Episode 9 Show Me the Monet


Competition for a spot at a grand exhibition at the Mall Galleries. Featuring a photographer and two contestants who have had to delay their pursuit of a career in art.


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Transcript


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Britain's top artists make big money. Their works can go for millions.

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Nine million, five. Ten million. Ten million, five. 11 million.

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Up and down the country, thousands of ordinary people are also

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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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I would like to sell my paintings for quite a lot of money.

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Getting to actually exhibit your work in London,

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what else could you want?

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These artists could stand to make some serious cash.

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It's £2,200.

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£5,000.

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It's got 7,500 on it.

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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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I don't think you're going to like what I'm going to say.

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Their hopes are in the hands of the Hanging Committee.

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This is a phenomenal painting.

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The shredder is too good for this.

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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, creative people across the UK -

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both amateur and professional alike -

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have been vying for the 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 earn their place, they had to face our Hanging Committee.

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Judge Roy Bolton has valued art

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for some of the world's most exclusive auction houses.

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Emotion in art is what really matters. Art needs soul to be alive.

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Outspoken David Lee has over 20 years' experience

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in the game and knows exactly what he wants.

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To some shallow people, technique is a dirty word. But not to me.

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And critic Charlotte Mullins has spent over 15 years

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writing about the modern art world.

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Originality is key for artists.

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They have the ability to open our eyes to new ideas

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and new possibilities.

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These experts were the gatekeepers to our exhibition

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and only the very best would be selected to show their work at The Mall Galleries.

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I'm going to say yes.

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Coming up on today's programme:

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Charlotte has a very tough decision to make.

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I really feel caught between two votes here.

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David doesn't pull any punches with one artist.

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Lorna, you described yourself accurately as an amateur painter.

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I need say no more.

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And the judges come face to face with their worst fears.

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Oh, my goodness.

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I think that wouldn't look out of place on a Doctor Who set.

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It's kind of frightening.

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Eltham Palace, South London.

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One of the grandest surviving medieval royal buildings in the country.

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This magnificent setting is steeped in over seven centuries of history.

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Today, it plays host to our Hanging Committee,

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and artists from all over the country

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are lining up in the hope they can impress our judges.

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One of the first to put her art in the firing line

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was 64-year-old retired teacher, Lorna Thomas from Somerset.

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As a girl, she dreamt of a career in art.

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But her hopes were dashed very early on.

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I was a very malleable child. I did what people told me.

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And my art teacher said art college, but the school had other plans

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and the school thought I should go down an academic path.

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And that's how I ended up teaching.

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I just sort of drifted along into it, yeah.

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Were you frustrated then, all your life saying,

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"I really wish I'd gone to art college"?

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I didn't feel that I could go and do what I wanted to do.

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You just did what you were told.

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Even when you were 18, believe it or not, you know.

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You followed the path that people thought was best for you.

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What would the exhibition mean to you?

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Well, it would be absolutely unbelievable.

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If you did get to the exhibition and you did sell,

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what would you spend your money on?

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I think maybe I might get, sort of, grand enough,

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or up myself enough to have a website made,

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or something like that.

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Look at you, going up in the art world.

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You just never know, do you?

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Well, I do know that it's lovely to meet you,

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-and I do wish you the very best of luck.

-Thank you.

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Good luck, and the guys are just through that door.

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-Thank you.

-Good luck.

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It's wonderful to see Lorna, in her retirement,

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finally following her childhood dream of being an artist.

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Her hopes rest on this oil painting, entitled Coastal Path.

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But will the judges think it's strong enough to put Lorna

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on the path to becoming a full-time artist after all these years?

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Hello.

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-Hello, Lorna.

-Hello.

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Would you like to tell us something about your painting?

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Yeah. We'd been on holiday to the Dorset coast,

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and, one day, out we went, and it was this glorious day,

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and I looked, and I just felt, nothing's changed here.

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Nothing's changed for thousands and thousands and thousands of years.

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And I started to look more carefully

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and appreciated the fact that, actually, in that wonderful view,

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there is impact of humankind on the planet.

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So there are odd bits and pieces in there, like the sheep,

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the farming, the fence, the individual.

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But actually from a distance,

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just feel invigorated by that glorious feeling of freedom

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and height and space and light, and the smell of sea air.

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That's great, thank you. What price do you put on this?

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About 300, I thought.

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We'll come back to the pricing a bit later,

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but we'll have a closer look first.

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A really passionate explanation of a painting.

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Lorna's clearly invested her heart and soul into this work.

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I just hope the standard of her painting matches up.

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To make the exhibition would fulfil a lifetime dream for Lorna,

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so this must be nerve-wracking.

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Lorna, have you done much... Do you have much art training?

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I've done as much as I can.

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I'm really enjoying doing my art college now.

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I was saying to Chris, I wasn't permitted to do it from school.

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Because now I can pick and choose.

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But certainly, for six years,

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I've been going to different people consistently.

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What did you do before you started your new artistic career?

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-I was a teacher.

-Ah.

-I was in education.

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What sort of things were you teaching?

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I used to work with students with various difficulties of learning.

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The judges seem intrigued by Lorna's late start in the art world.

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But has she had enough time to develop as an artist?

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There's areas I really quite like. I like the way the sea meets the sky.

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I like the use of the yellow to give that kind of distant horizon

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and the purple in the sky really gives it that rich,

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rich colour you get from a kind of a sky in a way with no clouds.

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I disagree with you about the sky. It's rather flat, that sky.

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I like it for that reason.

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Really?

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But it's contrasted with the...

