Press Release; Local artist painted sculpture sales raise £57,000 for good Causes

Work by Sheffield based illustrator and mural artist Sian Ellis has raised £57,142 for charities for works painted since March this year. The works have all been on display as part of arts trails across the U.K. throughout the Summer and Autumn of 2019. 

Starting with a 6 foot wallaby in the Isle of Man in the Spring, Sian has travelled to the sites of 4 trails across the U.K. to create the painted pieces, including sometimes multiple works for individual trails. Four of the sculptures painted have been for projects in collaboration with Wild in Art. A partner behind the Herd of Sheffield in 2016.

Each trail raises money for local charities in its city. Causes include funding a new gorilla enclosure at Jersey Zoo and raising money for St Oswolds Hospice in Northumberland. 

Sian painted her designs into fibre glass and porcelain sculptures which were then auctioned for charity by the trail organisers. The highest earner of Sian’s work was her design entitled ‘Our Island’ for Go Wild Gorillas in Jersey. The design features local landmarks throughout history, stratified through layers of land, sea and archeological finds deep under ground, The sculpture fetched a whopping £27,000 when auctioned on the island in early November.

Quote from Sian

“I’ve loved taking part in every single trail that I’ve been lucky enough to be part of this summer. I’ve had the chance to visit some beautiful places for the first time, and work alongside some brilliant artists. Plus every trail has been raising money for inspiring causes. Even when my first porcelain sculpture for the Great York Ghost Hunt smashed in transit back to the trail, I just jumped on a train and started it again, so the piece could remain part of the trail and be auctioned off for local homelessness charities. 

I’m absolutely delighted and flabbergasted with the amounts the sculptures have raised. I still can’t quite believe it! I have already been commissioned to produce works for a further two trails in 2020 and am looking forward to growing the charity raise even further”

Auction Breakdown

£25,000 raised for gorilla design ‘Jersey Boy’ featuring hand knitted elements, part of the Go Wild Horillas trail in Jersey raising money for Durrell Zoo

£27,000 for gorilla design ‘Our Island’ as part of the same trail

£2,000 raised for Elmer elephant design ‘Nice to Be Nice’, a sculpture covered in fun characters and compliments as part of ‘Great North Elmer’ raising money for St Oswolds Hospice in Northumberland 

£3,000 raised for a wallaby design ‘Our Community’ covered in colourful characters raising money for Hospice Isle of Man 

£142 raised for a small porcelain ghost lamp painted for the Great York Ghost Search raising money for local homelessness charities 

More info 

Sianellisillustration.co.uk

Www.instagram/thisissianellis 

Cows About Cambridge Announcement

I am excited to be announcing that I am an artist for cows about Cambridge! 

Another one?

YES! This will be my fifth sculpture for wild in art this year across 4 U.K. cities. That’s not counting the cheeky little York ghost hunt ghost Nellie. The trail won’t be live until 2020 though so there’s a little bit of time to wait for my sculpture to hit the streets.

Even More excitingly I am partnered with the projects headline sponsor Govia Thames link. It means that I already know where my sculpture will be based. Tying in with the theme of the design, it will be based in the train station. A building that will feature in the cow itself. 

I love the idea of my cow welcoming people into the city! A mini map to be their first friendly intro to the city. The design features lots of local land marks, painted fun, bold and bright. It also features Gomes, escalated to the status of landmarks. This is to give a shout out to the local folk who make the city what it is.

Working with the headline sponsor means I’ll expect to be more involved in the trail that’s perhaps some of the others. I’m excited to see how it goes though.

How about the design?

Find my Instagram profile to see how I get on, and get a first peek at the sculpture. With such a great success of auctions of my other sculptures as of late, it will be amazing to break the £60,000 raised for charity mark with my sculptures. 

Plus, stay turned for another Charity sculpture announcement…

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. 

