21:37

OK, well, that's good to hear.

0:21:370:21:39

Now you will go and see three judges, OK?

0:21:390:21:41

-Experienced, well-respected judges.

-Sure.

0:21:410:21:44

Maybe some of their advice you may not like.

0:21:440:21:47

Partly the reason I'm here.

0:21:470:21:48

I'm going to get a good, honest, professional critique,

0:21:480:21:51

instead of "like", "like".

0:21:510:21:52

You don't get anything from people just saying, "I like".

0:21:520:21:55

I don't suppose many people would say to an ex-Marine

0:21:550:21:57

they don't like their work.

0:21:570:21:59

Well, maybe my wife. HE LAUGHS

0:21:590:22:01

Yeah!

0:22:010:22:03

'Matthew may be the toughest artist to face the judges.

0:22:030:22:06

'But even his nerves must be jangling,

0:22:060:22:08

'as he's about to have his work critiqued for the very first time.'

0:22:080:22:12

SHE LAUGHS

0:22:150:22:16

'His quirky photo has definitely raised a smile

0:22:160:22:19

'with some of the judges.'

0:22:190:22:21

-Matthew, hello and welcome.

-Hello.

0:22:270:22:29

Welcome to the Hanging Committee. Please tell us about your work.

0:22:290:22:33

This piece I'm calling Eating In The Street.

0:22:330:22:35

It was part of some work for college.

0:22:350:22:37

I was looking at the concept of transformation,

0:22:370:22:41

as part of my progression.

0:22:410:22:42

I came across an idea to do this.

0:22:420:22:44

I suppose you could say it was turning point in my photography.

0:22:440:22:48

It went away from what I was doing before,

0:22:480:22:50

and it's one piece I'm quite happy with.

0:22:500:22:52

And how much do you value this work at?

0:22:520:22:54

-£100.

-It doesn't seem very much for a work this size.

0:22:540:22:57

No, no, no, no, no.

0:22:570:22:58

For me, at the minute, it's more about the photography.

0:22:580:23:01

It's more about getting out there.

0:23:010:23:03

We'll come and have a closer look.

0:23:030:23:05

OK. Thank you.

0:23:050:23:06

Matthew is right at the start of his photographic career,

0:23:080:23:10

which is why he's given his work such a low price tag.

0:23:100:23:13

But he would eventually like to make a living from his photography,

0:23:130:23:18

so will the judges see something in his work

0:23:180:23:20

that could change his fortunes?

0:23:200:23:22

Matthew, so you're a student of photography at the moment?

0:23:280:23:31

That's right, yeah.

0:23:310:23:32

-How long has that been for?

-On my second year now.

0:23:320:23:34

Second year. So, previously, what did you do?

0:23:340:23:37

I was in the Marines for 12 years.

0:23:370:23:40

Does any of that leak into your work?

0:23:400:23:42

Obviously, it doesn't in this piece.

0:23:420:23:44

No, no.

0:23:440:23:46

I'm a great admirer of Don McCullin.

0:23:460:23:48

Huge respect for frontline photographers.

0:23:480:23:52

Yeah.

0:23:520:23:53

Did you see any frontline action yourself?

0:23:530:23:55

Yeah, yes, yes. Iraq, and I was in Northern Ireland.

0:23:550:23:59

So you'd like to take photographs of that nature?

0:24:000:24:02

Yeah. I hope to go to Afghanistan before they leave, for a month or so.

0:24:020:24:07

It's a worthy ambition,

0:24:080:24:10

but for now the judges must focus on Matthew's slices of toast.

0:24:100:24:15

Is this created on a screen,

0:24:160:24:20

or did you actually go to some location and stick some toast in it?

0:24:200:24:24

No, this was location.

0:24:240:24:26

I cooked the toast at home,

0:24:270:24:28

put it in a bag, two bits of wire, and attached it to the drain.

0:24:280:24:33

OK, so, first you identified that the grid

0:24:330:24:36

-looked like the top of a toaster?

-Yeah.

0:24:360:24:39

-And you thought, "I'll put some bread in that".

-Yes.

0:24:390:24:44

And then you photographed it right in the middle of the frame?

0:24:440:24:48

Yes.

0:24:480:24:49

-And showed us exactly what you'd done.

-Yes.

0:24:490:24:53

I'm tempted to say, "Is that it?"

0:24:560:24:58

Ouch! That's a blow.

0:25:000:25:01

It is very funny, very witty. Smacks you right away.

