Life in London: Visiting an art gallery

Life in London: Visiting an art gallery

December 22, 2019 100 By Bernardo Ryan


– Hello. I’m Gill at engVid, and today we’re doing
something a little bit different for our lesson. We are going to be visiting a place in… Seven miles away from Central London, the
Artful Pelican Art Gallery, which is a small art gallery and shop. And if you visit or if you’re in the U.K.,
or if you visit a U.K. city you will probably see places like this, so this lesson will
help you to find out what to expect if you go in one of these places. It’s also an opportunity to hear two native
English speakers, that will be me and David, the owner of the shop, speaking, having a
conversation in English, so it’s an opportunity to hear an English conversation between two
people. Okay, so… And also we’ll be seeing what kind of thing
to expect if you visit an art gallery like this; pictures and sculptures. And so, we’ll be seeing pictures of London,
pictures of famous people who you may have seen in films, so let’s go in and have a look. – Hi, Gill. – Oh, hi, David. – Hey. It’s nice to see you.
– Hi. Nice to see you. How are you? – Excellent. Thanks. – Oh, good.
– You too? – Fine, thank you. Thank you for letting us come in… – Hey. – And have
a look around. – You know you’re always welcome. – Oh, that’s really nice.
Well, thank you. – This has always been one of my favourites, this
charcoal. Amazing art. – That’s lovely. Lovely detail. So, David, so you’ve been here for a while
now, haven’t you? – Yes. – I remember the place gradually being
decorated and open. – Yeah, well, we met I would imagine sometime around about May
2015. – Yes. – And we opened in July in 2015. – Right, that sounds about right. Yeah. – Yeah.
– So that’s nearly going on two years? – We’re getting on for two years, aren’t we? – Yeah. – I think you came to our opening, didn’t you?
– I did. – When we had Sir Ian McKellen here. – Yes. – And a big crowd.
– Wow. You could hardly move.
– No. It was… – The place was packed,
wasn’t it? – It was good. It was a nice, fun evening; and very
well-supported. – Yes, it was really nice. And to get Sir Ian McKellen to come and… – Quite a coup.
– Open the place was a real coup, wasn’t it? – Yeah, and it went very well.
– And it was so nice to see him so close. He was about, you know, where that chair is away from
me, and I thought: “My god, that’s Sir Ian McKellen.” – “It’s really you”, yeah. – And I’d first seen him on the stage in the
1970s, and been really knocked out by his… – Oh, good. – He was in the Shakespeare play, Richard
II, so that was when I first ever saw him. – So we fulfilled a wish, then, you got to
meet him. – So all those years later, there he was.
– Oh, good. – Slightly nearer. – He was very good with everyone that came,
yeah. – So that was great, that was great because
he cares a lot about the charity. – He cares a lot about homelessness.
– Yes. – He has two pet likes, which is homelessness,
which is what we’re all about. – Yes.
– And AIDS, they’re his two main… main things. – Right. Yes, yes. – So the homeless thing… – Yeah.
– He was very keen to help. – Yes, yes. So you… This is an art gallery, obviously,
but you have this sort of fundraising element for charity? – Well… Yes, of course, it is an art gallery, but it’s a non-profit art gallery.
– Right. – So no one earns a salary in here. Every penny of the profits gets plowed back into
the gallery or at homeless projects, Street Souls. So we help homeless people street-level. – Right.
– And in particular homeless artists through the art gallery. – Ah, so some of the artists, some of the
art we’ll be seeing here today… – Is by homeless people.
– Has been drawn by homeless people. – Yes, exactly. Exactly. Yeah.
– Yes. Okay. – Yeah. Some of it made in our studio at the back,
which I’ll show you in a little while. – Oh, that’s lovely. Look forward to seeing that.
– Yeah. – So, do you…? Do you help the homeless
people with food and clothes, and…? – Yes, food, clothes, sleeping bags,
toiletries. You name it, we do it. – Yes. Yes. – Advice. Been doing it now for about
12 years, and this is the latest iteration. – And are you sometimes able to get them somewhere to live?
– Oh, yes. Oh, yes.
On occasion. The biggest thing for me is when we’ve helped
them and they come back and help us, and they volunteer with us, which that means quite
a bit. It’s lovely.
– Lovely. Excellent. Great. So, let’s have a look at some of the art.
