Is it a sheep or is it a Zebra?

This piece was written by Martlets volunteer Simon Eden.

Is it a sheep or is it a zebra? That’s for you to find out when you visit our latest art trail in Brighton & Hove before November 5.

Shaun the Sheep a well-loved character, entertaining fans for over 15 years with his mischievous adventures full of slapstick humour. Forty-two different Shauns are now on display on the city’s streets and public places offering a colourful cavalcade of eye-catching professional designs. 

Brighton-based artist J David Bennett’s Shaun design is the exotically named Ze-baaaa. 





Attention seeking 

He said: “There’s a reason behind the strange name. My style is generally very bold and I wanted a design that would seize your attention from a distance. So it’s a big and bold black and white Shaun – one from first sighting that turns a sheep into a zebra. It’s using those stripes to tease the eye. It also meant I couldn’t resist the simple play on words, from Zebra to Ze-baaaa.” 

However, the apparent simplicity of the design is misleading, 

J David said: “Simple in theory maybe. But it was more time-consuming than you would think. Painting bold neat lines on a big 3D structure – sometimes while laying on your back – can be most demanding. The whole exercise was indeed new to me because my artistic life nowadays usually consists of my laptop and paper – not giant sculptures of Shaun the Sheep!” 

This was not J David’s first taste of using his artistic skills to entertain children. He was brought up in Lewes and after obtaining a degree in graphic design, followed by a Masters in Animation, he pursued a career making children’s TV cartoons.   

“I eventually moved to Brighton for a quieter life. But all those years in kids TV certainly inspired my fun and colourful artwork style, which I’ve tried to bring to Ze-baaaa,” he said. 

Supporting Martlets  

It was the success of past trails that led to David applying to take part in the one this year. 

“It’s such a great art event to get the city involved in as families go out and about sculpture spotting and enjoying the imagination and creativity of a range of artistic talents. 

“But there’s more to the trail than that. It raises money for a great charity to continue making a crucial contribution to the community. And I know just how important that work is – sadly I have first-hand experience having a relative needing hospice care.”

Find out more

Visit our sculptures
See Ze-baaaa at our farewell event
Trail Sponsors Charity Contact