0:25:040:25:07

As soon as it was unveiled to us, I think we all laughed.

0:25:070:25:09

-But how many times can you see that?

-Yeah.

0:25:090:25:12

It's like a T-shirt slogan.

0:25:120:25:13

Very funny when you first read it,

0:25:130:25:15

but do you want that in your cupboard?

0:25:150:25:16

The flack is flying,

0:25:180:25:20

but the ex- Marine defends his position.

0:25:200:25:22

I see you as being a photographer, you shouldn't box yourself.

0:25:240:25:27

You have to be out there,

0:25:270:25:30

trying your hand at different styles and different techniques.

0:25:300:25:35

Absolutely. You've got to experiment when you're a student,

0:25:350:25:39

-so you can find what you're going to do at the end.

-Definitely.

0:25:390:25:42

I like your passion, incidentally. I think that's estimable.

0:25:420:25:46

David's impressed by Matthew's enthusiasm

0:25:460:25:48

and willingness to try different things.

0:25:480:25:51

But, ultimately, it's this photo they're judging.

0:25:510:25:54

Is it good enough to win him a place at the exhibition?

0:25:540:25:57

Roy, I'm going to start with you. Is it yes or no?

0:26:020:26:05

It's a no, I'm afraid, Matthew.

0:26:050:26:08

-It's no from me.

-OK.

-As well.

0:26:110:26:13

I'm afraid it's no from me, too.

0:26:130:26:14

-But I hope you're not disheartened, because...

-Not at all.

0:26:140:26:17

..you're still a student, so...

0:26:170:26:19

And you've got the right idea.

0:26:190:26:20

You've got the passion, which is key. Thank you.

0:26:200:26:23

And good luck if you go to Afghanistan.

0:26:230:26:26

-Absolutely. Bye.

-Thank you.

0:26:260:26:28

'Three noes from the judges,

0:26:280:26:30

'but some extremely constructive feedback on Matthew's piece.'

0:26:300:26:34

-Matthew. Commiserations.

-Yeah, yeah.

0:26:360:26:40

How do you feel about all of that?

0:26:400:26:42

I think they were fair in what they were saying.

0:26:420:26:45

I think they went on the emotional impact on it,

0:26:450:26:48

as it's like a one-off piece, you know.

0:26:480:26:51

But I've taken it on board,

0:26:510:26:53

and I've got some really good feedback, actually.

0:26:530:26:55

I was quite impressed with some of the feedback. So it's not all bad.

0:26:550:26:58

-All right. It's been a pleasure meeting you.

-And you, Chris.

0:26:580:27:01

-I wish you the best of luck.

-Thanks for your time.

0:27:010:27:03

-Bye-bye.

-Bye-bye.

0:27:030:27:05

'Next to face the Hanging Committee at Eltham Palace

0:27:090:27:13

'was 37-year-old Manchester lad, Dean Dermody.

0:27:130:27:17

'For 12 years, Dean earned his living

0:27:170:27:19

'drawing caricatures on Blackpool beach.

0:27:190:27:22

'But he chucked the job in, to make more money as a serious artist.

0:27:220:27:25

'He wants to get through to the exhibition and make a sale

0:27:250:27:28

'so he can fulfil a lifetime's dream of visiting Florence,

0:27:280:27:31

'to see some of the world's greatest paintings.'

0:27:310:27:34

So when did you decide, "You know what? Enough is enough,

0:27:340:27:37

-"I want to do something else"?

-About two years ago.

0:27:370:27:41

Just the boredom of it,

0:27:410:27:43

and the same sort of thing, over and over again.

0:27:430:27:45

I just wanted to get out of it and I feel like I've got more to offer.

0:27:450:27:49

I look at you, you look as if you're bursting.

0:27:490:27:51

I am. I'm full of energy

0:27:510:27:52

to do with art and the painting.

0:27:520:27:54

I'm very passionate about what I do.

0:27:540:27:56

-You're like a coiled spring.

-I feel like one. Definitely today, I do feel like a coiled spring.

0:27:560:28:00

Once I get off, I'm going to go "phew" straight away.

0:28:000:28:02

I'm going to just direct this coiled spring.

0:28:020:28:04

Away you go. Through that door.

0:28:040:28:06

-Good luck, mate.

-Thank you. Bye-bye.

0:28:060:28:08

'Dean is pinning his hopes of getting through to the exhibition

0:28:100:28:13

'on his first-ever oil painting,

0:28:130:28:15

'of an old man busking.