– Let me… Let me show you around, shall I? – That would be lovely. I mean, this…
This is an amazing sculpture. – This is a lovely sculpture. It’s modern, and it’s recast from the original
by the lost-wax method. So if I lifted this up and shook it, you’d
hear the wax inside. – Okay. It looks very heavy.
– It’s quite heavy. – Yes. – This one weighs just over 12 kilos.
– Wow. – It’s a lovely piece. – I love the way the hair… – Yeah.
– Is sort of flowing, and as if the wind is blowing through the hair. – Yeah, and I think, as you mentioned to me
once, it would look nice on top of a grand piano or something. – Oh, it would.
If… If only I had a grand piano. – Or if you had a music room. – I… I would want to buy
that to put on my grand piano. – Yes. It is lovely. This is one of our personal favourites,
is this here, which is probably the finest charcoal work I’ve ever seen. – That’s charcoal?
– That’s charcoal. 330 hours’ work that was.
– Oh, that’s amazing. – A wonderful piece. – So that’s the London… The picture
of London, the Houses of Parliament. – Yeah, the Houses of Parliament, yeah. – And Big Ben there with the clock on it. – Yeah, it’s quite special, that piece. – So that’s amazing. – Then basically everything in here, percentage,
30% or more goes to the homeless. – Right.
– Some of the work in here I own outright. – Yes.
– And any profit I make on it, the entire profit goes to help the homeless. – Okay.
– So, you know, if I buy something for 200 pounds, sell it for 400, then 200 pounds goes in the pot. – Yeah. – Yeah.
– Oh, that’s fantastic. – Let’s go for a wander, shall we? – Yeah, let’s have a look, shall we? Okay, so we’ll follow you around, David. – Yeah, please.
– If you want to point out any… – Some of my little favourites are these book
carvings here. – Oh, they’re lovely, aren’t they? – They’re done by a young lady who’s on the
autistic spectrum. – Ah, okay. – They’re fantastically popular, particularly
with American people; they seem to love them. – Yes. – We’ve sold a lot to Americans visiting. – Gosh, can
you imagine transporting one of those across the Atlantic? – Well, one lady… One lady bought six of them from us,
and she called me when she came back and said: “Five of them made it in one piece.” – Oh my goodness.
– And she thought she could fix the other one, so she did really well. – Wow. Because they’re really fragile, aren’t
they? – Some of them are very fragile, yeah. – I mean that would be hard to transport just around the
corner. – Absolutely. – Never mind across the Atlantic. – Yeah. These are lovely pieces,
these glass pieces. – Nice. – These are glass, and this is fired nine
times to get the colour in it. – Golly. – It’s quite a… Quite a
piece of work. – That’s amazing. So there’s a very wide range of styles. – Yeah. We have no particular genre.
– No. – It’s anything. – Anything, yes. – You know, so we got this piece, for instance, by one of
the world’s best stencil artists, John Feenan, Mr. Feenan. – Wow.
And that’s Jack Nicholson, isn’t it? – That’s Jack Nicholson from The Shining. – Yes.
– The pattern on the back is in the carpet of the hotel, if… If you remember the movie.
– Oh, yes. – Yeah. – So, Jack Nicholson, if you’ve seen that film, The Shining.
– That’s from The Shining, yeah. – That’s a horror film, isn’t it? – That’s a horror film, quite a creepy one. – Horror film, if you like horror films. – Yeah. – There we are. – Right. – And this is…
– That’s David Bowie. – David Bowie there. – That’s a limited edition print. We had ten
of those, and that’s the last one remaining. – Yes, amazing.
– That’s quite a nice work. – We’ve got Superman up there. – Yeah. – So there’s a lot of influence from… – That’s by a Mexican artist, Rodolfo Reyes. Yeah. – So there’s a lot of
influence from American films. – Oh yes, very much so.
– And American culture. – Yeah.
– Here, and some nice… – This is the only piece in the gallery that’s
not for sale. – Oh.
– This is Sniffer John, he’s a real homeless person from Milton Keynes. – Oh, wow.
– And this was done by Ruth Eales. Ruth is, you know, an artist we have here
all the time. – Yes. – That was the first picture she sold
commercially. I bought it and I won’t sell it. Yeah. – Oh, right. Yes, I remember seeing
that, I’ve seen that… – I love that piece. Yeah. – I’ve seen that every time I’ve popped in I remember
– He’s there looking over us. – Oh, that’s nice. – So keep… Keep coming through.
– So that’s… Oh, lovely. Oh, here’s a good one of Tower Bridge.
