Meet the artist: Ben Cavanagh

Date published: 10 July 2024

Get to know Ben

Ben Cavanagh is the artist behind Fowler – currently residing outside Arundel Wetland Centre. Ben is a mural artist and illustrator who lives in Littlehampton.

As a local, he’s familiar with Chestnut Tree House, the children’s hospice behind The Big Hoot. “I’ve done some fundraising for them in the past,” he says. “It’s a brilliant charity, so when this opportunity came up, I knew that I wanted to be part of it.”

Ben says he loves the opportunities these trails provide to interact with the public: “I started as a graphic designer, working on brand identity and things like that,” he says. “I started doing murals on the side and I found that they gave me instant gratification. You can chat to people as you work and see their reactions.

Ben hails from London originally and moved to the south coast seven years ago. “One of the lovely things about The Big Hoot for me has been connecting with so many different artists: people with different styles and from all walks of life,” he says. “I’m encountering art I wouldn’t have otherwise seen.

“I’ve done a Wild in Art trail before – it was Shaun the Sheep in Brighton – and I like the fact that with outdoor art, anybody can see the work. Some people might not feel comfortable or want to go into an art gallery, but this is accessible for everybody. I have two young children and we have been on loads of art trails. My kids love treasure hunts, so they love ‘collecting’ the sculptures and as parents we’re happy because they’re walking around all day in the fresh air

“As a family, we do a lot of walking and hiking. I wanted my owl to reflect those interests and pay tribute to the beauty of the South Downs. I thought about wetland habitats and all the different wildlife they support, then tried to include as much detail as possible, so people will notice new things each time they visit.

Being so local, Ben is looking forward to bringing family and friends to see his owl out on the trail. “I already have a few people booked in for visits,” he says. “I hope I’m still as excited to see it by the tenth visit!”

About The Big Hoot 2024

Ben’s sculpture – and 29 other artistic 6ft owls will be swooping into Chichester and Arundel from 10 July – 1 September. It’s a completely free and accessible art trail for the whole family to enjoy. And don’t forget our little hoot too – nestled in shops, libraries and museums – all decorated by local schools and community groups.

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