Nick Park inspects Julie Vernon's mosaic Gromit.
For a few years now, Wild in Art has been holding charity events in which plain white sculptures of animals are decorated by various artists and spread across a city. The events include elephants in Norwich, penguins in Liverpool, toads in Hull, sheep in Skipton... and now, with the collaboration of Aardman, Gromits in Bristol.
Gromit Unleashed started on the first of July and will run until the eighth of September. During that time, eighty sculptures of Gromit - all made using the same base, but each with an overall paint-job given by an individual artist or art team - will be spread across Aardman's home city of Bristol, with proceeds going to the local children's hospital.
Comedian Harry Hill was one of the celebrity artists involved, contributing a bald Gromit.
A range of celebrities got in on the act, with the likes of Jools Holland, Joanna Lumley and Harry Hill providing their own takes on Gromit.
Pixar's contribution to the trail.
Other than the involvement of Aardman, there are several connections to animation and cartoons. Pixar contributed a Buzz Lightyear Gromit; Richard Williams painted a rainbow Gromit; the crew behind The Beano plastered their Gromit with a comic collage; Raymond Briggs combined Gromit with his immortal Snowman; Where's Wally? creator Martin Handford placed Gromit into those iconic red and white stripes; Gruffalo illustrator Axel Scheffler came up with the Grommalo; Simon Tofield, creator of Simon's Cat, doodled his feline star over Gromit; Quentin Blake brought his distinctive style to his sculpture; political cartoonist Gerald Scarfe coated Gromit with one of his trademark ink splashes; and graffiti artist Tom Deams and Zayn Malik of boy band One Direction provided unofficial takes on two DC Comics superheroes, turning their Gromits into Superman and the Green Lantern respectively.
Simon Tofield's Gromit
Finally, there were a few designs coming from within Aardman itself. amongst the Gromits was a traditional, unadorned version of the character credited simply to the Aardman studio. Richard Starzak, aka Richard Goleszowski, aka Golly, collaborated with artist Jane Kite to create a Trojan Gromit operated by Shaun the Sheep. Nick Park, meanwhile, came up with a design which incorporated both of his characters...