Mrs Monk was short-listed by the Royal Academy in 1985 by the picture named, Polly Called etc., which was no mean feat, but nevertheless was taken by her, as a set back in her artistic career. This was, after all, a time when it was customary to present for examination by the Royal academy a portrait of a member of the Royal Family or a less than spectacular illustration of a pheasant or maybe a household pet, perhaps a cat.
1984 had a vibrant avant-garde but it had no place at the Royal Academy Summer Exhibition. Frankly this annual event has never appealed to the avant-garde. The summer show has certainly changed over the years, but it has never been close to being anything like a worthwhile aesthetic exercise. In fact it is always dreadful.
Nevertheless, it remains the only high profile open marketplace for any artist, and Mrs Monk finds that challenge irresistible.
Every year since 1984, Mrs Monk has said she will try again, and then has not done so, or left it too late to do so.
Finally, this year she paid £50 on line to apply one week before a deadline knowing that she had no painting to offer. She did however have a provocative title in mind: “THE ART IS CRAP AND SO ARE THE CRITICS”
She also persuaded me to enter a painting that I also had not started, and for the purposes of the Application, I chose to call my unpainted painting, “UNTITLED 101”, which seemed to free up my options and to do just about anything that might come to me but also signalled my expectations of the destiny of the art that might materialise.
She filled in the form on line along with our credit card details. Apart from naming the unmade, we had to put a price on it, because the Royal Academy Summer show, is, if nothing else, a market place. Since we each expected to complete the task in a day or so, we each chose an arbitrary price of £500.
By some miracle the challenge was met and here are the results..
Mrs Monk has since enlightened me about the Royal Academies 30% charge in the event of a successful Sale. Add that to the cost of framing, and the costs of getting the art to Piccadilly through Trafalgar Square where we were delayed by bikers protesting about proposed bike parking charges, the Monks would in due course expect to be remunerated with less than the minimum wage.
In fact we would be content to be rejected and we have already decided where the pictures will hang on our newly refreshed living Room walls, to remind of us our creative madness.
Please note the theme of this years show is RAW, I believe they have done so because they are tired of all those twee pictures of pussy cats, and Royals. I decided to call their bluff, but Mrs Monk has characteristically affronted their challenge head on.
Thus we have covered both extremes, or maybe not , because maybe they are looking for something middle-of-the-road like a Damien Hurst.
Allen Jones is on the panel and I considered including a female fetish high heel shoe in my picture in order to charm him, but then Mrs Monk stole my idea, albeit in a low key way. But will Allen Jones notice, as her picture passes him by for three seconds?
It should also be noted that Mrs Monk has painted on the envelope enclosing our application forms. that arrived just one week ago. That envelope has been pasted into her piece, with RAW consequence.
I have perversely taken the fat pussy cat option.
What were we thinking?