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This is a landscape and a sky is not flat. I also don't like the figure.

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I think the figure introduces an element of anecdote

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which is utterly distorting.

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You know, it's not actually a very well-summarised figure, that.

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There's a wedge of paint on the left arm,

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which doesn't describe anything at all to me.

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That's his rucksack.

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Is it? Well, exactly.

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Oh, dear.

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What started out as a small point about the sky

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seems to be snowballing.

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David's now picking holes in everything.

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Come on, Roy, Lorna needs something positive here.

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Lorna, the element I do like about this is the foreground.

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It's very free.

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You know, you can tell that the person who's painted it

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has had real joy doing that.

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There's a quirkiness and almost a kookiness

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about the kind of colours you've used and how you've put them across.

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That shows a great deal of confidence,

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and self-confidence in an artist is a very good thing.

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You have a lovely touch in parts

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and I really like your sense of colour in the sky.

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A really important criteria for me is emotional impact,

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and I think this is where I'm not feeling a huge amount.

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Lorna, you described yourself accurately as an amateur painter.

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I need say no more.

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Hmm, someone clearly got out of the wrong side of the bed this morning

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and poor Lorna's feeling the brunt of it.

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She's been waiting her whole life for this opportunity.

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But the next few seconds might feel even longer.

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-David.

-No.

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-Charlotte.

-No.

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I'm sorry, Lorna. Doesn't matter what I say.

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It would be no, as well.

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Thank you.

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-But thank you for bringing it in.

-Thank you. Goodbye.

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-Thank you. Lovely to meet you.

-Bye-bye.

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Come back to the happy room. You all right?

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-It was horrible.

-Didn't like it?

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No, didn't like it. But fair dos.

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They've got to do what they've got to do,

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and it's not going to stop me painting.

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Good. Have you found it rewarding?

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Um, yes. I suppose they say what you know in your heart,

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but you don't want other people to say it.

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You want other people to say, "Oh, actually, this is a real zingy painting."

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Yes, it's a little bit too real, isn't it, sometimes?

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Yes, it's a little bit too real.

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It's been great to meet you.

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-And we are so glad you brought your painting in. All right?

-Thank you.

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-Good luck with everything.

-Thank you.

-Have a safe journey.

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-Thank you. Cheerio, Chris.

-Bye-bye.

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To win a place at the exhibition, we asked artists,

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both amateur and professional, to send us their work.

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And we had entries from all over the country.

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But only the best got through to our Hanging Committee.

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One of the lucky few was Afsheen Nasir,

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a civil servant from Addlestone in Surrey.

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She's always dreamt of becoming an artist but after getting married at 19,

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she started a family, and art went on the back burner.

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It's only now, at the age of 36,

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that she's finally able to pursue her passion.

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Afsheen. Lovely to meet you.

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Nice to meet you, too.

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So, tell me about your artistic passion. When did it start?

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Ever since I can remember. I've always been interested in art.

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It's something that I knew I wanted to pursue, but life is such

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that these sort of things sometimes have to go on the back shelf.

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I mean, obviously, if you do sell your piece at the exhibition, what would you do with the money?

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I'd like to go back to Venice. I've been there once.

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It was an anniversary gift from my husband.

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It was a surprise and so it's got absolutely gorgeous memories.

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I wish you all the luck in the world.

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Thank you, Chris.

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-Through that door, could be everything you wish for.

-Thank you.

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This is a huge moment for Afsheen. She's had no formal training

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and until now has only drawn and painted as a hobby.

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And yet she's about to show her pen-and-ink drawing

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to three powerhouses of the art world.

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She wants to know if she's got any talent,

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and she's about to find out.

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-Afsheen, hello.

-Hello, there.

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Welcome to the Hanging Committee. Could you tell us about your work?

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Right. This is called Monday Evening.

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It's a series of drawings that I'm doing

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exploring space and total vision.

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It's not something that's flat on a piece of paper,

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but you feel as if you're part of that scene.

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This particular one is of me and my husband.

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We were watching TV in our room,

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which is, you know, our alone time together.

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And it was a peaceful moment, without the kids,

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and I've tried to depict that cosiness in it.

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-And how much would you value this picture at?

-About 450.

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-Can we have a closer look?

-Of course.

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Afsheen's work will be judged on three criteria.

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Technical skill, originality and emotional impact.

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To make it through to the exhibition,

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she will need two yes votes from the judges

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at the end of the Hanging Committee.

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Only then will she have a chance at selling her work

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and taking her husband on that return trip to Venice.

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I was really intrigued when you described this as reflecting

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a moment of cosiness between your husband and yourself,

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because I find, emotionally, this makes me feel the opposite.

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-Really?

-I find it quite a disturbing image. The room has been opened out.

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The pictures that you've depicted on the wall look too high.

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The light has become almost like a kind of helicopter,

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all these shadows playing on it.

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It's almost as though the walls are coming in.

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It's as though the room is invading the place of this person,

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who's there by himself. It's kind of frightening.

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It feels to me almost like a sequence in a film where someone's

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taken drugs and the world is starting to move around them.

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That's not cosy.

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The word cosy may have given the wrong,

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you know, obviously...

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It is quite difficult to sometimes

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explain exactly what you've tried to achieve.

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Sure.

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CHARLOTTE: The work has to stand alone. It's how we read it.

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Well, I hope it does.

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So, Afsheen thought she was portraying domestic cosiness.

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But the judges' emotional response couldn't have been more different.

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Is it original? Yes, I think it is very original.

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It's brave of you to try something like just raw Indian ink and pen.

