CHARITY T-SHIRTS FOR WILDLIFE
As you know, Gary is committed to helping wildlife. But he's never embraced the mass commercialism of his pictures, using them mainly for limited edition prints and the occasional card. When Gavin Lawson, the founder of The Hemp Trading Company (THTC) approached Gary about collaborating on some t-shirt designs, a perfect partnership was forged.
THTC wanted to print his drawings onto top quality organic cotton and hemp, using environmentally friendly inks and then donate a massive 25% from each t-shirt sale to EIA with absolutely no risk and no cost to the charity. Some things are just meant to be...First off the production line was THE CHARGE to support EIA's long and successful elephant campaign. After sourcing a special graphite print technique that captured the intricacies in Gary's picture, the t-shirts were launched early October 2016. Orders came in thick and fast.
Promotion is key so they've been photographed on a number of famous figures, including celebrated poet Professor Benjamin Zephaniah, acclaimed actress Rula Lenska, Urban DJ Sarah Love, Actor James Sutton, Leon Rhymes of hip-hop band Too Many T's, and even Gary did a spot of modelling.
The project has proved so successful that a second t-shirt design is now available, this time in aid of Born Free and lions. Gary's drawing of Boy and Christian was chosen as the perfect image for Born Free. Look out for a third t-shirt of Plea for the Rainforest in aid of the Orangutan Foundation coming soon.
THE WONDERFUL BACK STORY TO BOY & CHRISTIAN... For those who aren't aware of the history of Gary's drawing of Boy and Christian on the t-shirt, here's a precis... He was asked to create this picture especially for the legendary Virginia McKenna following George Adamson's murder in 1989. As reference material, he used extensive video footage and various photos, provided by Virginia. Gary wanted to show the harmony existing between the two lions and during his search he found a very brief snippet of film of them snuggling up, strolling side by side. Some artistic tweaking and they walked in perfect unison. It has become one of Gary's signature drawings and instantly recognisable as one of his.
BOY WAS ONE OF THE LIONS WHO PLAYED 'ELSA' IN THE ICONIC FILM BORN FREE... For many years after, he shared his world deep in the African bush with George Adamson. In a tragic turn of events, George had to shoot Boy after he became a danger to humans, killing George's assistant. It showed just how difficult it was to rehabilitate lions back into the wild and just how dedicated George was to his cause.
CHRISTIAN HAS BECOME A YOUTUBE SENSATION, VIEWED BY OVER 100 MILLION PEOPLE... In 1969 two young Australian men, John Rendall and Ace Bourke bought Christian from the Harrods pet department when he was just a cub. As he outgrew their small London flat situated on the Kings road, Born Free's co-founder Bill Travers came to the rescue. The young lion was transported to Kenya where George Adamson carefully introduced him into the wild... and to Boy. They became inseparable and were George's two favourite lions.
Gary is thrilled that more THTC collaborations with conservation groups will follow in the coming years.
Photos below left to right Gary Hodges, Leon Rhymes of Too Many T's, Urban DJ Sarah Love: © Radski Photography