AFTER painting giant pigs, bears and hares for art trails across the UK, artist Anne-Marie Byrne is well-versed in decorating oversized animal sculptures.

The 58-year-old artist, who lives in Ipswich has decorated the giraffe sculpture sponsored by the Worcester Stands Tall Art trail’s education partner, West Midland Safari Park.

The sculpture will go on display alongside 29 other large giraffes for 10 weeks, starting from Monday, 9th July.

How did you get involved with Worcester Stands Tall?

"I found out about Wild in Art and its work with charities across the country back in 2014 when my home town decided to have a porcine sculpture trail to raise money for St Elizabeth’s Hospice. I entered designs and one was chosen. Since then I’ve been entering designs into various trails, both for Wild in Art and for other similar trails."

How do you feel to be a part of this project?

"Honoured and delighted that a sponsor liked one of my designs and that I can be a part of another project to raise funds for deserving causes. It’s also a lot of fun seeing how I can bring a design to life on a challenging surface like a 2.5m tall giraffe."

Tell us a little bit about your background as an artist?

"I loved art when I was a child, but after leaving school, and choosing non artistic degree subjects and jobs, I went for many years without doing much more than doodling in the margins of meeting notes. Since taking voluntary redundancy and then effective early retirement, I’ve been rediscovering my artistic mojo and having a lot of fun learning new things. I’ve experimented with digital art thanks to getting into fanfiction and fan-art, as well as trying out several different traditional media. I love colour but also like playing with contrast."

How would you describe your work?

"As an artist, I’m a work in progress. I’m hoping that I’m improving with every piece I produce. I’m fighting against my urge to be an artistic neat freak who only ever worked on paper and small scale, so painting giant animals is a great antidote for those tendencies."

Have you painted a sculpture for a Wild in Art trail before? Which ones?

"I have. Several now; Pigs Gone Wild, The Big Sleuth, The Big Stampede, GoGoHares and a non-Wild in Art trail of otters in Dartmoor. I also painted three large ducks for the Grand Norwich Duck Race and will be painting a bee for Bee in the City."

What has it been like decorating an 8ft tall giraffe?

"A challenge. The biggest one yet, in fact, because the giraffes are so tall, I ended up borrowing a neighbour’s garage to paint in, and even then, had to do most of the work with the sculpture lying on its side. If the weather had been better, I’d have tried to work outside with it upright, but as it was, rain, wind and snow effectively put a stop to that. It also meant varnishing had to be planned on weather forecasts"

What are you most excited about for Worcester Stands Tall this summer?

"I’m really looking forward to seeing the wonderful variety of designs once the trail is open. I know from previous trails that my fellow artists are so talented and imaginative."