Come and Get It! Half Price: The Apprentice Takes on Urban Art

May 11th, 2012 | By | No Comments »

As most of you may know, last night premiered the latest episode of The Apprentice UK concentrating on the sales of urban art. The two teams were split up and tasked to represent two street artists and flog their work the public in East London at a night only gallery show. Obviously knowing very little about the genre himself, Lord Sugar set the teams up with car company Renault and gin manufacturer Beefeater in attempt to generate big sales for the teams by way of a corporate client. And then the circus ensued…

The episode opened with the teams standing looking frightened in Leake Street Tunnel in Waterloo with an ominous video of Lord Sugar talking them through the task. The candidates were then immediately split into their teams with half traveling to Bristol “the birthplace of graffiti” and the other half staying in London to source artists. In Bristol, the candidates met with SPQR and Copyright. Not liking the controversial wares of SPQR (the hypodermic needle freaked them out) the team fell for the stencil/tattoo-like stylings of Copyright. One of the guys kept trying to offer his own ludicrous interpretation the work as the camera panned to the silent artists making the situation just as uncomfortable for the viewer watching. In London, the teams met with Pure Evil, Nathan Bowen, and James Jessop. The teams fought over who wanted to sell Pure Evil’s work as he eventually went with the team that showed more enthusiasm rather than the pretty boy who kept talking out of his ass about how much he knew about street or rather that he may have viewed Exit Through the Gift Shop and retained a few facts. Bowen was also chosen to be shown, in order to impress Beefeater with his London centric characters. It was, however, ironic that half the team saw his work outside in Bristol and expressed how much they hated only to find out that they were selling it the next night. Nice job boys. The other team settled on Jessop and Copyright in the hopes of selling a large Jessop canvas to someone who was drunk enough to drop 10,000 pounds securing the team the win.

The shows themselves took place in Black Rat and Arch 402 with the usual street art crowds and bankers trolling through. The teams had no idea how or who to sell to, but just talking bullshit as if they were selling insurance. I’m just hoping that the artists who were involved were happy clearing overstock that night and making some extra money. Pure Evil alone sold over 10,000 pounds worth of work apparently. Not a bad haul and I’m sure some great publicity will come from it. Bowen got into the spirit by doing a live canvas based on the London landscape that could have gone to Beefeater, but with his representatives crappy client skills, the company left empty handed and their pockets still teeming with money. But in the end, the team that had Pure Evil won, even though it was only by 173 pounds. Bit of a shame. If only someone had enough space for any one of those 10 feet Jessops…

So what is the lesson here boys and girls? Is that anyone can sell urban art nowadays? Is it that almost anyone will buy something if you tell them it is cool/hip/trendy/up and coming? No no no. The lesson is that if you paid full price for any artists’ works than you paid too much. With an hour left to selling the teams started giving 50% discounts to some of the work. Half Price! Come and get it! Because that is not in bad taste whatsoever…

Images courtesy of BBC


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