Cathy's brush with Big Sleuth fame

VIDEO REPORT: Illustrator Cathy Simpson is the creative talent behind the West Brom’s charity bear sculpture.

A Midlands illustrator has used her talents to secure one of the hottest artistic tickets in the region this summer.

Cathy Simpson from Bromsgrove has seen her design become part of The Big Sleuth, the public art initiative which is proving a major attraction across Birmingham and surrounding areas.

Cathy’s Picnic Time for Teddy Bears design is one of 100 giant bear sculptures which are forming a trail in streets, parks and open spaces across the West Midlands and is sponsored by leading regional building society the West Brom.

Picnic Time bear is situated outside Central Sixth in the heart of West Bromwich town centre and is part of the project designed to raise money for Birmingham’s Children Hospital Charity.

Cathy fought off competition from hundreds of artists to earn her place on the trail.

She said: “I’m thrilled to be part of The Big Sleuth because it is genuinely one of the best projects you can be involved in as an artist.

“You come up with a design for the showcase along with lots of other artists and it’s then down to whether one of the sponsors takes a shine to your idea. Thankfully, the West Brom were happy for me to bring my idea to life.

“I was part of a similar initiative two years ago when two of my designs for owls were selected for The Big Hoot and I’m every bit as proud to be part of it this year.

“It took me between 60 and 70 hours to complete the work but the idea came to me very quickly. I was a big fan of the Teddy Bear’s Picnic song when I was younger and when I heard that bears were the choice of animal for this year’s trail, it was an obvious link.

“I’ve been down to see Picnic Time for Teddy Bears in its new home and it gives me such a warm feeling to see people taking an interest.”

Cathy launched her career after studying History of Art at Leicester University and is now a member of the Association of Illustrators and Professional Cartoonists’ Organisation.

Birmingham’s Children Hospital has linked up with creative experts Wild in Art for the family friendly Big Sleuth trail. All sculptures will be on display until 17 September and then auctioned off to raise vital funds for the hospital. 

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