A SUPPORTED learning student from Shrewley is set to have his work exhibited to the nation on a popular Channel 4 art show.
Finley Smith, a 17-year-old student at Royal Leamington Spa College, will have his painting of The Queen showcased as part of Grayson Perry’s Art Club on Wednesday May 25.
The show will also feature Finley reading his poem ‘The Queen’s Picnic’, with his royal themed painting and poem forming part of a jubilee special episode of the show.
Tutors at the college heard about the Turner Prize-winning artist’s appeal for submissions to his art club and decided to submit the work which Finley had created in college.
Producers contacted the college and said they wanted to feature Finley on the programme, and soon after Finley was interviewed over Zoom by Grayson. The interview will air as part of the programme on May 25 on Channel 4 at 10pm.
Finley, who hopes to go on to pursue a career in hospitality after finishing his studies at Royal Leamington Spa College, says it was a huge surprise but an honour to find out his poem and painting had been selected for the show.
“The first thing I thought about was what colour the Queen should be wearing in the painting. I love big and bright colours, so it had to be red for the dress and hat,” said Finley.
“When we found out that the show was interested in having me on, I was so excited. It was a real honour and speaking with Grayson he was really great, he gave me some tips on my art and I also had the chance to read my poem to him. The poem is all about taking the Queen out for a picnic in London.
“I love painting but I hope that I can work in catering after finishing college, my speciality is frittata! I’m hoping to go to catering college and then go on to work in catering at a care home.
“It will be really good to see the show on TV and I’m looking forward to it.”
Finley studies on the Skillbuilder – Skills for Life course, which is run by WCG at its Leamington campus.
The course gives students the chance to build work and employability skills, improve their maths and English, and also develop hands-on skill in areas such as art and catering.
Claire Wallis, art tutor at the college, said: “We’re really proud of Finley and what he has achieved”.
“When Finley first started doing art with us he would only draw straight lined drawings with a ruler, so to now be producing beautiful artwork like his painting of the Queen shows the progress he has made”.
* WCG is hosting a virtual open event for its Warwickshire colleges on Tuesday, June 14. Visit www.wcg.ac.uk/openevents for further information.