Villa Gaiety Mini Wallaby Sculptures Commission

My recent Wallabies Gone Wild sculpture was sponsored by the wonderful Villa Gaeity theatre in Douglas. They are part of a small but vibrant entertainment complex in the islands capital. The Victorian Gaeity theatre the jewel in its crown. 

Wild in Art encourages its sponsors to offer incentives to followers of the trail. I assume it is to encourage app downloads and consequently generate more funds for the partner charity.

Villa Gaiety kept right into the challenge and provided a range of fun and engaging competitions throughout the trail. This included a selfie competition and the chance to win some vouchers and original art.

The commission

I was commissioned to design 5 mini wallabies by Villa Gaiety. The small wallaby sculpture was created by Wild in Art. They are available to take home from IOM hospice shops for the public to design. Villa Gaiety commissioned me to paint 5 small sculptures based on my large wallaby design. One was kept by the TheTre and four were for competition winners.

The designs

Each design featured 2 characters from the matter design. I felt it was important to keep the designs individual and not direct replicas of the larger design, the large sculpture will be auctioned off for charity. It’s only fair for it to be a total one of work of art! Also, the small size of the design meant that to get a bold design it made more sense to include less characters per wallaby.

The process

I used a mix of posca pens and acrylic paint. I used the exact same products to design the large wallaby sculpture. Also I used a smaller pallet to reflect the fewer characters and keep a good consistency between the designs. 

It was lovely to see on social media as the designs found their new homes. A great way to share art and engage people with the trail. 

 

Wallabies Gone Wild: My experience

At the end of March I traveled to a top secret location in the east of the Isle of Man to paint a 5ft Wallaby statue. It’s not your average commission project that’s for sure! The project included a lot of firsts for me as an artist. It’s the first time I’ve traveled so far for my work.

Crossing the sea for art

I’ve had some out of town fairs but I’ve never even stayed one night away for illustration. As someone who only relatively recently started sharing her art with the world, I still like to create in a comfortable space. My studio is just me and surrounded by inspiration and creature comforts. I can paint in my PJs and have Netflix on in the background, it’s very chill. Sometimes even my ceramic studio feels a bit crowded for me, and it’s still a familiar space. On the island I was in a new town with new artists and in a new space.

Luckily, and surprisingly, I felt I adjusted quite well. I wasn’t too shy to get stuck in and the other artists were really friendly. I am learning to own the weirdness of my art and not question my right to be involved in art projects. This was a great opportunity for that and I was pleased to find that this adjustment seems to be getting easier.

The challenge of painting a sculpture

The wallaby was a new challenge not just in its size but also in its shape and it’s requirement to be durable. My work illustrating ceramics and using resist techniques has well equipped me for designing difficult shapes. Although in a smaller scale, I have picked up tricks on how to paint complex shapes including painting straight lines on curved surfaces. This practice came in useful. I also found that sketching out the shapes of my design in pencil first was important to keep perspective when painting something so big.

How long is a piece of string, a pot of paint or a sufficient painting window?

This was the thing that made me most anxious before I flew to the island. How much paint should I bring? How long should I go to the island for? The paint is easy now, it’s always less than you think that you need! The time though? The reality is that it’s different for everyone. The 4 days I spent were enough for me to finish, and I would have finished sooner if I did have lessons to learn along the way. It’s benefit of booking a bit longer is to have that extra time if you need it, paint more relaxed and explore the city as well as painting!

Lessons

-Sandpaper is the closest thing to an eraser you can get for paint

– Valspar emulsion paints are the best and avoid cheap acrylics unless you want to spend a LOT of time trying to perfect layers. You can even get testers colour matched

-Even big canvases need very small brushes

-Crisp lines and bold shapes are actually very difficult to paint as flat coloured, straight lines on large difficult shapes

-Primer just takes timer, sometimes it’s better just to paint

-Make pencil lines as feint as possible, they can be hard to cover

-Do lots of thin layers rather than thick ones where brush strokes become more pronounced

I am glad to have learnt these lessons. I will use them when I got to Jersey in May for the Go Wild Gorillas sculpture painting. It also means that my experience and repertoire as an artist is growing. I can prove my capability for bigger and bolder projects. My goal is always progress and this is progress to my goals 🙂

Wallabies Gone Wild 2019

Following my announcement that I am taking part in the Go Wild Gorillas Project with Wild in Art I am mega excited to announce my participation in another of their projects. I will be painting a 5ft tall fibreglass wallaby for Wallabies Gone Wild 2019.

Another One?

Yep! The public arts trail will consist of twenty sculptures displayed at points around the Isle of Man over summer 2019. I am really looking forward to revisiting the island again to begin painting. I visited the island on family holidays on a number of occasions as a child. The last time I went to the island I was 8 years old but I still have memories of places that I want to revisit. The trail is in aid of the Isle of Man Hospice. Having worked as a Fundraiser in a local Hospice I understand what a valuable cause this is. 

 

My sculpture will be in partnership with Villa Gaeity, a theatre and cinema complex in Douglas. I can’t say much about the sculpture but I can hint that it will reflect Villa Gaiety with a twist. As always the sculptures are top secret until they are officially launched but I can share them when they are.

 

Most of my commissions tend to come from small businesses, individuals, the arts sector, charities and community groups so this corporate experience is pretty new. I haven’t always been hot on identifying my appeal to corporate businesses. My audience tends to be quite young and my work is far from traditional or serious. It’s strength in this realm s that it gets good engagement. My work is bright and detailed and it makes people smile. It will be interesting to see if this becomes a direction for my work in future.

 

I had high hopes for getting to be part of a Wild in Art trail in 2019 so to be commissioned to produce 3 sculptures feels pretty incredible. The painting process will no doubt be intense and I will learn a lot through it too. I am just amazed and exhilarate to be selected by three sponsors.