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I think it's a very powerful piece.

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You make us feel that the room is somehow alive

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and the way you apply that cross-hatching is adding

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to how I'm reading this work and it's making me feel a bit uneasy.

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I love the technique.

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I think it's very brave, as well, to do that.

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You know, one false move and you start again.

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It's a very interesting thing, and a very unusual work for somebody

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who hasn't been at this for very long.

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This is incredible praise for someone

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who's had no formal training.

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I've got a good feeling about this one, but I have been wrong before.

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Has she done enough to get a place at the exhibition?

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It's time for the vote.

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David, would you like to kick off?

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Yes.

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Wow! I think that's the quickest yes we've ever had from David.

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But Roy seems to be taking his time.

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I am very 50-50 on this.

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I want to encourage you and I like this picture,

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but I'm not convinced it has the full merits that we need.

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So, I think, on balance, I'm going to say no, I'm afraid.

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Hmm, I didn't expect that from Roy.

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The casting vote now lies with Charlotte.

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Afsheen, I think Roy's mad. I'm going to say yes.

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Thank you. Thank you so much.

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It's a triumph for the civil servant from Addlestone.

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The artist in her is out.

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Her drawing will be hanging at The Mall Galleries.

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But the big question now is

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will she sell and earn some cash for that trip to Venice?

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The Mall Galleries, London, and Afsheen's pen-and-ink drawing

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took its place on the wall of our prestigious exhibition.

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Open to the public, art dealers and critics alike,

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it was the perfect event for Afsheen to make her mark.

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I felt quite nervous when people were approaching it.

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It really does feel quite surreal. I don't think it's sunk in yet.

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But would anyone be interested in buying her work?

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I think there's a couple of pieces we'll probably put a bid in for.

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The public were invited to make sealed bids to an independent agent,

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who would then take a 10% commission on sales.

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The results of the bidding were handed to me

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in a sealed envelope and kept secret, until I opened it

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in front of the artist on the final day of the exhibition.

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-How was last night for you?

-Amazing. It was better than I expected.

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I got to speak to a lot of people. Very interesting comments.

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So it was a brilliant night, brilliant night.

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Brilliant. So, taking a giant step into this art world

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-and being a professional?

-I hope so.

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Good. The other person I saw last night was this one, here!

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-He's there, isn't he?

-He is.

-Explain to everyone else who he is.

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This is my husband.

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Yes, and you've brought a lot of other people here.

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-Are you all proud of her?

-Absolutely.

-Of course.

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OK. Let's just remind ourselves. How much did you want for this?

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I put a guide price of 450.

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-What were you thinking of spending it on?

-I did say going back to Venice.

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-What?

-So...

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It's news to you, back to Venice?

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So, £450 to go to Venice.

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Let's see if you made any money. Fingers crossed, family, friends.

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Here we go.

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Have you got your fingers crossed?

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Yeah, he's got his fingers crossed, good.

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Afsheen...

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You didn't get any offers.

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ALL GROAN

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-What happened?

-I have no idea.

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Well, actually I do,

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because I didn't create this piece to go above a sofa.

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It's not something that's just going to look good on a wall.

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But, really, the whole experience, the people I've spoken to,

0:17:570:18:01

it's just been amazing.

0:18:010:18:03

And, yes, there's a smidgen of disappointment,

0:18:030:18:05

but honestly it's not, it's not huge.

0:18:050:18:08

Well, give her a round of applause. Family, give her a cuddle!

0:18:080:18:10

Afsheen may not have sold her work,

0:18:150:18:18

but it's a fantastic stepping stone in her career.

0:18:180:18:21

Artist after artist stood before the Hanging Committee

0:18:280:18:32

in the hope of impressing the judges.

0:18:320:18:33

But not everybody could make it through.

0:18:350:18:36

78-year-old retired engineer Doug Shaw

0:18:380:18:40

brought along his painting of his home town of Scarborough.

0:18:400:18:44

I feel a great affinity with it.

0:18:440:18:47

You know I've known this scene for, for 24 years

0:18:470:18:50

and I'd never had the confidence to ever try and paint it.

0:18:500:18:53

And it took him quite some time.

0:18:530:18:56

Technically, I think we see every one of your 304 hours

0:18:560:19:02

and feel the love and attention you have put into this painting.

0:19:020:19:06

But for David and Roy,

0:19:060:19:08

Doug's weeks spent at the canvas didn't quite pay off.

0:19:080:19:12

It's almost as though you've painted the life out of it.

0:19:120:19:15

I'm impressed by it, but not moved by it.

0:19:150:19:20

I feel more like it's an advert, somehow.

0:19:200:19:23

"Come to Scarborough. It's the Riviera of the North."

0:19:230:19:25

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

0:19:250:19:27

I think I would have said yes.

0:19:270:19:29

39-year-old dad, Martin Norman,

0:19:290:19:32

wanted £1,450 for his bronze resin duck sculpture.

0:19:320:19:37

It's a piece of mine called "Get Your Ducks in a Row".

0:19:370:19:40

And initially, things took off nicely.

0:19:400:19:43

It's quite hard to be original with a duck,

0:19:430:19:45

but you have brought a smile to my face.

0:19:450:19:47

But David didn't think Martin's ducks had a place in an art gallery.

0:19:470:19:52

It's not original. I see things like that in garden centres.

0:19:520:19:56

I don't think you'd find something like that in a garden centre.

0:19:560:19:58

I think more garden sculpture is perhaps what David meant.

0:19:580:20:02

Which are a lot more crude than that.

