Setting the baa-r

This post has been written by Martlets volunteer Jill Cochrane.

Artist and animator Danni Smith is a returning artist after her Snailspace sculpture achieved the highest amount at auction back in 2018.

“I couldn’t believe it. There were so many well-known, amazing artists with such quality work compared to mine. I think my snail did well because it was covered in flowers which people like. I’m feel lucky to be part of it again.” 

It was Danni’s aunt, who works in a Martlets shop, who suggested she submit designs for both Snailspace and Shaun by the Sea. 

“The Snailspace Art Trail was the biggest thing I’d ever done as an artist. And I’ve had family members benefit from hospice care, so I have a good understanding of Martlets and what they do.” 

Inspired by nature 

Several of our Shaun designs have been inspired by nature and the environment. Danni’s sculpture is called Briny and was initially inspired by the sea kelp forests located off the Sussex coast. 

Danni says: “I love being out in nature or on my allotment. My Shaun design captures the wetlands and vulnerable species local to us. It’s got lots of flora and fauna from head to tail.

Coincidentally when I was painting my Shaun, I saw David Attenborough’s Wild Isles, which featured some of the endangered animals in my design. I’ve included newts, seahorses and the Greater Mouse Eared Bat amongst others. Otters feature large too. 

I’ve learnt a lot and hope others enjoy learning about the natural world or are inspired to help protect the environment – right down to not leaving litter on the beach!” 

A sense of belonging  

 The artists, whether early in their career or more establish, are the creative heart of the Art Trail and the city. Each year the artists we bring together become part of the Martlets family. Danni originally studied animation, but her family life has taken priority. 

“I have two ten-year-old children and my youngest is three this year. I’m not working as a full-time artist yet, but I’d love it to be my career. My dream job would be to work for Aardman. I’ve had so much encouragement from the other artists. I now feel a much stronger sense of belonging to this artistic community, which is lovely.” 

Can we raise the bar? 

Let’s hope we can beat what Martlets raised last year when our flock goes to auction on 27th November. 

Danni concludes: “It was an amazing thing that happened at the Snailspace auction, but I’m not expecting the same thing to happen for me this year. The standard is so high, and the artists are even better.” 

Danni has certainly set the bar for this year’s Shaun by the Sea auction, and we’re quietly keeping everything crossed that it’s another baa-rilliant fundraiser. 

Danni Smiths’ Briny is sponsored by One Family. 

Find out more…

Don’t forget to download the Shaun by the Sea app.

Download the app

If you want to make a serious bid for one of our flock like Briny, register for the auction on 27th November or join us on Facebook Live. 

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