0:28:150:28:17

'The title - Bolero in Manchester.'

0:28:170:28:20

Painting means the world to me. Without it, I feel real lost.

0:28:200:28:23

If I got to the exhibition, it would mean everything to me.

0:28:240:28:28

-Dean.

-Hiya.

-Welcome to the Hanging Committee.

-Thank you.

0:28:430:28:46

Would you like to talk us through your painting?

0:28:460:28:48

It's my first painting.

0:28:480:28:50

And it took around five weeks to paint.

0:28:500:28:52

It's like a realism style.

0:28:520:28:54

It's all new to me in a way. It's not like I've been at it years.

0:28:540:28:57

It's two or three years I've been really practising.

0:28:570:29:00

What price would you put on this painting?

0:29:000:29:02

Maybe two-and-a-half to three grand.

0:29:020:29:04

£3,000, something like that.

0:29:040:29:05

But it will be quite difficult without any form of track record

0:29:050:29:08

to jump in to such a high level.

0:29:080:29:11

-And that is a high level for any painter, really.

-OK.

0:29:110:29:15

-But I think we should have a closer look. See for ourselves.

-Thank you.

0:29:150:29:18

There's a lot riding on this for Dean.

0:29:240:29:26

Until now, he's made his living drawing caricatures.

0:29:260:29:30

If he makes it in the fine art world,

0:29:300:29:32

he could stand to earn significantly more money.

0:29:320:29:36

But have those years sketching on the beach

0:29:360:29:37

provided him with a grounding for a career in fine art?

0:29:370:29:41

For your first painting,

0:29:460:29:48

what made you choose this subject?

0:29:480:29:51

What, a question...?

0:29:510:29:52

Apart from the fact that you obviously had

0:29:520:29:54

a photograph of it hanging around.

0:29:540:29:56

Yeah, I took the photograph myself.

0:29:560:29:58

Coming back through Manchester, he was stood there.

0:29:580:30:00

I was straight over, took the picture.

0:30:000:30:02

It just seemed to have happened.

0:30:020:30:03

I have to say, for your first painting, I'm very impressed...

0:30:030:30:07

-Thank you.

-..with the level you've got to.

0:30:070:30:09

This is a very particular kind of photo realism.

0:30:090:30:11

As David said, you only get certain elements of that painting

0:30:110:30:14

-through working from a photograph.

-Yes.

0:30:140:30:16

Photo realists would have

0:30:160:30:19

projected the image onto a canvas.

0:30:190:30:22

-Yeah.

-And then painted it in. But you didn't do that with this?

0:30:220:30:25

-That's what I did.

-Is it?!

-Yeah, yeah.

-Oh, right.

0:30:250:30:28

That's what I did, yeah.

0:30:280:30:30

One of my problems with this is that this is a painting

0:30:370:30:40

of a photographic cliche.

0:30:400:30:43

Every documentary photographer

0:30:430:30:45

has a beggar-stroke-busker picture

0:30:450:30:48

in their portfolio.

0:30:480:30:51

This is your first painting.

0:30:540:30:57

And let's not lose sight of that.

0:30:570:30:59

I love the little details you've got.

0:30:590:31:01

You can see the long nails,

0:31:010:31:02

and they're dirty.

0:31:020:31:04

You can see the red rims of his eyes.

0:31:040:31:06

You have got the detail.

0:31:060:31:07

Yeah.

0:31:070:31:09

I think if you took that as a snap as you were moving by,

0:31:090:31:12

looking to get other kinds of images, you've done very, very well.

0:31:120:31:17

So, at the end of that, it's time for us

0:31:180:31:20

to come to our position on voting.

0:31:200:31:23

Everything hangs on this moment for Dean.

0:31:250:31:28

If his painting gets through to the exhibition in London,

0:31:280:31:30

he could stand to make £3,000,

0:31:300:31:34

enough to fund his dream of travelling to Italy

0:31:340:31:37

quite a few times over.

0:31:370:31:39

I think there's enough painting for me.

0:31:430:31:45

-It's a yes from me, Dean.

-Thank you.

0:31:450:31:47

Not enough yet. No.

0:31:560:31:58

I'm afraid I'm going to have to say no.

0:32:030:32:05

-Sorry, Dean.

-That's fine, that's fine.

0:32:090:32:11

-I'll shake your hand.

-Thank you very much.

-Cheers, mate.

0:32:110:32:13

-'It's all over for Dean.'

