18 January 2017

Oor Wullie artist visits creation in his new home

Oor Wullie artist visits creation in his new home

One of the artists behind the iconic Oor Wullie sculptures has visited his creation in its new home at Abertay.

David Marr came to see Silicon Wullie in all its glory at Abertay’s main reception, where Wullie greets staff, students and visitors every day.

And David also revealed his initial drawings for the sculpture – which even included a Terminator-inspired creation.

Last summer, 55 individually designed Oor Wullie statues were positioned in and around Dundee as part of the Archie Foundation’s Oor Wullie Bucket Trail.

David, 39, said he could not believe how successful the trail had become.

He said, ‘I found out about the trail on the Creative Scotland website. There were templates to fill in so I initially submitted drawings for a steampunk Wullie, sitting on a coal bucket, complete with pistons, cogs and inspired by Tik-Tok from Return to Oz.

‘The deadline was extended so I submitted another one. I wanted to do something futuristic so I came up with Silicon Wullie, after having a go at RoboCop and Terminator-inspired designs.

‘I was delighted when Silicon Wullie was picked.’

Edinburgh-based David explained that the process of creating Silicon Wullie took around six days.

He explained, ‘I sprayed the statue blue as a base then taped off the areas to mask for the design.

‘I used spray paint rather than a brush as I didn’t want brush strokes on what was meant to look like metal. The hardest part was making him look symmetrical.

‘I was so happy with the end result. I’d never done anything like that before and was nervous about how he’d turn out.’

David, along with some of the artists, went on a bus tour of the trail.

He added, ‘It was amazing to see how popular the trail was and surreal to hear that there were concerns from local dog walkers about the number of people turning up to see Silicon Wullie at the Observatory.

‘The trail was beyond all our expectations. Oor Wullie is part of Dundee’s identity and the trail brought everyone together.’

David is Office Manager at the charity Art in Healthcare, which brings art and creativity to patients, staff and visitors at hospitals and other health care sites.So Archie’s appeal to create a twin operating theatre at Tayside Children’s Hospital is a cause close to his heart.

Following the trail, the statues were sold at an auction at Dundee Rep Theatre, which raised a total of £883,000. Silicon Wullie was bought for £10,000 and brought to his new home at Abertay University.

David said, ‘I watched the auction online. I was so nervous to see if anyone would buy him.

‘It’s nice to have played a part in raising so much money.’

David met with Abertay Principal Nigel Seaton during his visit to campus and spoke of his delight at seeing his ‘old pal’ Silicon Wullie again.

‘I loved seeing him in his new home and I’m pleased he’s being seen by so many people’, David said.

‘It’s apt for him to be in such a modern place, with Abertay being the leading computer gaming university.’

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