0:20:020:20:04

I don't distinguish that kind of thing from a garden gnome, really.

0:20:040:20:07

I can't see this in an art exhibition, I'm sorry. No.

0:20:070:20:11

Next up, was professional sculptor, Madeleine Vale,

0:20:110:20:14

who grabbed Roy's attention with her specially commissioned dog ceramics.

0:20:140:20:19

I can't believe no-one's thought of doing ceramic dog portraits before.

0:20:190:20:23

It's a brilliant idea.

0:20:230:20:25

People either get it, or they don't. Some people walk past saying, "God, they're awful".

0:20:250:20:29

But David was characteristically blunt.

0:20:290:20:31

If we showed that in an exhibition of art,

0:20:330:20:36

in The Mall, in London, we'd never work again.

0:20:360:20:39

I don't understand why.

0:20:390:20:42

Everyone would have a smile on their face.

0:20:420:20:44

-Madeleine, thank you for the smiles, but no.

-OK.

0:20:440:20:48

Care Assistant Samuel Burton was hoping for exposure

0:20:480:20:52

beyond his local area, with his Yorkshire street painting.

0:20:520:20:56

I always thought you could see different colours,

0:20:560:20:58

subtle colours actually in Tarmac itself.

0:20:580:21:01

Charlotte had immediate worries about the subject matter.

0:21:010:21:05

Unless you're local and know the scene, I think it would be hard

0:21:050:21:08

to expect this to sell beyond the Wakefield area.

0:21:080:21:12

But for a self-taught artist, really well done.

0:21:120:21:15

But when it came to the vote, David had a tough call to make.

0:21:150:21:19

You're on the edge, Samuel. Mine's a no as well.

0:21:190:21:23

But do keep working as hard as you can.

0:21:230:21:26

Thank you very much for showing it to us.

0:21:260:21:28

Thank you for your comments. They've been interesting.

0:21:280:21:31

Eltham Palace, South London, where medieval royalty once held court

0:21:330:21:37

and now the destination for hopeful artists from all over the country.

0:21:370:21:42

Next up was 30-year-old engineer, Michelle Deakin from Birmingham.

0:21:430:21:47

Michelle has two passions in life - photography and insects.

0:21:470:21:53

She's hoping to combine the two

0:21:530:21:56

by pursuing a career taking pictures of bugs.

0:21:560:21:58

How has this sort of culminated?

0:21:580:22:01

I mean, apart from whizzing around with your camera.

0:22:010:22:03

Have you gone to college?

0:22:030:22:04

Oh, no college. It's all been magazines. Or just the internet.

0:22:040:22:07

If I see a photo and I think, "Oh, I like that",

0:22:070:22:09

I'll try and find out how it's done and try it out myself.

0:22:090:22:13

-So completely self-taught?

-Completely self-taught, yes.

0:22:130:22:16

My goodness.

0:22:160:22:18

What would you do if you sold at the exhibition, your piece?

0:22:180:22:21

I think I would try and start putting more pieces

0:22:210:22:24

and getting them out there.

0:22:240:22:25

Because I've got a lot of other photos, which, you know, I like

0:22:250:22:30

and what other people have said, "Oh, that's a good photo".

0:22:300:22:33

But you never really know if it is unless someone else says.

0:22:330:22:36

Yeah, OK. So, you wouldn't get another tattoo?

0:22:360:22:39

Yes, I would.

0:22:390:22:40

Would you? Look at these fascinating tattoos here.

0:22:400:22:43

All of them are bugs and spiders and dragonflies.

0:22:430:22:47

A ladybird at the back.

0:22:470:22:48

And at the top, there's some bees.

0:22:480:22:50

-What sort of bug would you have?

-Maybe a centipede.

0:22:500:22:53

-Well, I wish you the best of luck.

-Thank you.

0:22:550:22:57

I love that, and I hope you have a centipede

0:22:570:23:00

to join the rest of the insects there.

0:23:000:23:02

-Away you go and the very best of luck.

-Thank you.

0:23:020:23:05

This really is a huge opportunity for Michelle.

0:23:090:23:12

She's had no formal training as a photographer,

0:23:120:23:14

and any criticism has come from friends and family.

0:23:140:23:17

Now she has three judges to impress, who take their art very seriously.

0:23:170:23:23

What will they make of her creepy-crawly photo?

0:23:230:23:26

Oh, my goodness. I hate spiders.

0:23:280:23:30

An arachnophobe on the panel. Not a great start.

0:23:320:23:34

My son has a pet tarantula called Frank Lampard.

0:23:340:23:38

That's weird on so many levels, David.

0:23:420:23:44

Michelle, please introduce your work.

0:23:520:23:54

This is Silhouette Spider.

0:23:540:23:56

It was took about two years ago,

0:23:560:23:58

down a country park near where I live, around October time,

0:23:580:24:02

and that's how I got the background colours of the grass,

0:24:020:24:05

which had been dying out, and the trees,

0:24:050:24:09

which had still yet to turn and drop their leaves.

0:24:090:24:12

And the spider's waiting for winter to come.

0:24:120:24:15

What price do you put on this work, Michelle?

0:24:170:24:19

I put £100 on this piece.

0:24:190:24:22

Thank you.

0:24:220:24:24

I'm going to now say, we'll take a closer look.

0:24:240:24:26

Oh, my goodness.

0:24:260:24:28

Calm down, Charlotte. It's only a photograph.

0:24:290:24:31

If Michelle gets a place at the exhibition,

0:24:310:24:34

it'll be an incredible validation for this self-taught photographer.

