Making people feel like themselves
This post has been written by Martlets volunteer Jill Cochrane
Brighton-based artist Katherine Griffin has achieved a creative hat trick as she joins Martlets’ Art Trail for the third time.
Katherine’s involvement and affinity with Martlets’ Art Trails is both poignant and memory making. It was the year before the Snowdog Art Trail that sadly Kathrine’s mum passed away after being diagnosed with a rare and aggressive cancer – and this in part inspired her to enter her design.
Martlets invite the artists to visit the hospice to see for themselves the vital work we do – and Katherine was blown away by what she saw.
“When I visited Martlets, I thought it was an amazing place. My mum died in a busy hospital and didn’t get the chance to go to the hospice. I would have loved for her to have had this experience, and I think it’s worth supporting for everyone that needs it. It’s a place that’s very close to my heart, particularly having lost both of my parents so young.
I particularly remember the room onto the garden and the self-care provided for people. It’s the simple things like having your hair washed or your nails painted. Making people feel like themselves when other things are being stripped away – it’s those little touches that make such a big difference.”
It’s fair to say life is often full of moments and milestones to celebrate or remember, and in Katherine’s case, it’s clear that life and art coalesce in the most treasured of ways. It must have been a bittersweet moment when Katherine became pregnant before working on her second Art Trail design for Snailspace in 2018.
“When I was asked to do one of the flagship snails, I was pregnant with my first child Ezrah who’s now five. Timing-wise it worked out well as I was able to do my design much earlier and fit it in and around my growing bump.”
Pink and green should be seen
Having seen Katherine’s Shaun in the Martlets’ Art Studio it certainly stood out in the flock of 43 sculptures. And whilst Katherine’s message is distinctly green, her Shaun is most definitely pink. Her design is all about the planet, the environment and the human impact we’re having on it. Named Eden after the Garden of Eden, her sculpture stands out for all the right reasons.
“My Shaun design is loosely based on the rainforest. I was thinking about what people might leave behind and what our legacy will be – and I imagined plastic and concrete instead of dinosaur bones! I’ve also been inspired by the pink flamingos in California, which were hunted out of existence. It was in the 50s that Don Featherstone took this iconic bird and invented the kitsch plastic flamingoes which were popular in hotel decor at the time – and it’s something I incorporated into my paintings.”
Whilst on the surface Eden is vibrant and eye-catching, Katherine’s work has deeper meaning. And there’s an underlying environmental theme running through all of her work.
“I want people to think about their imprint as global citizens. With things like deforestation there’ll be nothing left of the rainforest. For my design I’ve incorporated several animals that inhabit the rainforest – a pink flamingo, a distinctive squirrel monkey and the hanging monkeys you find in a Barrel of Monkeys together with a helium filled toucan.
As an artist, and as we all try to make changes for the better, I’m developing a more environmentally friendly practice to help reduce my own impact on the planet. The irony of using acrylic paint on Shaun is not lost on me, but it’s something I’m looking to change.”
Joy and colour
“When people look at my Shaun sculpture, I’d love them to think about what they can do to help protect the natural environment. I also hope it simply brings joy and colour into people’s lives.”
It’s wonderful to be selected as one of the artists again and a real privilege to paint alongside all the other artists involved. I’ll certainly be doing the Trail with my family. My daughter Ezrah will love it!”
In Katherine’s world it seems history has a way of repeating itself. As we went live with Shaun by the Sea, she revealed some baa-rilliant news – Katherine is pregnant with her second child.
“Yet again the timing of my pregnancy has been perfect as I’ve been able to work on my Shaun design and finish it ahead of my due date. My baby is due in the middle of the Art Trail!”
For those of you that have waded through the muddy fields of Glastonbury, you’ll have seen Katherine’s creativity aloft in the banners around the Park and Pyramid Stages, and commissioned by the Green Futures Field, a place for inspiring green ideas.
Closer to home, you may have seen Katherine’s murals in and around Brighton & Hove. Alongside working on her Shaun design, she’s been busy working on a mural commissioned by Happy Mountain Community. This too has a strong message about the natural world as it captures the importance of flowers and bees as pollinators.
“Alongside designing my Shaun sculpture, I’ve been working on a mural in Brighton. I asked a couple of my fellow Shaun the Sheep artists to help me finish it. I’m quite big now and not up for climbing ladders or scaffolding. I’d like to thank the artists Francesca Grace McLeod and Pinky Vision (aka Luke) for lending a hand.
I’d also like to take this opportunity to say a big thank you to Trafalgar Place for sponsoring my Shaun sculpture.”
I’m sure you will join me in wishing Katherine and her growing family all the very best when the time comes. And we look forward to seeing her new bundle meeting Eden and the wider flock.
Katherine’s Eden sculpture is sponsored by Trafalgar Place.
Find out more…
Visit our sculpturesView all our sculptures
View Eden and all 120 Shauns from the art trail at our Farewell EventGet your tickets