We are delighted Ringtons is taking part in the largest public art event to take place in the north east – The Great North Snowdogs campaign.
Organised by Wild in Art in support of St Oswald’s Hospice, the unique art trail will see the streets of Tyne and Wear transformed into a rather unusual art gallery thanks to the addition of 60 x 1.5 meter high Snowdog sculptures as well as packs of over 100 smaller Snowdogs which have been designed by local school children.
The cute character is taken from The Snowman and The Snowdog story by Raymond Briggs, and each personalised Snowdog will be hand-decorated by talented amateur and professional artists from all over the country. Our very own Ringtons Snowdog has been designed by London-based artist Jenny Leonard. Jenny is an experienced trail-artist having designed for 22 sculptures for other trails, including two beautiful elephants that are currently displayed in the Herd of Sheffield trail and a “Tropic-Owl” that was part of the hugely successful Big Hoot trail in Birmingham in 2015.
Can you tell us a little bit about some of the other trails you have taken part in?
I started by doing three gorillas in 2013 for GoGo Gorillas in Norwich where I was living at the time, and then I was hooked and wanted to get involved in any I could find! Since then I have done three giraffes for a trail in Colchester, two miniature buses for Transport for London (TFL) in London, an owl, two lions, a baron and even a one-off baby panda for work with a Primary school!
This year I have a gnome at Hampton court, a rhino in Exeter, a pig in Ipswich, three Zebras in Southampton, a Lion in Scotland and two elephants in Sheffield! And SOON to have three Snowdogs out on the streets by the end of the year! So it’s been the best year ever!
How did you get involved in Wild in Art trails?
I followed them on social media and literally applied toevery trail they had going! I always try to make my designs fun and things people can interact with and recognise. I love it when people want to have their photos taken with my work because that is really uplifting for me, and it is getting the public looking at visual things on the streets instead of down at mobile phones.
What’s your favourite public art trail design so far?
I think this year I was really proud of my ‘Jungle Jim’ Elephant I have in Sheffield, because I made it very detailed and used the trunk of the elephant to form part of the shape of a huge python.
What’s the best reaction you’ve had to one of your art pieces?
Someone who bought one of my buses at auction then commissioned me to do a huge dinosaur mural at her house so that was really great. I once had a stranger get in touch with me to say he had one of my London Landscape scenes tattooed around his arm. It was wild, he sent me a picture! So I suppose that’s a compliment, but it wasn’t exactly designed to be a tattoo, haha!
Why did you decide to enter a design into the Great North Snowdogs Campaign?
I just love all of these trails and I am working all across the UK on them at the moment, I also really like the fact that they all raise money for really worthy causes and partner charities, so it has a really good cycle and is the sort of feel good artwork project I like to be involved with.
Your trail designs are incredibly varied – which has been the most challenging design and how long did it take to complete?
I think my Zoot Suit Zebra in Southampton was a challenge because I built a hat on him from scratch from fibreglass, resin and plaster and mod roc, a whole heap of materials to make it all work, it was a new challenge for me, but I think it worked well in the end. I learnt you have to work with gloves and a mask the hard way.
What are your trail painting essentials to have at hand? Tea and coffee maybe?
Painting essentials: Absolutely a cuppa tea or coffee,plenty of choccies, some people to chat to and then give me a dollop of paint and something to paint on and I’m a very happy gal.