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Southampton Solent University go wild!

6th June 2016

Illustration student and artist Sam Hiscock recently won our competition for the chance to design our zebra sculpture as part of Marwell Wildlife’s Zany Zebras project – a public art extravaganza bringing art to the streets and parks of Southampton this summer.

We catch up with Sam on his experience and reveal the design of our zebra sculpture’s coat, pictured!

What did you enjoy most about the experience?

The most enjoyable part of this experience was painting in studio space alongside the other artists involved. The variety of designs and approaches reflected the artists’ different backgrounds; on one side of me I had a mosaic-Union Jack zebra, and the other a detailed koi carp design. To me, talking to the other artists about their industry experiences, approaches and just general life experiences was what I enjoyed most.

Did your design on paper translate to the sculpture as you expected?

I did have to change and add quite a lot. The paper design did not consider one side of the zebra and left out the underside, so I did have to add more to the sculpture and actually created a much more considered and detailed design because of this. Not to mention how large the zebra was!

Were there any challenges with the project and how did you overcome these?

The largest challenge for me came down to the materials I used. I had to carefully plan which materials I would use and make sure that the thick coat of varnish finish at the end wouldn’t smudge or react badly with these materials. As I wanted to draw the last layer on the design rather than paint it, it was tricky to find the right paint pens that would not run or smudge.

What was it like to work alongside other professional artists? Did you get any valuable advice?

It was brilliant. All at different points in their careers and with different approaches, and some of them were doing more than one design and had therefore already varnished once, so it was really helpful to get their advice. In fact I am sure if I was working alone I would have forgotten about the varnish, used the wrong materials, and ended up with a very abstract ‘smudged’ zebra!

Were there any memorable moments? What were these and why?

Though the whole experience was enjoyable, seeing the finished design was the best feeling in the world. I’m not sure exactly but I think the design took around 60 hours…so when I finally saw my finished design it was a really great feeling.

You were looking forward to seeing the finished zebra, is it as you imagined it would be?

Even though I have added more detail and slightly adapted the design to the sculpture’s scale, overall the look and theory of the design hasn’t changed and it does look as I envisioned.

What's next for you?

Well a few months ago I was lucky enough to get a portfolio interview with The Bright Agency, an illustration agency based in London, who now represent me as an artist, which is very exciting! So over the next year I look forward to working with them and building a career as an illustrator. As well as this, I start a 12-month graduate jobs placement here at Solent at the end of this summer, working as the Store Manager in Re:So. So I have a very busy and exciting year ahead!

Do you have any advice for students pursuing a career in the arts?

Apply for every opportunity/competition/job going, write down or draw every idea you have, and don’t expect anything without hard work and time.

Read our first interview with Sam before the design began

Marwell’s Zany Zebras will gallop through the city’s streets in July and September 2016, creating a fun, family friendly trail for all to enjoy. Can you find our zebra on the trail? Tweet us your selfie @solentzanyzebra.

Marwell’s Zany Zebras showcases artistic talent in the local area and aims to highlight the plight of zebras in the wild. The zebra sculptures are modelled on the Grevy zebra, which is the largest and most endangered of the three species of zebra. It is taller, has larger rounded ears, and narrower stripes. The money raised from the project will to help conserve endangered Grevy’s zebras and support communities living in the arid rangelands of northern Kenya.