"I say...that's a nice camera" the man said. "Yes, yes...er, thank you" I hastily replied
to the inappropriately dressed gentleman as I tried to photograph the rapidly darkening
panorama which was visually fading before me. "Do you sell many?" he went on
"do you use art galleries to......." he tailed off. Turning, my narrow eyed hard stare reduced him
to inappropriately dressed stone as the very word caused me to drop my lens cap into
a muddy pool with a delicate 'splop'.
'Thank you Miss Vanstone for the disc of your work. You are very obviously talented and
have produced some amazing paintings , illustrations and photographs, however.........'
yes....HOWEVER. It is funny how galleries love to use the word however at approximately
half a paragraph or three lines in to their thoughtlessly written replies to my request to
exhibit within their hallowed walls. I have now concluded that there is some form of
conspiracy afoot when regarding such institutions of exposition.
'We consider that your work isn't exactly what we are looking for at the moment' came the
last reply. "Right then" I said to my friend and ally "let's go and have a look at what exactly
they do consider to be 'what they are looking for' with their current show."
As we walked into the very grand hall, the curator type person seemed to immediately
have issues with our...ahem, let's say appearance (the frosty up and down glance is
a dead giveaway.) She smiled a half smile and then buried her head back into a copy of
Hello magazine probably hoping that the two lurking extras from a Tim Burton film will
very quickly go away.
I was immediately drawn to a very large canvas of a badly painted landscape in oils. The
accompanying literature showed a photo of the artist with a smug expression equally
badly painted across his face which rested on one hand whilst holding a
paintbrush in the other (just in case we failed to realise that he was an artist I imagine)
He was from some posh art school, apparently classically trained and a member
of a 'guild'....they are always members of 'guilds'. I just pulled a face and shrugged
at the inevitability of exhibiting such an inane and indifferent piece of artwork and
was just about to walk away...........then I saw the price. "Seven thousand pounds!" I yelled,
a yell that echoed around the large space, a yell which also prompted grumpy
curator lady to gaze back up from her magazine with a very surly "ssshhhhh."
"Don't you ssshhh me" I surprisingly found myself replying "art galleries are
meant for public viewing and therefor public criticism....I choose to criticise this by
Eventually the grumpy curator responded "you can't tell me that you dislike
Mr. ********s work, he's a genius". I went in for the kill "I am inclined to agree with you,
he is quite obviously a genius, I mean, it takes a genius to slap a price tag of seven
thousand pounds on a puerile, badly painted, self indulgent pile of rubbish such as that"
I went on "and furthermore, the gallery shows equal signs of genius as they stand
to make a tidy sum from commission once somebody with little taste and a large
bank balance purchases the horrid oil daubing". Again, silence.
"I think you two should leave"......."we're going anyway".
As I packed my tripod into the bag, the inappropriately dressed man was still talking,
"that's an amazing view, do you live locally?" I looked up from my activities "yes it
is and yes I do." By now he was showing visual signs of stage one
hypothermia "amazing, amazing....blimey it's cold isn't it?"
I smiled and replied "yes indeed it is amazing and bearing in
mind that this is Dartmoor, it's dusk, it's not quite Easter and you are splendidly attired in
shorts and flipflops, well yes I imagine that it is indeed very cold...well certainly
for your goodself.......goodbye!" and with that I walked back to my car.