-Sorry, Dean. Keep doing it.

0:32:130:32:16

'His hopes of showing

0:32:160:32:17

'and selling his first-ever painting have been dashed.'

0:32:170:32:20

How was that as an experience, then?

0:32:230:32:25

Very good. It'll toughen you up, definitely.

0:32:250:32:28

That's what you need. The comments they said, I thought them myself.

0:32:280:32:31

And I have expressed that to people.

0:32:310:32:33

-It's been a pleasure meeting you.

-Nice to meet you.

0:32:330:32:36

-Sorry it didn't work out this time.

-Don't worry.

0:32:360:32:38

Maybe next time. In fact, I know it'll happen next time.

0:32:380:32:40

-Thanks, Chris.

-Safe journey home.

-Thanks a lot. Cheers.

0:32:400:32:43

Artists from all over the UK queued up to show their work to the judges.

0:32:510:32:55

Some had their hopes dashed, others saw their dreams come true.

0:32:550:33:00

Kirsty O'Leary-Leeson is a 40-year-old mum of four,

0:33:020:33:05

from Plumstead in Norfolk.

0:33:050:33:07

She originally worked as a freelance illustrator,

0:33:070:33:10

but when the illustration work dried up,

0:33:100:33:12

Kirsty devoted herself to raising four kids.

0:33:120:33:15

Now, ten years later, her creative juices are flowing again.

0:33:150:33:19

She's just completed a degree in Fine Art

0:33:190:33:22

and is hoping to make some money as a professional artist.

0:33:220:33:26

-Kirsty, lovely to meet you.

-You, too.

0:33:260:33:28

-You have four children, right?

-Yes.

-And what ages are they?

0:33:280:33:31

The eldest is 15, and then there's 13,

0:33:310:33:34

I think he's ten, and just turned seven.

0:33:340:33:37

-Wow, so you have got your hands full.

-Yes.

0:33:370:33:40

What are your ambitions?

0:33:400:33:42

I would like to at least make a part-time wage,

0:33:420:33:45

make some money, at being an artist.

0:33:450:33:48

What would you do with the money?

0:33:480:33:50

In theory, it should go back into producing artwork.

0:33:500:33:54

In real life, my 13-year-old daughter,

0:33:540:33:57

a very talented pianist, wants to take up the harp now.

0:33:570:33:59

So I would probably put it towards a harp for her.

0:33:590:34:04

-Money towards a harp. Good luck.

-Thank you.

0:34:040:34:06

And make sure they don't let you cry.

0:34:060:34:09

-Through there.

-Thank you.

0:34:090:34:11

This is Kirsty's second foray into the art world,

0:34:160:34:18

and she's determined to make a success of things this time around.

0:34:180:34:23

But she's got a large family,

0:34:230:34:25

and needs to be earning money to supplement the household income.

0:34:250:34:28

So she's given herself a year

0:34:280:34:30

to turn her art into a profitable business.

0:34:300:34:35

-Kirsty, hello.

-Hello there.

0:34:380:34:40

Would you introduce us to your drawing, please?

0:34:400:34:43

This piece is called All At Sea.

0:34:430:34:45

It was originally part of my degree show installation last summer.

0:34:450:34:48

I read somewhere, a couple of years back,

0:34:480:34:50

something along the lines of,

0:34:500:34:52

"Landscape is a portrait of the soul".

0:34:520:34:54

That's what I am working towards.

0:34:540:34:57

I draw what I feel and experience, not just what I see.

0:34:570:35:01

I use my environment as a metaphor my feelings

0:35:010:35:05

and imagination and emotions.

0:35:050:35:09

Smashing. Um, how much?

0:35:090:35:10

Actually, I was going to use your expertise

0:35:100:35:14

to give me some advice,

0:35:140:35:15

OK, I tell you what,

0:35:150:35:16

shall we give you that advice after we've looked at it?

0:35:160:35:19

-Yeah, that would be fine.

-Lovely.

0:35:190:35:21

Kirsty wants to make money from her art,

0:35:260:35:28

and a spot at the Mall Galleries

0:35:280:35:30

would certainly bring her closer to achieving her goal.

0:35:300:35:33

But the gatekeepers to our exhibition are not easy to impress.

0:35:330:35:38

There will have to be something exceptional about Kirsty's drawing

0:35:380:35:41

for the judges to put her through.

0:35:410:35:43

Kirsty, have you sold anything so far?

