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Laying it all bear: artist Geo Law on the Bears of Sheffield event

As a supporting partner of The Children’s Hospital Charity’s Bears of Sheffield event, the Henry Boot Group of Companies will be more excited than most to see the 60 big bears hitting the streets of Sheffield this month. We are joining Banner Plant and undertaking the un-bear-lievably complex task of moving and installing all the bears across the city.

The Bears of Sheffield trail opens on 12th July and will raise money for a new Cancer and Leukaemia ward at Sheffield Children’s Hospital. We have a longstanding partnership with The Children’s Hospital Charity, having previously provided significant support for the highly successful Herd of Sheffield event, which raised £610,000 for the charity in 2016.

As part of the event we have also sponsored a bear – named Be Nice & Be Together – which was designed and painted by Sheffield-born and London-based artist, Geo Law. We spoke to Geo about the inspiration behind his design, his work and how he got involved in the trail.

Geo Law also worked on the Herd of Sheffield trail back in 2016
We have sponsored Be Nice & Be Together on the trail which goes live on 12th July

What was your inspiration behind the Be Nice & Be Together bear?

During the first lockdown I had this image in my head to create something bright and enthusiastic, so I wanted to use blue and yellow as the base colours and find a way to weave my characters into the design.

The slogans Be Nice & Be Together were very last minute ideas, but I wanted the design to feel positive and people who would see it with their children would take on board the message and enjoy looking at the bear in real life.

How did you bring your concept to life?

Before I started painting, I had to lightly sand the fiberglass statue down to smooth it and then applied a primer of white paint. Once that’s dry, I was able to use colour emulsion and Posca Markers to paint and draw my characters and patterns onto the bear.

I work on a lot of mural jobs so painting on surfaces is something I enjoy doing but getting around the nooks and crannies of a bear statue did present challenges!

Why did you decide to get involved in the trail?

I’m from Sheffield and I’ve had personal ties to Sheffield Children’s Hospital from when I was a kid and my younger sister was having to frequently visit. I also wanted to help raise funds for when the bears are auctioned off and to see my own bear standing proud outdoors in the city would be smashing. Sheffield’s always been a great place for me to live and work on my art practice so it’s nice to involve myself in projects like these.

Have you worked with The Children’s Hospital Charity before?

I actually painted the first elephant, “Effie” to launch the Herd of Sheffield back in 2016 and was given a second elephant to paint and I named that one “Lingo”. They were both different design approaches but really fun to work on.

How would you describe your artwork?

My work is bright and enthusiastic with a lot of characters and references to cartoons, comic books and video games but I like to use many different approaches for different effect.

The style is built from a lot of drawing but I can work digitally too, using a Wacom tablet or iPad Pro and computer software to give the artwork a little more pop, this is something I do a lot for my commercial work. I like to keep the style bold and fun with a choice of minimal colour or plenty of vibrant tones.

To help support the Children’s Hospital Charity’s Bears of Sheffield event, you can make a donation directly to Geo Law’s Be Nice & Be Together bear here.