0:24:340:24:37

But has she done enough to impress three very demanding critics?

0:24:400:24:45

Michelle, being an observant fellow that I am,

0:24:510:24:53

-I couldn't help notice the spider tattoo on your arm.

-Yes.

0:24:530:24:57

So, this is a recurring love?

0:24:590:25:00

Yes, it is. It's as much as a hobby as my photography is a hobby.

0:25:000:25:06

Any bugs that I come across, any animal.

0:25:060:25:09

I love that side of it, because you can't pose them.

0:25:090:25:11

You have to take them how you find them.

0:25:110:25:14

You can't poke it, because it'll just run away.

0:25:140:25:17

Would you see yourself becoming a nature photographer?

0:25:170:25:20

Yes, I would love to.

0:25:200:25:22

Not just England, but travel and find any bugs, anywhere.

0:25:220:25:26

I would love that.

0:25:260:25:27

There's no doubting Michelle's enthusiasm for bugs,

0:25:270:25:29

but do her photography skills match up to her passion?

0:25:290:25:33

I don't think that's an interesting composition,

0:25:350:25:39

and the background is, you know, too heavy on the mustard for me.

0:25:390:25:44

If you're going to take pictures of nature,

0:25:450:25:49

they're going to have to be a great deal more revelatory

0:25:490:25:53

than that one is.

0:25:530:25:54

The criticism that I would have of this bug itself

0:25:570:25:59

is it's not as sharp as I'd like it to be.

0:25:590:26:01

There's enough detail that it's not just a vague silhouette.

0:26:010:26:05

You can see hairs on its legs.

0:26:050:26:07

But once you start staring at that,

0:26:070:26:09

you want to see everything in a very textbook way.

0:26:090:26:12

Hmm, I'm not sure Miss Arachnophobe would agree with you there, Roy.

0:26:130:26:16

Hairy spider's legs? Charlotte's got to be loving this.

0:26:160:26:19

Michelle, this is an incredibly stylish treatment of a spider.

0:26:220:26:26

By that I mean, the background is blurry and abstract,

0:26:280:26:31

the spider is a silhouette of a spider.

0:26:310:26:33

If you want to pursue a career as a nature photographer

0:26:330:26:36

and travel worldwide, you will have to show more of the insect

0:26:360:26:40

or object you're photographing.

0:26:400:26:42

If you want to be an artist,

0:26:420:26:45

we need to see more of you in the image we look at.

0:26:450:26:49

You need to probably, in yourself, decide which way you want to go

0:26:490:26:52

and go that way more forcefully.

0:26:520:26:54

In terms of emotional impact,

0:26:540:26:56

I can say my heart is beating twice as fast as normal,

0:26:560:26:59

but that is not for the right reasons.

0:26:590:27:02

It sounds like Michelle has an important choice to make.

0:27:040:27:06

Is she a fine artist, or a nature photographer?

0:27:060:27:10

I have a feeling the next few seconds will help her decide.

0:27:100:27:14

-David. I'm going to start with you.

-No.

0:27:190:27:21

Roy?

0:27:230:27:24

I'd like to see more of you in your photographs.

0:27:240:27:27

No.

0:27:280:27:30

I'm afraid it's no from me too. But lovely to meet you, and good luck.

0:27:310:27:35

-OK, thank you.

-Thank you.

0:27:350:27:38

It's three nos.

0:27:380:27:40

This bug-mad photographer won't be going through to the exhibition,

0:27:400:27:43

but hopefully the judges' comments

0:27:430:27:46

will leave her with a lot of food for thought.

0:27:460:27:48

Michelle, bad luck.

0:27:530:27:55

-It's OK.

-Yeah?

-Yeah.

0:27:550:27:56

I'm still going to carry on taking photos of spiders

0:27:560:27:59

and everything I see.

0:27:590:28:00

Tell me, what are you going to take away from today?

0:28:000:28:03

Because I think some of it was very rewarding.

0:28:030:28:05

It is something that I can go away and think about.

0:28:050:28:07

For me, to pick which way to go, like they said, the art way

0:28:080:28:11

or the nature way, I've never really thought of it in that way.

0:28:110:28:15

We wish you the best of luck. It's been really lovely meeting you.

0:28:150:28:18

And good luck on that journey, whether it's fine art or nature,

0:28:180:28:22

I'm sure we'll see you again. Really lovely to meet you.

0:28:220:28:25

All our artists have the same goal.

0:28:260:28:28

To show and sell their work at The Mall Galleries.

0:28:280:28:31

Next to try his luck was Francesco Benenato,

0:28:330:28:37

a 29-year-old art student from Italy.

0:28:370:28:39

He's in his first year at art school in London

0:28:390:28:42

and is desperate to make a name for himself in the art world.

0:28:420:28:46

Francesco, welcome.

0:28:460:28:48

-Nice to meet you.

-Nice to meet you.

0:28:480:28:50

Now, many people would say,

0:28:500:28:51

if you're going to be studying art, you should be doing it in Italy.

0:28:510:28:55

I think there is a very different way of approaching

0:28:550:28:58

to the art in Italy.

0:28:580:28:59

Here in London, it's more about producing work,

0:28:590:29:03

rather than studying what has been done in the past.

0:29:030:29:05

OK. So, if you're successful,

0:29:050:29:07

what would you do with the money that you make from selling your art?

0:29:070:29:10

Oh, I pay my rent, I guess.

0:29:100:29:13

Yeah, that's quite important. You just about pay your rent, OK.

0:29:130:29:17

Now, you need two yeses out of the three judges.

0:29:170:29:19

So I wish you the very, very best of luck.

