Gromit Unleashed - Artist Interview, Tom Berry

Friday, June 14, 2013
With only 3 weeks to go until the start of Gromit Unleashed, excitement here in the Made in Bristol office is running high.  Let us tease you with another MIB team member sneak peek... the talented Tom Berry...

Please can you introduce yourself and tell us a little bit about your work? 
My name is Tom Berry, I'm an artist and illustrator who likes to do very detailed drawings; lots of motifs and decoration inspired by nature and the pre-digital. Mostly I work with just one black pen, but I'm now beginning to in colour and use screen printing, which is very exciting. 

Why did you want to get involved with the Gromit Unleashed project? 
Sometime in January I got a 'call for entries' from Drawn in Bristol. I had a little 'should I go for this?' moment and pretty quickly decided I should - printed out the design template, bought some felt tips, and the rest is history! 

Where did inspiration for your design come from? 
The tree motif which covers my Gromit is something that I have used quite a lot - It was something that I knew would work well in 3D. Adding a maze into the design was really to encourage people to engage with the drawing and the contours of the sculpture. Most importantly the design was something that I knew would translate well from tiny black lines on a page to large acrylic paint-pen lines on a huge fibreglass dog! I tend to get carried away and be a little over elaborate with designs, so I had to really keep the design bold and simple in order that I execute it well. 

Where were you painting your Gromit? 
I was working in the public studio in the Galleries. People are really looking forward to the unveiling of this project and it was lovely to soak up the excitement and positivity of the passers by. Has it been a challenge transferring your style of work to a 3D dog? A little bit challenging. Firstly the lines are about twenty times thicker than I usually draw! Getting the movement of the forest to flow over the collar and between the toes was also quite tricky, some interesting positioning was required. 

What Bristol location would your Gromit feel at home? 
Somewhere green, I think. Dogs need to get out of the urban sprawl and run about just like us humans.. 

What is your favourite Wallace & Gromit film? 
Oooh probably 'The Wrong Trousers' I loved the criminal penguin! The creature comforts series are my favourite though, for portraying english culture in such an funny and honest way. 

We understand there are many amazing people involved in the Gromit Unleashed trail, which Gromit are you looking forward to seeing and why? 
Laura Cramer was working alongside me in the galleries and is essentially doing a full blown oil painting (in acrylics) across the two gromits that she is working on. After seeing the time and work put in, they are going to be really good. 

Can you tell us any behind the scenes Gromit secrets? 
Well, this one thing did happen which I promised I wouldn't tell anybody about, so strictly between the two us, and don't tell anybody ok - basically theres this rumour going round, and I don't know if this is true: Gromit isn't a dog at all, he's just a plasticine model! And wallace too! you heard it here first..

Thank you Tom.  Your Gromit looks incredible, such detail it must have taken ages to do.  For more information on Gromit Unleashed please take a look at their website.

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