– Yeah. – So another London scene, here, Tower Bridge over the
River Thames, with some red London buses going across. – That’s by a well-known artist called Colin
Ruffell. That’s a limited edition giclée. – That’s really nice. I like the sort of texture. – Very
nice. – On the surface there. – And it’s good work. He’s a very, very popular artist. – Nice colours, too. Very interesting.
That’s great. Okay, so this is quite a big place, because
you’ve got different levels. – I refer to it sometimes as a TARDIS. – The TARDIS, yes.
– For any Doctor Who fans. – If anybody knows Doctor Who. – A TARDIS, yeah.
Yeah. – So, some people I’ve talked to have never
heard of Doctor Who because if they’re from a different country, if they’re not from the U.K.,
they may not have heard about Doctor Who, so… – These two works up here I point out, actually,
one of Yoda from Star Wars and David Beckham. – Right.
– Made by an artist by the name of David Hardy. David was the catalyst behind me starting
this gallery. When I met him, six or seven years ago now, he had just been
made homeless and was in a very, very dark place. – Oh dear. – And I managed to get a work of his into the Lloyd’s of
London Art Exhibition, and he won the best newcomer prize. – Oh, brilliant.
– And basically that was the catalyst… – Yeah. – That sent him on the road
to recovery. – Oh, that’s wonderful. – We’ve sold a lot of his works here and he’s
had commissions from here, but now he’s in a very nice flat. – Nice. – And he’s, you know,
making his living as a professional artist. He’s done really well. Hopefully we can do more for other artists like
that. – Because the detail is amazing, isn’t it? – Yeah, he’s got a lovely touch. These pieces over here are by homeless artists. Don Pollard, he’s done these. Unfortunately
he’s developed Parkinson’s. – Okay. – And he’s not at all well. But I sold a piece of his work to a fellow
who pulled up to have a cup of tea next door, and I said: “Come in here, I’ll make you a
cup of tea.” Only cost him 400 pounds! He bought a piece of Don’s work and he was
thrilled. What was particularly nice, I met Don up for
one of our soup run evenings, gave it in an envelope, said: “This is for you,
400 quid.” And he nearly cried. He’d never received so much money. And the nice thing was the next time I saw him he had new boots on…
– Yes. – And a new jacket, so his money was very wisely spent. – Oh, that’s good. – Which was great. – That’s good.
– And he’s a lovely man. Lovely man. – Yes. Oh, it’s good to hear of people… – Let me show you out here.
It’s a little bit of a mess at the moment. – Oh, yes, the studio,
let’s have a look at… – I don’t… I don’t apologize, actually, because all
of this stuff over here is things for homeless people. – Right.
– There’s shoes, and cosmetics, and everything else. And normally these desks would be out
over here, there’s desks there. – Yes. – And a homeless artist can come and work. – So shoes and things?
– Yeah. We were given by, you know, a company.
– Oh, brilliant. – I’ve got more stuff coming in from the same
company. – Food tins. – Yeah, so lots of different stuff.
– Yes. – We have toiletries and everything. – Marvelous. – And this cupboard here, the artists are allowed to
help themselves to whatever they need. We have… – Oh, right. – You know, acrylic paints, oil paints, canvasses,
boards, easels, everything. – Excellent. And do they…? Do they stay here
and do a bit of art? – Yes, yes, exactly. – On the premises? – And sometimes we have tutors come in, you
know. – Oh, you have tutors in as well? – Yeah, sometimes. – Oh, that’s great. Lovely. – This is my playground, this is
where I play. – You play. Oh. – My current thing is doing casts of hands
and things. – Oh, so do you make these yourself? – Yes. Yeah. Yeah. Yeah.
– Oh, wow. Gosh. – This is just a base for a new idea I’ve
got, so… – Right.
Wow, that’s amazing. – So that’s my playground. – And you’ve got cans of spray? – Got a few types of paints,
yes. – Graffiti paint, there, spray… Spray paint. – Yeah, we’re currently trying to get permission
to do the sideboard of the Tigers Head Pub, which would be fun if we get the okay to do
that. – Oh, the one on the corner here? – Yeah.
– Which has been closed for… – Yeah. It would be a great, great, huge mural. – That would be wonderful because something needs to be done. – Yeah.
– It doesn’t look good at the moment, does it? – No, it doesn’t. We have a relationship with some of the best
graffiti artists in Britain, so… – Well, there we are. – If we get them in there doing that, it would become quite a
talking piece. – It would be a big improvement. – Yeah. – Yes. – But you may think it’s all over, but it
isn’t. There’s one more floor.
