Local artist chosen for charity birdwatch

Bird Nerd pens design for The Big Hoot 2015.

Local artist, author and illustrator Matt Sewell is one of the very first artists chosen to design an owl for The Big Hoot, a massive art trail set to sweep into Birmingham this summer.

Formerly an artist in residence on BBC Two’s hit show Spring Watch and renowned for his bird illustrations, Sewell has showcased his love of watching and painting birds on a 165cm tall owl statue to raise vital funds for Birmingham Children’s Hospital.

Presented by public art specialists, Wild in Art, in partnership with Birmingham Children’s Hospital, The Big Hoot will see over 100 beautifully designed owl statues appearing throughout the city over a 10 week period.

Sewell’s design for The Big Hoot encompasses many of the different species of birds that can be found across all boroughs of Birmingham, some which will be more well-known than others, including ducks and swans. At the end of the ten week trail the owls will be auctioned off with all proceeds going to Birmingham Children’s Hospital.

Sewell, who lives in Shrewsbury with his wife and two children, said: “I’ve always loved street art and graffiti and wanted to bring this love in line with my passion for birds which is where my inspiration for The Big Hoot owl came from.

“I find owls truly fascinating and they are a great inspiration for creativity and art. They are just amazing creatures, they can change size, see in the dark and swivel their heads 180 degrees. They are absolutely bonkers but that is what makes them so special. I sometimes think they have superior powers because they do that many weird and wonderful things.”

Sewell has also turned his hand to writing, having published a series of bird themed books, the latest of which is all about his fabulous eagle-eyed friends. Owls – our most enchanting bird sold 7,000 copies in its first week and is available now to purchase from Matt’s official website. Formerly published work includes Our Garden Birds and Our Woodland Birds.

“The Big Hoot is going to be one massive festival all about birds and I can’t wait for my art to be at the heart of it. Like every artist I crave attention for my designs and I am grateful to have this opportunity to showcase my work across Birmingham in a fun and quirky way. This project is guaranteed to put a smile on people’s faces. I want my design to be a talking point, I want families to follow the trail, stop, admire and ask questions about the different birds on my owl. That’s what art is all about, opening up a pathway for creative conversations.” Matt added.

Previously Sewell has illustrated for the Guardian newspaper, Barbour and the RSPB, his work is of high acclaim and admiration by swarms of people across the globe. Having always experimented with different canvases including T-shirts, posters, interiors and walls he now adds owl sculptures to his repertoire.

This project is the latest high profile public art project from Wild in Art, which famously hosted a similar event in Bristol which featured various giant statues depicting Gromit of ‘Wallace and Gromit’ fame, attracting worldwide headlines.

The company has also created exhibitions in locations ranging from Norwich to Sydney, as well as Transport for London’s Year of the Bus Sculpture Trails, the Clyde Mascot trails for the Commonwealth Games in Glasgow and the Olympic mascot trail ahead of London 2012, each significantly increasing footfall to the host cities, helping to give local businesses a boost while generating increased profile.

For more information about the project, visit www.thebighoot.co.uk.