We’ll fight for our art

Opinion: Chris Hollins
Opinion: Chris Hollins
Share this article
Have your say

IT is the TV talent show that promises to unearth Britain’s best undiscovered artists, and Donna Bramall thought she fitted the bill perfectly.

Producers of BBC2’s prime time hit Show Me The Monet, it seems, disagreed.

“I suppose art is very subjective,” sighs the 40-year-old of Carlton-in-Lindrick. “And, subjectively speaking, they didn’t like my work.”

Now, however, after they dismissed her piece – a skull made of bolts called You Screw With My Head (geddit?) – Donna has refused to get mad, get down or even get even

Instead she’s got herself a website and an ambitious plan to unite the 3,000 other wannabe Warhols who judges also sent walking.

She and two fellow cast-offs – Andy Jungle from Manchester and Karen Jenkins from Caerphilly – have set up a Facebook group called Show Me The Rejects in an attempt to track down the rebuffed Rembrandts and stage their very own rival ‘National Rejects Exhibition’.

“In the TV programme, there will be about 15 to 20 artists exhibited at a gallery in the Mall in London,” says Donna, who was one of the hits at last year’s Great Sheffield Art Show. “But we want to make our exhibition bigger and better.

“We’ve got about 100 rejects signed up so far but we reckon we can get far more than that. Then the exhibition will be held at the end of the summer somewhere like an abandoned warehouse to suit the whole discarded theme.”

Not, she wants to make clear, that the group are having a go at the show, a kind of high-culture X Factor hosted by Chris Hollins and set to air its second series this spring.

“We’re huge fans of Show Me The Monet,” says the mother-of-three. “We love it and we’ll be watching but we’re trying to show art is subjective; that one man’s trash is another’s treasure.”

That’s particularly true of Donna whose sculptures are almost entirely made up of junk such as old washers, ring pulls, bottle caps and screws.

But more traditional treasures like Sheffielder Phil Lockwood’s super-popular cityscape paintings have also been dismissed by judges on the programme.

“I’ve no problems with being one of the rejects,” laughs the 70-year-old retired teacher of Banner Cross Road, Ecclesall. “Story of my life. I think it’s a great idea to organise this exhibition. It’s all about getting people’s work out there.”

And Donna again: “It’s great people are getting on board,” she says.

“Who knows? Maybe the TV cameras will even come along to our exhibition to show what other great stuff is going on around the UK. For now, though, we’re just wanting to track down more of those rejects.”

Famously rejected...

JK Rowling

Twelve publishing houses famously dismissed Harry Potter, leaving it to an eight-year-old girl to spot its potential.

The youngster – daughter of the chairman of Bloomsbury in London – was given the first chapter to read. She demanded the second immediately after.

Vincent Van Gogh

THE Dutch impressionist sold only one painting during his life before shooting himself at 37. Today, he’s considered perhaps the world’s greatest-ever artist.

Diego Maradona

OFFERED to Sheffield United when he was a teenager, but the Blades decided the Argentinian cost too much money. They signed Alex Sabella instead. Who was good. Although not so good he single-handedly won two World Cups.