Clock ticking for Great Gorilla
For Great Gorilla artist Jane Veveris Callan, the clock is definitely ticking.
Jane’s design features clocks – lots of clocks. “There are ten clock and watch faces - and also a hidden hourglass!”
The Great Gorillas Project is celebrating the 90th birthday of Paignton Zoo Environmental Park. Life-size model gorillas are being sponsored by businesses and community groups, painted in original designs by specially-commissioned artists and displayed in public, creating a unique art trail around Torbay and Exeter.
Jane: “My design is inspired by the symbolic Doomsday Clock which heralds impending disaster - in this case, the urgency to conserve endangered gorillas. It incorporates a variety of clock faces all showing the time as five minutes to midnight. The smiley face watch with no hands symbolises hope and action!”
Five Minutes to Midnight has been sponsored by South Devon law firm Wollen Michelmore. Managing Partner Chris Hart explained why they chose Jane’s design: “Two reasons – firstly, the design is incredibly striking as a work of art. Secondly, the title of the piece, “Five Minutes to Midnight” is a very powerful message so far as the urgency of the need for conservation is concerned.”
What did Chris think when he saw him in Jane’s studio? “That we’d made the right decision! The piece is indeed very powerful – it has real “wow” factor!”
Chris is hoping that their gorilla will stand on the Torquay seafront for the ten week trail that starts in early August. “Wollen Michelmore got involved for a variety of reasons - the cause itself, the fact that it’s such an impressive project across South Devon. We have always been very keen supporters of the work of Paignton Zoo – and this is going to be great fun!”
Jane really enjoyed the challenge of creating a design for a 3D object. “I always try in my designs to keep an element of the animal that the sculpture depicts, by either hinting at the anatomy or something of its character. I think this makes them more appealing, especially to children.
“I used acrylic paints and a graphic style for painting ‘Five Minutes to Midnight’, because I felt the clock and watch faces should have impact and be bold enough to stand out at a distance. But there are also more detailed areas to give extra interest close up.
“I made circular paper templates for drawing the clocks and used a pencil and string compass for the curved areas. Circles are not the easiest things to draw or paint by hand, especially on a 3D surface!”
The Bath-based artist has worked on a number of life-size creatures for public art events. She graduated from the same art school – Loughborough – as another Great Gorillas artist, Stuart Wright, who has painted Hope for sponsors Zoo Vue.
The natural world is a common theme in her work.
“Animal charities are close to my heart, so it’s great to help raise awareness and funds and be part of such a fun free public art display. I‘m very grateful that Wollen Michelmore chose my design.” For further information go to: www.greatgorillas.org.uk.