0:29:190:29:22

Thank you very much, and I'll see you later.

0:29:220:29:24

Away you go, through those doors.

0:29:240:29:26

Francesco originally trained as an architect,

0:29:280:29:31

but he came to London hoping to establish a career as an artist.

0:29:310:29:34

So this is a great opportunity.

0:29:340:29:37

He's submitted this sculpture,

0:29:380:29:40

and is hoping it'll give him his first big break in the UK.

0:29:400:29:44

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

0:29:530:29:56

My work is a part of a series of five different sculptures

0:29:560:29:59

and they're all made out of wood and clay.

0:29:590:30:02

The idea is like the eye cannot distinguish any more

0:30:020:30:05

which one is the wood and which one is the clay,

0:30:050:30:08

and I like to give this kind of flesh that colours the body,

0:30:080:30:12

because all the pieces come from a cemetery,

0:30:120:30:15

and the idea is because I like to collect something

0:30:150:30:18

that, in a way, is already dead

0:30:180:30:20

and I aim, with my practice, to bring it alive.

0:30:200:30:23

Francesco's series of works involve reclaiming dead wood from cemeteries

0:30:230:30:28

and then adding clay to make them look as if they're coming alive.

0:30:280:30:31

That's got to score points for originality.

0:30:310:30:34

Can you tell me how much you value your work at?

0:30:350:30:37

This one is £2,000.

0:30:370:30:39

-2,000?

-Yeah.

-Why have you priced it at that much?

0:30:390:30:42

I just felt it was right for that.

0:30:420:30:45

You say this is one of five. Have you sold any of the others?

0:30:450:30:48

Yes.

0:30:480:30:49

Still only a student and already selling his work. Very impressive.

0:30:490:30:54

-We'll come and take a closer look.

-Please. You can touch it, as well.

0:30:540:30:57

This is a crucial moment for Francesco.

0:30:590:31:02

His work is being examined by three of the art world's toughest critics.

0:31:020:31:07

My question is, when wood metamorphoses into something human,

0:31:190:31:25

it can be all sorts of things that are human,

0:31:250:31:28

not necessarily a sphincter-like thing, like this.

0:31:280:31:33

Are you being deliberately provocative in the imagery?

0:31:330:31:37

I just find it very natural.

0:31:370:31:39

I don't really think I wanted to provoke anyone.

0:31:390:31:42

Why have you painted it the colour of putrid flesh?

0:31:420:31:46

I mean you're there to celebrate life,

0:31:460:31:48

yet it actually looks as though it's sort of dead and decaying.

0:31:480:31:52

But you don't really see every day

0:31:520:31:54

the colour or your liver, your lungs, your heart.

0:31:540:31:57

And this is what it recalls, I must say, like the human body.

0:31:570:32:02

To me, it's more like life is growing from something dead.

0:32:020:32:04

It's like a new life or a rebirth coming out of the wood.

0:32:040:32:07

I mean, that way, it's quite fascinating.

0:32:070:32:09

The judges seem to be completely at odds about the meaning

0:32:090:32:12

behind Francesco's sculpture.

0:32:120:32:15

Where David sees death, Charlotte sees life.

0:32:150:32:17

But does it have the originality they're looking for?

0:32:170:32:20

I think it is highly skilled.

0:32:200:32:22

I think you've shown what you're trying to do with it.

0:32:220:32:26

It does feel fluid, organic and also rough and bark-like.

0:32:260:32:29

It has something different about it. I think there is originality there.

0:32:290:32:33

It's very well done. I spent ages trying to find the joins

0:32:330:32:36

between the piece of wood and what you've added to it, and I can't.

0:32:360:32:40

But originality is the area

0:32:400:32:42

where I think there's just a slight issue for me.

0:32:420:32:44

I've not seen anything like that before.

0:32:460:32:48

So, in that sense, it is original and it's very personal to you,

0:32:480:32:51

that I understand, as well.

0:32:510:32:53

In terms of skill, I don't see it's that skilful,

0:32:530:32:55

But I think you, probably, if you failed in art,

0:32:550:33:00

would have a good career in Hollywood special effects,

0:33:000:33:02

or something like that.

0:33:020:33:04

Was that a compliment?

0:33:050:33:06

Sometimes you just can't tell with David.

0:33:060:33:09

Francesco came to the UK hoping to establish himself

0:33:090:33:12

as a professional artist

0:33:120:33:13

and now he's just two yes votes away from launching his career.

0:33:130:33:18

CHARLOTTE: I'm going to you first, Roy. Yes or no?

0:33:210:33:23

Francesco, it's yes.

0:33:230:33:25

David?

0:33:270:33:28

I'm repelled by it. No.

0:33:350:33:36

It's not natural.

0:33:360:33:38

This is it. Everything now rests with Charlotte.

0:33:400:33:43

I really feel caught between two votes, here.

0:33:530:33:56

I think...

0:34:040:34:05

I'm going to have to say no. I'm really sorry.

0:34:080:34:11

-That's OK.

-It's not going to make the exhibition,

0:34:110:34:13

but I do think you should keep at it,

0:34:130:34:15

and maybe we'll see you again next year.

0:34:150:34:18

-That's fine.

-Thank you very much, Francesco.

0:34:180:34:20

That's absolutely fine.

0:34:200:34:21

That was so close.

0:34:210:34:23

Francesco was a hair's breadth away from a spot at the exhibition.

0:34:230:34:28

But for now, he and his sculpture will be going back to art school.

0:34:280:34:32

Gosh, that was so hard. It really was very hard.

