V&A Dundee

William Morris-inspired Oor Wullie unveiled

Press release

03 June 2016

One of Scotland’s most loved comic characters has been transformed into a William Morris-inspired sculpture for V&A Museum of Design Dundee, as part of a city-wide cultural charity project.

V&A Dundee invited graduate designers from all disciplines, who are either Scottish or trained in Scotland, to submit designs for the opportunity to create an Oor Wullie statue inspired by the new museum.

Abertay University graduate, video game artist and graphic designer, Ellen Brown, was selected as the winner and commissioned to create her ‘Strawberry Thief’ design.

Inspired by the work of William Morris and her time spent working with game designer Sophia George creating the iPad game Strawberry Thief, Ellen is giving the greatly loved comic book character a beautiful makeover.

Ellen said: "It is an honour to represent V&A Dundee as it helps young designers to flourish by offering them new and exciting opportunities, while working among so many talented artists for such a fantastic project.

“As I'm primarily a digital artist, painting the sculpture has been a really interesting challenge and I have found it so rewarding seeing my William Morris-inspired Strawberry Thief design come together. It’s wonderful to bring the design back to Dundee and combine it with such an iconic part of Dundee's artistic history.”

The re-styled Oor Wullie will be on show at Overgate Shopping Centre until 15th June before he relocates to a new location for the Summer of 2016.

Oor Wullie’s Bucket Trail is a major public arts event that will see the streets of Dundee come to life with 50 giant Oor Wullie sculptures in a spectacle of colour throughout the summer of 2016.

The project is a collaboration between The ARCHIE Foundation, DC Thomson and Wild in Art aimed at inspiring the public, attracting visitors and encouraging local people to tour their city to find all of the unique sculptures.

Neil Cooney, Oor Wullie Bucket Trail Project Manager from The ARCHIE Foundation, said: “The Oor Wullie Bucket Trail is about celebrating the character and creativity of Dundee on behalf of a great cause. We are incredibly fortunate to have so many talented artists and designers, many of whom are Scottish design graduates, working to transform the Oor Wullie sculptures.

“Our heartfelt thanks go to V&A Museum of Design Dundee for supporting the Oor Wullie Bucket Trail and emerging design talent, and to Ellen for dreaming up such an amazing concept for our wee pal!”

The sculptures will be on show for 10 weeks during the summer before going to auction to help raise funds for The ARCHIE Foundation’s Tayside Appeal to create a twin theatre suite for Tayside Children’s Hospital.

Ellen worked with V&A’s first Game Designer in Residence, Sophia George, to help create the artwork for the William Morris-inspired Strawberry Thief game in the summer 2014, while studying at Abertay University.

The game then featured as part of V&A Dundee’s first touring exhibition Design in Motion.

Philip Long, Director of V&A Dundee said: “As part of our ambition to create a world-class museum, V&A Dundee is supporting graduate designers.

“We are very glad to be part of Ellen’s journey into the world of professional design and support her with the opportunity to be involved in such a worthy charitable project.”

For more information about the Oor Wullie Bucket Trail, please visit http://oorwulliebuckettrail.com/

Image credit: V&A Dundee/ Julie Howden