 

New Commission: Elmer’s Great North Parade

I’m really pleased to announce that I’ve been semester as an artist for the Great North Elmer parade. This Wild in Art project will run across Newcastle and the surrounding areas and raise money for St Oswold’s Hospice.

 

St Oswolds in one of several charities across the country celebrating our patchwork pal with Wild in Art this year. 2019 also marks the year that Elmer turns 30 years old. The recognisable character has been made famous through children’s books since 1989.

 

I just got De ja vu

 

No there’s not a glitch in The Matrix, Elmer will be my fourth sculpture with Wild in Art this year. The first was a Wallaby on the Isle of Man for Wallabies Gone a Wild. The second and third were both Gorillas for Go a Wild Gorillas with Durrell Zoo Jersey. Here’s hoping that I’ll feel like a seasoned pro by the time it’s pick up a paintbrush in Newcastle.

 

My design is fun, bright and bold and will be revealed when the trail launches in August. My design is called ‘it’s nice to be nice’ and focuses on just that. It celebrates diverse characters and the positive power of compliment giving.

 

I haven’t learnt who my corporate sponsors are yet, so I am nervous and intrigued to find out! Another new aspect of this campaign in comparison toothed Wild in Art projects I have done is that I have received an invitation to exhibit at a Fairwell Elmer event in November. I don’t know much about the event yet but will share when I do.

 

Wild about Wild in Art

I’ve really enjoyed being part of these arts trails this year. My portfolio of public artworks and mural works is growing. It’s work I love to do. I still feel naughty like I’m doing something wrong and vandalising! Being bake to follow the public on social media enjoying my work is really special too. My Wallabies statue was revealed to the public in May, and the experience so far has been great. Finding out where my Elmer will call home will be an excited moment too. The biggest moment of all these trails will be the auction nights though, where we find it how much more money they can raise for their partnered charity.

 

Fitting in the time for these trails and the travel and overnights associated is not easy. It’s worth it though. The chance to be part of it and to meet other artists has been invaluable.

 

Wallabies Gone Wild is on display now, Go Wild Gorillas launches at the end of July and Elmers Great North Parade will launch in August. Fingers crossed for more adventures with Wild in Art 2020

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.

 

 

Go Wild Gorillas 2019

I am massively excited to announce my participation as a selected artist for Go Wild Gorillas 2019. This high profile public art installation returns to Jersey for the second time this summer. The event is a fundraising collaboration between Durrell Zoo and Wild in Art. It consists of a series of large gorilla statues distributed across the picturesque island to form a sculpture trail.

Wild in Art have curated similar events internationally including Bee in the City Manchester and Herd of Sheffield. The event pairs artists with sponsors to produce each unique sculpture. The sculpture is then displayed at a point across the island for the duration of the summer. Afterwards each sculpture will be auctioned off to raise money for the zoo. Durrell are planning a huge revamp of their Gorilla enclosure which funds raised from the event will go towards.

The brief

Artists were encouraged to use the island as their inspiration for their design. Each will be provided the same fibreglass blank gorilla statue as the base for their work. Customising a giant blank sculpture must be every vinyl toy fan’s dream, and has certainly been mine! I can’t wait to put my stamp on it. It’ll also be interesting to see what other selected artists have envisioned for their sculptures too.

I will be producing two designs for the trail and will begin painting the sculptures in May. Designs are top secret until the trail is launched so I can’t say too much at present. What I can reveal though is that they will be multi media pieces and an ambitious challenge. Securing a commission of this kind was one of my goals for 2019 so I’m especially energised around participating.

And did I mention I’m really excited?

I’m keen to get cracking and preparations have already begun. As I have embraced the island’s history in both of my designs, I am really looking forward to visiting Jersey too. I am grateful to De Gruchy and Trust Ford for selecting and sponsoring my designs and giving me the opportunity to be part of such a brilliant project.

When my designs are unveiled I will share them on my blog with a more technical breakdown if their creation and materials used. If you get the chance to visit the trail, please share with me and tag me in your pictures.

Find out more about Go Wild Gorillas here.