0:35:530:35:55

I've sold a few pieces.

0:35:550:35:56

I have been in a couple of group exhibitions

0:35:560:35:58

and a few solo exhibitions.

0:35:580:35:59

How did they go? What sort of prices?

0:35:590:36:01

They were about 250, 350.

0:36:010:36:04

I think it's important that you get them out there,

0:36:040:36:07

so not to overvalue them as yet.

0:36:070:36:10

I would say anything between £600 and £900

0:36:100:36:13

-would be a good idea for that.

-Yeah.

0:36:130:36:14

Kirsty has created this work using pencil and a medium called "gesso",

0:36:160:36:20

a calcium compound, which is mixed with water to make a paste,

0:36:200:36:24

then smoothed over the surface of the paper or canvas.

0:36:240:36:27

Kirsty, I like the fact that you've challenged yourself to put

0:36:290:36:32

pencil to gesso, where you can't go back, you can't take anything out,

0:36:320:36:37

you just keep going.

0:36:370:36:38

I think that's commendable, and rarer day-by-day,

0:36:380:36:41

where people decide to take on something

0:36:410:36:44

technically a little bit trickier.

0:36:440:36:46

So Kirsty's already scored a few points for her choice of medium.

0:36:470:36:51

That's a good start, but her drawing entitled All at Sea will also

0:36:510:36:55

have to resound on a deeper level if it's to really impress these judges.

0:36:550:37:00

I think, even without your title, which is quite literal,

0:37:000:37:03

I'm not so keen on the title.

0:37:030:37:05

Yes, punning titles are verboten.

0:37:050:37:08

I shall take that on board.

0:37:080:37:10

She learns the ropes quickly, this one.

0:37:100:37:12

Particularly for a work like this, which has many ways you can read it,

0:37:120:37:17

it does look like a wake, to me.

0:37:170:37:19

The way that the wake kind of meanders behind a boat.

0:37:190:37:22

And yet, the water doesn't look particularly like a wake.

0:37:220:37:25

You could look at it like the contours of the sand.

0:37:250:37:28

Or you can see it as mountains from the sky.

0:37:280:37:31

I see it as a fault line.

0:37:310:37:32

I used to live next to the San Andreas fault for years,

0:37:320:37:35

and I see it as two plates pushing together.

0:37:350:37:38

I don't know what it's about.

0:37:380:37:40

But I'm sufficiently teased

0:37:420:37:45

and seduced by it

0:37:450:37:47

to want to get to know what it might be about.

0:37:470:37:51

You don't very often come across work that wants to draw you in,

0:37:510:37:55

and which tells you that somebody is trying to communicate with you.

0:37:550:38:00

Although it offers many different readings,

0:38:000:38:04

it all complements where you've gone with this piece, I think.

0:38:040:38:06

I, for one, feel you could look at it again and again,

0:38:060:38:09

and actually your own mood would react with it.

0:38:090:38:13

And that's a sign of a good piece of work, I think.

0:38:130:38:17

Wow, they're all going "overboard" in their praise for this piece.

0:38:170:38:20

Kirsty must be feeling pretty "buoyed-up'".

0:38:200:38:23

Sorry, David. I know you said puns are verboten.

0:38:230:38:26

Will Kirsty's drawing be heading for the Mall Galleries or the rocks?

0:38:260:38:31

It's an important moment for Kirsty.

0:38:310:38:34

She's only given herself a year to start making money from her art.

0:38:340:38:37

If she doesn't succeed, her dream of becoming a professional artist

0:38:370:38:41

may have to be consigned to the scrapheap.

0:38:410:38:44

What do I think of this?

0:38:450:38:47

What do I think of this?

0:38:470:38:49

Roy?

0:38:580:39:00

-Yes.

-Yeah!

0:39:000:39:03

Charlotte?

0:39:030:39:06

-Absolutely yes.

-Yes!

0:39:060:39:10

-As usual, I'm irrelevant.

-No, you're not. Not at all!

0:39:100:39:13

Yes.

0:39:130:39:14

Thank you very much!

0:39:160:39:17

What a triumph for this mum of four from Norfolk.

0:39:200:39:23

She's sailed through the Hanging Committee, and she's on course

0:39:230:39:26

for The Mall Galleries, and hopefully fame and fortune.

0:39:260:39:29

The question now is, will anyone want to buy her drawing?

0:39:290:39:33

The Mall Galleries, London,

0:39:410:39:43

and Kirsty's drawing was in a prime spot, right near the entrance.

