Earlier this year, I mentioned that we were sponsoring one of the giant Gromit statues that are forming a huge art exhibition throughout Bristol this summer. Gromit Unleashed is a massive fund-raising project to place 80 Gromit sculptures, each painted by well-known and local artists, in key locations around the city. At the time we couldn’t tell you much about it as a lot of the information was being kept under wraps for the big launch on July 1st.
I can now reveal that the artist we chose was the amazing botanical painter and illustrator, Ros Franklin – just take a look at her website and you’ll understand why. Ros is one of the most gifted botanical artists in the country and is also chairman of the Eden Project Florilegium Society in Cornwall where she also teaches on botanical drawing and illustration courses.
Ros joins other famous artists named so far in the Gromit Unleashed exhibition including Sir Quentin Blake, Gerald Scarfe, Cath Kidston and celebrities like designer Sir Paul Smith and comedian Harry Hill.
So, how did someone who creates the most exquisitely delicate paintings of flowers, plants and wildlife get caught up in the rough and tumble world of an internationally renowned character?
“I was watching the BBC News last year and they had an item about a project called Gromit Unleashed in Bristol, saying they were looking for artists to paint statues of Gromit,” Ros said.
“I don’t normally have my laptop with me, but that day I did. I googled the website and applied to take part, then just before Christmas I got an email saying I had been accepted and they asked me to submit a design. I knew straight away what my design was going to be.
But then came three weeks of hard work, spending eight or nine hours a day gradually turning her inspiration into reality. Ros had to get used to a new medium – her Gromit Unleashed had to be painted with acrylics rather than the water colours she normally uses – and she was now painting on a three-dimensional surface as well.
“It seemed very strange to begin with – but I was inspired and that carried me through. Not to mention lots of moral support and cups of tea from my husband!” she said.
The Gromit Unleashed project will raise money for Wallace and Gromit’s Grand Appeal in aid of the Bristol Children’s Hospital, one of only a few specialist centres in the UK providing life-saving surgery, care and treatment to children on a local, national and international scale. At the end of the exhibition in September, all 80 Gromits will be auctioned with all the proceeds going to the Grand Appeal.
AC Services is thrilled to be supporting this project with Ros and we are especially excited to hear that Ros’s statue will be made into a ceramic figurine and sold in the dedicated merchandise shops on the trail. Please see the Gromit Unleashed website for more information.
Watch this space for more news on our Gromit Unleashed activities.
NB Images and logos © and TM Aardman/W&G Ltd. 2013. ® Wallace & Gromit’s Grand Appeal. Charity No. 1043603