– Oh, there’s more to see? Excellent. Okay. – After you, Gill, you know where you’re going.
– Okay. Okay, then, so down the stairs here?
– Down the stairs. – Oh, there’s… – There’s Amy Winehouse, yeah.
– And Chairman Mao. That’s an interesting combination, there.
– This is an interesting piece. This is a Japanese artist called Tadanori
Yokoo. This is a…
This is a self-portrait called… I think it’s called Landscape No. 16, if I
remember right. And this was from his first-ever major exhibition
in Tokyo in 1967. It’s a five-layer screen print, and this is
number one of five. This was gifted to us. And Christie’s have valued it at 8000 to 10,000
pounds, and that was given to me for the gallery, so that was really nice. – That’s amazing. So it’s a screen print. – Yeah. It’s a multi-layer screen print.
– Yeah. – So there’s a thick Perspex-type stuff, and then
four or five layers of acrylic underneath it. – Right.
– This is a shrine to the dead for the show. – That looks very sort of…
Oh, what is the…? The Day of the Dead?
– The Day of the Dead, yeah. – Is it in South America they have the Day
of the Dead, don’t they? – It’s in Mexico. – Mexico. – Mexico. Mexico, yes. – It just so happens we have a Mexican here
with us. – Who knows much more about it than I do. Thank you. – This artist covers most of this wall,
he’s a fellow by the name of Gary Orford who’s an immensely-talented artist. He’s a recovering heroin addict doing really,
really well, but he’s a hugely-talented artist. – Yes. Amazing. I love the birds. – They’re
nice. They’re all done by fingertips. – Really? – Both of the birds are just done by fingers;
no brushes used at all on those two paintings. – Wow. Amazing. – Yeah. – Oh, they’ve really got a sense
of movement in them. – Yes. Yeah, they’re brilliant. – Don’t they? Sort of fluttering.
– Yeah. – Wow. It’s lovely. That’s an interesting sculpture in the corner,
there. – Yeah, that was done by a homeless fellow,
but before he became homeless, but the fellow who did it is a Bulgarian, Tomen Enov, and
I met him a little over a year ago, and I said: “Well, you can come and stay underneath
my office”-which is, you know, is an office in itself-“for a week or two”, and a year
later I had to ask him to move on. But he’s an immensely talented artist. – Yes, it’s very interesting. – Yeah. – Wow. I like the geometrical
design… – Yeah. Very spiritual. His work is very spiritual.
– Yes. Wow. Okay. Oh, and that looks familiar.
– That’s Downing Street. – Yeah, that’s Downing Street. – That’s called Plebgate.
– Plebgate. – Yeah. – Ah, so this is Downing Street where the
prime minister lives, and at some point in the recent past they put some gates up. There didn’t used to be gates there at one
time and people could just walk up Downing Street, but then at some point they put some
gates up to stop people going in, and now they have police at the gates to check who
people are going through, so… So that’s why it’s called Plebgate. – It’s called Plebgate because one of the
MPs allegedly called the policemen a “pleb” because they wouldn’t let him cycle his bike
through the gate. – Yes. – Yeah. – Yes, and there was a big…
– And there was a big to-do about it. – Yes, there was, wasn’t there?
I remember now. So, to call somebody a pleb is a little bit
rude. – Yeah, it’s a bit insulting. – It’s a bit…
A bit snobbish. – So, David, thank you so much for showing
us around. And as you know, these videos that we’re making
are designed for people who are learning English as a foreign language. And there may be people who are already in
the U.K. or in some English-speaking country, or they may be in another country and they’re
perhaps planning to come here to the U.K. to work or to study.
– Right. – So we wanted to show them what it’s like
in an art gallery like this, and to encourage them to just come in and look around,
and not to be scared. You know? Just it’s an interesting place to have a look,
and the person, the owner will be friendly and will show you around. So what would you say? – Yeah, I’d say please don’t ever find an
art gallery intimidating. 99 times out of 100 you’ll receive a warm
welcome. I don’t know anyone personally who wouldn’t
give you a warm welcome. I’d love you to come here, then I can explain
to you what we do and why we do it. We’re a little different, we’re non-profit,
and look to help people through selling art and providing art. But you’ll receive a warm welcome here. Just don’t be afraid.
Come on in!