0:34:370:34:41

You've got a point with the Hollywood thing.

0:34:410:34:43

That wouldn't look out of place on Doctor Who.

0:34:430:34:45

One after another, they arrived at the palace, all hoping

0:34:510:34:54

they would have what it takes to earn a place at the exhibition.

0:34:540:34:58

The next hopeful contender

0:34:580:35:00

was 23-year-old photographer, Maria Galvin.

0:35:000:35:04

Since leaving college last year,

0:35:040:35:06

Maria's been making ends meet with odd jobs here and there.

0:35:060:35:09

But this lady has big ambitions.

0:35:090:35:11

-Hiya.

-Hi, Maria, nice to meet you.

-Nice to meet you too.

0:35:130:35:15

What would you like to do in the world of photography?

0:35:150:35:18

I would like to work with charities and work on humanitarian

0:35:180:35:21

and environmental commissions abroad really, ideally.

0:35:210:35:24

-OK. You can make a bit of cash out of it.

-Yeah, yeah.

0:35:240:35:27

If you get to the exhibition and you do sell,

0:35:270:35:30

what would you spend the money on?

0:35:300:35:32

I've got a project this year, going to India, working with charities.

0:35:320:35:35

Would that make a big difference also to your career?

0:35:350:35:37

-This is a step in the right direction?

-Yeah.

0:35:370:35:39

This is what I want to do, this sort of work. This is my passion.

0:35:390:35:42

I'm excited. All right. Well, wish you the best of luck.

0:35:420:35:45

-Thank you.

-The judges are through there.

0:35:450:35:47

See you later. Thank you.

0:35:470:35:49

This is a big moment for Maria.

0:35:510:35:54

Getting through to the exhibition and making a sale

0:35:540:35:56

will take her one step closer to her dream

0:35:560:35:59

of working for a charity in India.

0:35:590:36:01

Whether she gets that chance all depends on what the judges

0:36:030:36:06

make of this photograph, called Samso Energy Academy.

0:36:060:36:10

Maria, welcome to the Hanging Committee.

0:36:190:36:21

Would you kindly introduce your work to us?

0:36:210:36:24

Yeah. This is a photograph, which was taken in Samso.

0:36:240:36:27

Samso's a small island in Denmark.

0:36:270:36:28

They've made themselves completely carbon negative,

0:36:280:36:31

like, 140% reduction in their carbon emissions,

0:36:310:36:35

and this is a photograph of their Energy Academy,

0:36:350:36:38

which is the headquarters of the project on the island.

0:36:380:36:41

How much do you charge for your work?

0:36:410:36:43

This would be 550, this piece.

0:36:430:36:45

Right. 550.

0:36:450:36:47

Yeah.

0:36:470:36:49

-Can we have a closer look?

-Of course you can. Yeah, yeah.

0:36:490:36:52

Remember, the judges are looking for originality,

0:36:540:36:58

technical ability and emotional impact.

0:36:580:37:00

Will Maria's photograph tick all of the boxes?

0:37:040:37:07

You've got a photographer's eye, Maria. No question about that.

0:37:150:37:18

Thank you.

0:37:180:37:19

Photographers walk around looking for views like this.

0:37:190:37:23

They look for reflections, they're obsessed with them, aren't they?

0:37:230:37:26

It's also rather painterly.

0:37:260:37:27

The way the tones and the colours work together,

0:37:270:37:31

it's almost like she's composed it.

0:37:310:37:33

I think you've chosen that view because,

0:37:330:37:36

if you stood to the left, you'd get your reflection in the window.

0:37:360:37:40

-Yeah.

-Which would turn it into a completely different photograph.

0:37:400:37:45

And your reflection is, in fact, absorbed into the shrubbery.

0:37:450:37:50

Obviously, the point of the island is about that idea that the landscape,

0:37:500:37:54

-the building, and the people, culture and nature, becomes one.

-Yeah.

0:37:540:37:58

My only slight criticism - I think there's a slight ripple in the print.

0:37:580:38:01

-Yeah.

-You just need to watch out how you present it.

0:38:010:38:04

I think the landscape and everything about eco-technology

0:38:040:38:07

is very important in the picture,

0:38:070:38:10

but I could be Jeremy Clarkson and like it just as much.

0:38:100:38:13

And I think that's very, that's a key thing,

0:38:130:38:16

because when you go after one issue, such as environmentalism, in any way,

0:38:160:38:20

it can put off a great section of the public.

0:38:200:38:22

And this, for me at least, doesn't do that.

0:38:220:38:25

But the image itself is quite difficult to navigate.

0:38:250:38:27

There's a lot in there. It's quite confusing.

0:38:270:38:29

Do you feel it's overly complicated as an image?

0:38:290:38:32

Personally, no, I don't. I suppose it depends which way you look at it.

0:38:320:38:36

I've had reactions that have said it's fascinating,

0:38:360:38:38

because you can keep looking and keep seeing more.

0:38:380:38:41

So it depends which side of the argument you're on, I suppose.

0:38:410:38:45

A confident defence of her work. But now it's crunch time.

0:38:450:38:49

Maria's about to find out if her photograph is one of the select few

0:38:490:38:52

to earn a place on the wall at The Mall Galleries.

0:38:520:38:55

A definite yes from me.

0:39:000:39:01

Thank you. Brilliant.

0:39:010:39:04

Roy?

0:39:050:39:07

It's yes.

0:39:090:39:11

Absolutely, yes. Well done. Congratulations.

0:39:110:39:13

Fantastic! Three yeses and Maria is now off to the exhibition.

