They had placed him on their front lawn in full view of anyone on the Broads (as my husband had noticed the day after and called me whilst taking a boatload of special needs visitors on a sail).
They wanted to have at least 1 GoGogorilla kept local and visible, which is lovely of them. ‘Jack’ as they call him, has a fab view over their front garden, across the footpath, out to their guest house and the Broad.
Apparently people stop to see him all the time, and just in the afternoon I was there he was snapped loads. One boy and his mum were even doing a Gorilla trail of all the ones still visible to the public and came up to see him.
Anyway, after a good scrub and rinse I checked Jack over. After 2 winters and several summers, he had slight crazing (mainly on his head which did get so hot in the sun I couldn’t touch/ paint it) and a few larger cracks at some toe/ pit joints. Not bad – he was painted in acrylics and a couple of layers of Yacht Varnish (don’t use Ronseal ‘clear’ it turns everything yellow).
I filled as much as I could and retouched those and a few age-spotted areas.
His owners are now talking about maybe a shelter or a cover to keep him from the worst extremes of weather but he’s aged really well!
They say the paddle boat from Horning now comes further into Barton Broad so it can turn round in sight of Jack before heading home. He’s a star!
So we’d had the Launch of the trail opening at Riverside Odeon with a few Gogogorillas including ‘my’ Sea Monkey. Impressive!
After fixing the statues up (Jim especially had several large scratches and holes in him from being climbed on – with force I would think).
But at the end of the trail time, in September, Break wrangled all 60-ish gorillas (and a surprise new Alan Partridge made for the opening of his film) in front of the Forum. It was fabulous to see them all out in the sun together!
They were there for a few days and then taken inside the Forum for the Auction night. I went and sat with the lovely Mik and Tina- but didn’t bid, much as I would have loved to!
Most Gorillas went for over £2,000, my Jungle Jim at £3,600 and Sea Monkey at £3,200. I loved that SeaMonkey was brought out to the Pirates of the Caribbean theme music!
A bidding war started over the Carrow Road one, which ended at £17,000. Then finally Mik’s repainted “Freddie’ came out. At around £8,000 the bidding slowed and Mik was about to go and congratulate the winner, when it started again. This time it was leaping up in £1,000s! It was the big seller of the night, going for £20,000.
Over £272,300 was raised for BREAK and Born Free – a FAB effort and a really fun experience for us all. Huge thanks to Martin and the team for organising it all!
I submitted another design I had to the Norwich Break/ Born Free Charity Wild Art Urban Art event- GoGoGorillas. I was delighted that it was picked to be painted for an as yet un-sponsored statue. Riverside later chose it and it was on display all summer at Pulls Ferry.
Martin delivered the blank statue whilst I was out. As it was chilly and dark out there in the stables my poor hubby decided to get him into the house like this!
This gorilla I tried to make more ‘fun’. So I created a Pirates of the Carribbean inspired ape, and used really bright acrylic paint shades.
His face has a hint of Jack Sparrow, his hat has a skull and crossed bananas and he was wearing a typical striped shirt.
A pirate galleon, sunken treasure, a mermaid, sharks and other sea-life cavort across his body, all highlighted with real gold leaf.
Sea Monkey was one of the apes chosen for the ‘official trail launch’ outside the Odeon Cinema on Norwich Riverside. Great event! Huge thanks to Michelle of Purple Photography for all the good photos.
I heard that there was to be another WildinArt event in Norwich – I missed the first, the elephants, as I was living in Hong Kong. Firms could sponsor a statues, pick a design or artist and have their details on display around the city all summer, after which the gorillas would be auctioned off for the charities. I entered a couple of designs and was overjoyed when the ladies of Jungle PRchose my ‘Urban Jungle’ from 100s of entries. I have enjoyed working with them before, so was happy to be the 1st artists in the empty shop we had as a studio in Castle Mall working on a statue.
Bigger than I expected – and I hear real gorillas may be larger! In all my Natural History Museum/ Zoo education career/ travels I didn’t actually meet a live one so I wouldn’t know… They came ‘undercoated’ in white, so I invested in a lot of decent acrylic paint and got started.
The idea was that although the project was to raise funds for BREAK Charity AND theBorn Free Foundation, I could highlight the difficulties local urban wildlife had. Lots of easily identified animals (fox, robin, hedgehog) were painted on, peeping out of an untidy garden as that’s the best for wildlife.
Norwich cathedral’s tower with its falcons was shown, as was a thrush on a wall with a glittered snail trail leading down the brickwork as a maze for kids to let any snails escape into (or be caught from!). And the famed starling swirls of Suffolk (which I often saw when working for Suffolk Wildlife Trust).
There were bees & ladybirds to ‘spot’, a tree with a sleepy owl and cheeky squirrel, and a small pond full of frogs and newts etc. A rainbow sunset down the back darkened to a bat in an evening sky. Scattered along the sides were hints on things to encourage those species into your urban area – bug homes, pots for hedgehogs, flowers, plants and food they like…
It was lovely to see the other artists arrive and start work too. Mik Richardson is the expert guru on these statues and is now a great friend. His Radio Gogo Freddie Mercury was stunning and did not deserve the ridiculous removal- he had to re-paint the face after it went out in public, as a hairy gorilla, after the Freddy Mercury lot objected. Insane. And then someone from Queen made totally wrong comments about Mik He had the best result – Freddie went for about triple of any other price at the auction – £20,000 for the charities!
it took a lot longer than I expected- over a week of 8+ hour days! I’m used to painting on curves at awkward angles from my body work, but I reckon just the head and front legs of the gorilla has about as much surface area as an average body model!
It’s a nice change to have done something that was varnished on and will last a bit longer than my usual ephemeral stuff!
The statues were taken off to have those code square weblink things attached to them with the artist and sponsor details on plaques, and then lorried to their locations. Jungle Jim was on Fyes Bridge in Norwich; for months I had photos tagged to me on my Facebook page of people cuddling him, riding him, even a bridal party around him! Sadly I’ve lost them all after I was banned from Facebook (for unsafe photos even though I don’t paint nudes and the ‘final straw’ banned photo was of a face painted fairy! Its vindictive and has been happening to body artists worldwide:/)
Sadly he was quite gouged and bashed up from people sliding on and off him – even a hole in him under the owl, which isn’t easy to do, so i had to do a fair bit of touching up before the auction.