Birmingham’s own rock legend Ozzy Osbourne has teamed up with shoppinginbirmingham.com and Retail Birmingham, the organisation that represents retailers in Birmingham city centre, to be part of The Big Hoot, a giant art exhibition set to descend on the city this summer.
Presented by public art specialists, Wild in Art, in partnership with Birmingham Children’s Hospital The Big Hoot will see over 90, individually designed 5ft 5inches tall, owl statues appearing throughout the city over a 10 week period from Monday 20 July.
At the end of the summer the owls will be auctioned off with all proceeds going to Birmingham Children’s Hospital.
Ozzy Osbourne said: “My son Louis was in Birmingham Children’s Hospital for quite a while as a child and they took such good care of him which I will always remember. They do amazing work for kids and families in my hometown, so I’m really pleased to be working with my artist friend Graham Frank Wright in bringing an Owl design to life to help raise funds for a great cause, it’s the perfect collaboration”.
Steve Hewlett at Retail Birmingham, said: “Ozzy is the most famous Brummie in the world and when we asked him to help design an owl for us in aid of Birmingham Children’s Hospital, he said yes straight away. ‘Ozzy’s Owl’ will be a major attraction in the city centre this summer alongside all of the other amazing owl designs. It’s been a fun time making it happen, at one point Ozzy’s Owl was set to fly over to Los Angeles but we finally had it painted here in Birmingham. The Big Hoot is a fabulous opportunity for us to welcome lots of visitors to the city centre giving them the chance to explore and shop as well as help raise vital funds for the children’s hospital. Having a ‘world famous’ owl in the city centre will be a big footfall driver for retailers, Ozzy and Graham have come up with a really great design and we can’t wait to reveal it to shoppers in July and we’re sure it will create a lot of interest from bidders at the auction in October.”
Artist Graham Frank Wright said: “When Ozzy and I were together in the 70’s in our younger days we were a couple of night owls. We were working doing gigs late into the night and so we both thought it would be good to paint Ozzy’s Owl as a night owl. The idea was to incorporate the stars, the midnight sky and the silhouette of the Birmingham skyline together with Ozzy’s hands and glasses, it’s a combination of Ozzy, his hometown, late nights and we both think it’s all come together.”
Louise McCathie, Director of Fundraising at Birmingham Children’s Hospital, said: “We are delighted to have Ozzy and Retail Birmingham involved in The Big Hoot this summer. It will be a fantastic opportunity for retailers to maximise the exposure of increased footfall to the city. What’s also wonderful is it will make tourists out of lots of brummies who may never have explored the magnificent beauty and heritage of our city.”
The project is the latest high profile public art project from Wild in Art, which famously hosted a similar event in Bristol which featured various giant statues depicting Gromit of ‘Wallace and Gromit’ fame, attracting worldwide headlines.
To find out more about the project, please visit www.thebighoot.co.uk.
Ozzy Owl has his own Twitter @OzzysOwl