0:39:130:39:19

She has a real chance to earn some cash for that trip to India.

0:39:190:39:22

The Mall Galleries, London.

0:39:280:39:29

Only a select few made it through

0:39:290:39:31

and got the chance to put their art up for sale at the exhibition.

0:39:310:39:35

Maria was one of the lucky few and had her fingers crossed

0:39:360:39:39

she would be leaving with some cash.

0:39:390:39:41

I always try and stay positive. Let's keep it positive.

0:39:420:39:45

Hopefully we'll sell it. You never know. See how it all turns out.

0:39:450:39:49

With the room full of potential buyers,

0:39:490:39:53

Maria's work was getting some serious attention.

0:39:530:39:55

But did any of them make an offer on her work?

0:39:550:39:58

All successful bids were subject to a 10% sales commission,

0:39:590:40:02

and the results were handed to me in a sealed envelope,

0:40:020:40:04

which I opened in front of the artist.

0:40:040:40:08

-Maria, nice to see you.

-Hi.

-Did you have fun last night?

0:40:100:40:12

Yeah, it was a really good evening.

0:40:120:40:14

I saw the biggest smile on your face.

0:40:140:40:17

You looked as if you enjoyed every second of it.

0:40:170:40:19

Yeah, met some lovely people. Really good time.

0:40:190:40:22

-Yeah. Good feedback?

-Yeah, loads of it, actually.

0:40:220:40:25

People really interested in how I'd created it,

0:40:250:40:27

and people couldn't believe it was just one photograph,

0:40:270:40:29

so, yeah, it was brilliant.

0:40:290:40:31

Yeah and by the looks of it, you've got a support team behind you.

0:40:310:40:34

Who have we got here?

0:40:340:40:36

My mum and my boyfriend, Joe.

0:40:360:40:38

-Good.

-Yeah.

0:40:380:40:39

How do you think she got on?

0:40:390:40:40

Oh, I'm hopeful, yes.

0:40:400:40:42

-Fingers crossed.

-You never know.

0:40:420:40:44

A few people were interested, but it's different being interested

0:40:440:40:47

to putting your hand in your pocket. Wanting it on your wall at home

0:40:470:40:50

is entirely different to liking it, so we'll see.

0:40:500:40:53

There were lots of wheelers and dealers in there.

0:40:530:40:55

-Gallery owners.

-There were.

0:40:550:40:56

-Could have been an important night for you.

-Yeah.

0:40:560:40:58

I met some interesting people.

0:40:580:41:00

Good. I like how you're keeping it secret.

0:41:000:41:02

Now, how much did you want for this? I can't remember.

0:41:020:41:05

550 was the guide price.

0:41:050:41:06

£550. And what are you going to do with the money,

0:41:060:41:09

if I've got some in that envelope?

0:41:090:41:10

We're going to India in three hours, so it'll be useful.

0:41:100:41:13

-In three hours?

-Yes.

0:41:130:41:14

For the next seven months.

0:41:140:41:16

We're working with some environmental charities.

0:41:160:41:18

It will go towards our trip there, which will be brilliant.

0:41:180:41:20

-In three hours?

-Yeah.

0:41:200:41:22

Right, better get on with it.

0:41:220:41:24

-I suddenly feel panicky.

-So do I!

-Have you got your passport?

0:41:240:41:28

OK, right. So, Maria, let's see how we got on.

0:41:280:41:30

So, you wanted £550.

0:41:340:41:36

Yeah.

0:41:360:41:38

You've got two offers.

0:41:400:41:41

Good, OK.

0:41:410:41:43

Mum's smiling already.

0:41:430:41:45

The first offer was for £500.10.

0:41:470:41:53

10 pence?

0:41:530:41:55

The second offer...

0:41:560:41:57

..is for £650.

0:42:010:42:03

Oh, my God. That's awesome. Awesome.

0:42:030:42:05

-You've sold!

-Well good. That's brilliant.

0:42:050:42:09

-Awesome.

-That's amazing.

0:42:090:42:10

Awesome.

0:42:110:42:12

We're going to have to get that cash to you

0:42:150:42:17

-on your way to the airport.

-Yeah, hurry up.

0:42:170:42:20

£650, well done.

0:42:200:42:22

-Brilliant.

-Well done, you.

0:42:250:42:27

What a result for Maria.

0:42:270:42:29

Two interested bidders and a sale of £100 over her asking price.

0:42:290:42:33

She's off to India with a pocket full of cash

0:42:330:42:36

and a rather large feather in her artistic cap.

0:42:360:42:40

Join us again next time,

0:42:400:42:41

when more budding artists face the Hanging Committee.

0:42:410:42:45

Subtitles by Red Bee Media Ltd

0:43:100:43:12

Coming up in front of the Hanging Committee is Afsheen, a civil servant from Addlestone in Surrey. She has always dreamt of becoming an artist, but after getting married at 19 and starting a family, art went on the back burner. It is only now, aged 36, that she is finally able to pursue her passion. But with no formal training, will the judges think she has got what it takes to turn her hobby into a career?

Lorna, 64, a retired teacher from Somerset, also dreamt of being an artist when she was young, but her school pushed her down an academic route. Now in her retirement, Lorna is finally following her childhood dream of being an artist. But will the judges think her oil painting, Coastal Path, is strong enough to hang in their prestigious exhibition?

Also facing the judges is Maria, a 23-year-old photographer who dreams of going to India to work for a charity. If she got through to the exhibition and sold a piece, her dream could be one step closer. Will her photograph be selected to go through?


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