0:39:430:39:47

This is quite a big achievement, to get into a London gallery.

0:39:470:39:52

I hope that it can lead onto something.

0:39:520:39:55

I've only been out of university for about nine or ten months,

0:39:550:39:58

so I think it's really great, actually.

0:39:580:40:01

This was Kirsty's moment. She rubbed shoulders with art dealers,

0:40:010:40:04

collectors, and members of the public.

0:40:040:40:07

And her gesso drawing was a bit of a talking point.

0:40:070:40:10

I would hope to bid later on, when I've seen all the pictures.

0:40:100:40:14

There's a lot of art energy on the walls, and that's a good thing.

0:40:140:40:17

It's great to see new talent at shows like this,

0:40:170:40:20

because this is where collectors

0:40:200:40:23

have the forethought, or the inclination,

0:40:230:40:27

to buy an artist's work,

0:40:270:40:29

because they think it's good, or they love it.

0:40:290:40:31

'On the judges' advice, Kirsty set her asking price at £750.

0:40:320:40:36

'Any offers will be subject to a 10% commission,

0:40:360:40:39

'to be paid to an independent agent.

0:40:390:40:42

'As the exhibition drew to a close, it was time for me

0:40:420:40:45

'to reveal to Kirsty the results of the secret bids.'

0:40:450:40:48

OK, let's just remind ourselves.

0:40:520:40:54

Exactly how much money were you looking for?

0:40:540:40:57

-I went for 750.

-OK, and what were you going to spend the money on?

0:40:570:41:00

Originally, we were thinking perhaps Keira wants to take up the harp,

0:41:000:41:04

but Ayrelia has put her full penn'orth in,

0:41:040:41:07

and she wants to go to Greece.

0:41:070:41:09

Fair enough. Right, OK. So here we go.

0:41:090:41:12

Now, you were looking at 750.

0:41:150:41:19

We've got three offers.

0:41:230:41:25

-Really?!

-Yeah.

-Wow!

0:41:250:41:28

Three offers! And the first offer...

0:41:280:41:32

..was for £750.50.

0:41:340:41:39

CHEERING 50 pence comes in useful!

0:41:390:41:42

They do, but the second offer was way higher than that.

0:41:420:41:46

It was £751.

0:41:470:41:50

LAUGHTER

0:41:500:41:52

This is where we get serious, OK?

0:41:520:41:54

Because this is the third and final offer.

0:41:540:41:56

Your final offer...

0:41:580:42:00

..was for £850.

0:42:060:42:07

APPLAUSE

0:42:070:42:09

Hey!

0:42:150:42:16

Excellent!

0:42:160:42:18

How do you feel about that?

0:42:180:42:19

That's fantastic. Great!

0:42:190:42:21

We are so pleased for you.

0:42:210:42:23

Give her a big cuddle, won't you? Go on, all give her a big hug.

0:42:230:42:26

And we'll give her a round of applause. Well done, you.

0:42:260:42:28

Thank you! APPLAUSE

0:42:280:42:30

'And what a result for Kirsty.

0:42:310:42:33

'She sold her drawing for £100 more than her asking price.

0:42:330:42:36

'And she's made contact with some very influential people

0:42:360:42:38

'in the art world.

0:42:380:42:40

'Hopefully, this is just the first step in a successful art career.

0:42:400:42:44

'That's it for today, but join us next time on Show Me the Monet,

0:42:490:42:53

'when the judges will be meeting more hopeful artists

0:42:530:42:56

'in search of success.'

0:42:560:42:57

Subtitles by Red Bee Media Ltd

0:43:210:43:24

Kirsty is a 40-year-old mum of four from Norfolk. Originally a freelance illustrator, when work dried up, she devoted herself to raising her four kids. Ten years later, Kirsty's creative juices are flowing again. But because she needs to earn money to supplement the household income, she's given herself just a year to turn her art into a profession.

Chris from Lancashire is a 54-year-old married father of two, who's an art student and part-time art restorer. Until very recently, Chris had a big secret, but now he's about to stand up before three very critical judges and lay himself bare, literally, with his oil on canvas piece entitled 'Guilt'.

51-year-old Kevin is an amateur sculptor from Norwich. Kevin works full time maintaining nature reserves, but his real passions are travel and art. He's come to the Hanging Committee hoping to raise some cash for a trip to Ethiopia. Will his driftwood sculpture earn him a ticket into the exhibition?


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