Tuesday, November 24, 2015

Gromit unleashed: Bunty now a figurine!

It all started 2 years ago when The Grand Appeal, the Bristol Children's Hospital charity, launched Gromit Unleashed! The public arts trail was sponsored by a host of different business, from small local companies to national corporations. And many well known artists and household names came onboard to design and paint the Gromits, including Sir Quentin Blake, Nick Park, Cath Kidston, and Disney Pixar.

The 80 giant Gromit's were unleashed on Bristol, for the entire summer of 2013, bringing 1.18 million people to the city, and when they finally went under the hammer they raised £2.3 million for charity.

I was very honoured to be included in the event, and painted my Gromit, Bunty, with a Bristol street party theme with plenty of bunting, balloons and boats.

5 foot tall, it took over 2 months to paint, and lots of pots of acrylic paint! I shared a big painting space with lots of other artists, we kept each other company and helped encourage each other too. As you can see it was quite cold, painting in March/April time, wrapped up in a big jumper!

Once he was finished, he was sent away to be lacquered, and then joined the rest of his friends on the harbourside train on the opening day, where I was reunited:
After the big launch day, all the Gromits were sent off to their own spots around Bristol, launching on 1st July (which happened to also be my 30th birthday!) So Bunty spent the summer outside St Mary Redcliffe:

Bunty was sponsored by Unum, who were all very enthusiastic and excited to see their Gromit in situ, coming out to have a big group photo:
Unum were very generous and commissioned me to paint a 'portrait' of Bunty for them to keep, posters of which went on sale through The Grand Appeal, raising yet more funds for charity.
So for the whole of the summer of 2013, the Gromits enjoyed meeting all their visitors, until finally they went under the hammer to be sold and sent to their new homes! I, and many of the other artists, went to the auction together, and cheered each other on when each Gromit came out on stage. The first, Patch, set the ball park and sold for £36,000, and the highest, Gromit Lightyear, sold for £65,000.

I was over the moon to see my Gromit, Bunty, sell for £31,000!
A total of £2.3 million was raised on the night, and a total of £5 million to date for Bristol Children's Hospital, and they're still going strong! Part of the funds which are still providing for the Children's hospital come from the Gromit figurines. Bunty has been in the process of being transformed for 2 years, but it's taken so long because there is so much detail to accurately reproduce! But, finally, the wait is over... 2 years after the trail, my Gromit, Bunty, has been transformed in to a mini figurine! And he's eager to join the rest of the pack. I have one of my very own, at home on my desk, and can honestly say he's a very true reproduction of the original and full of loveable character!
He's made of solid resin, and is 16.5cm high, 12cm wide (ear to ear), and approx. 17cm long, and is available to buy for £35! Take a look in the Grand Appeal shop and on the Grand Appeal website...
 A perfect Christmas present for a loved one!