Film ID:
NEFA 9414



Visitor Tabs


An incomplete edition of the Tyne Tees Television arts programme Come In If You Can Get In that looks at a scheme aimed at putting artists in the workplace. The film follows two artists, one of whom works in a steelworks the other in a Co-Operative supermarket and shows them paintings about these locations.

The film opens on a series of photographs of Stanley Spencer in a shipyard drawing pictures.

[Leader countdown].

Inside a steel works [believed to be the Lackenby works of British Steel in Middlesbrough] general view of a man drawing with charcoal a scene of steel being poured from a ladle.

The film cuts to a Co-Operative supermarket where a woman is producing an abstract painting in the area behind the checkouts. She is watched by a number of customers.

[Leader countdown].

A man walks across the industrial landscape of a steelworks and enters a small building. About the door written in chalk is: ‘works artist’.

Inside the studio the artist talks about the reaction he would receive when he first started about how the workers would react to him. However, the reaction has been very different as they have shown a lot of interest and enthusiasm for what he is doing.

General view of the artist in the steel works drawing the scene showing workmen tapping a ladle and the hot molten steel which pours into moulds.

Back in the studio the artist is painting a large piece of paper attached to a wall. He talks about wanting his work to capture the atmosphere of people working.

The artist walks through a darkened roadway inside the steelworks carrying a large pad of paper. He talks about when he first started he felt that it was the most horrific thing he had ever done, to pick up a piece of paper, walk across the site and drawing. He got over his fears quite quickly as the people have been so friendly and enthusiastic.

General view of the artist drawing molten steel pouring from a ladle.

The film cuts back to the studio and the artist on the floor stirring paint in a pot. He says that it is unlikely that anyone in the works has seen an artist working in a studio and the skills and ways in which artists work.

The artist approaches a large blank piece of white paper attached to a wall and begins to draw with a piece of charcoal. On the floor is a photograph of the ladle pouring steel. The artist believes that art is 5% talent and the rest is just coming into work and doing the job. Being an artist is a job of work.

General views of various paintings produced by the artist of the steelworks. He says that back in art college in London in the 1970’s it was about abstract art. However, this kind of art only had meaning in the college. He is trying to push away and search for subject matter outside these restraints.

[Leader countdown].

General view inside a supermarket showing shoppers at a checkout. Behind them a female artist is working on an abstract painting of the supermarket. A number of the shoppers stop and watch the artist at work.

The artist says that when she first started it was quite nerve-racking but got over it by simply starting straight away by picking a subject and composition.

The artist speaks with a female shopper about her work. She says that for her working for the Co-Operative Society and being in the public eye she has to think about their influences and include some of what they may like or expect to see. She has to hold back on being as experimental as she may have wanted to be.

Another female shopper speaks with the artist about including more people in the painting.

General view of various shopping items being placed on a checkout conveyor.

Sitting on a high shelf the artist draws a picture of the supermarket from a different angle.  She says that people are often asking her why there isn’t any people in her paintings. She explains that by including a person in the painting it stops being abstract. She understands why people want to see human content in art as it something to which they can relate.

There are various views of the paintings produced by the artist of the supermarket.

She believes that being in the supermarket working isn’t an intrusion on someone’s daily activities. She is working along with people involved in the supermarket.

There are more views of the artist’s paintings.

In the supermarket the artist speaks with two men about her work. She believes that painting should be shown in the places they are painted.

She doesn't’t believe that there will be any long-term benefit to her being part of this scheme. Only a minority of people found her work of any interest, but it has made people think about art.

General views of people shopping around the store. A woman places two cans of Campbell soup into her shopping trolley.

The artist speaks with another female shopper about doing paintings for people’s houses.

[Leader countdown].

A man sits behind a desk in an office. He says that at the end of the residency the company can see a tangible asset in terms of buying the artist’s work. However, this is not the main value of the scheme which he believes is the dialogue created because of the presence of the artists and the stimulation created with workers.

General view of the artist in the steelworks talking with a steelworker. In the background more steelworkers watch over steel being poured into moulds. He says that he is amazed that anyone should be interested in his work. He continues by saying that being in the steelworks has a healthy effect of the workforce with regards their self-esteem and sense of dignity.

The film cuts back to the office and the man seated behind the desk who says the art produced helps show family members what their loved ones do at work each day.

He continues by saying that the scheme is a totally new way of funding artists. It fits in with government emphasis on private and business sponsorship of the arts and can double the potential funding available to artists with only the need for public funding for initial seed-corn money.

The only drawback with the scheme is that money only goes to artists who are have the most suitable and extrovert personalities. They need to be able to get on with the workforce around them and explain what they are doing. The scheme is less accessible to those artists who don’t fit in with this personality type and that is why public funding for the arts is still important.