LAKE BUENA VISTA, Fla. – Famed Irish artist Graham Knuttel, known for his bold, stylized art works and celebrity following, will debut his sculpted wood-and-bronze "flock of sheep" to be installed at Raglan Road Irish Pub & Restaurant during the 37th Festival of the Masters Nov. 9-11 at Downtown Disney Pleasure Island. The distinguished Dublin painter and sculptor will unveil his sheep sculptures, weighing about 100 pounds each and standing more than 3-and-1/2-feet tall, Nov. 9 between 11 a.m. and noon on the Raglan Road patio.
During the festival, Knuttel also will create an original acrylic-on-canvas painting in front of festival passersby Nov. 9-11 on the Raglan Road patio. Guests can bid on the artwork-in-progress during a silent auction as Knuttel paints between noon and 4 p.m. each day, and proceeds will be donated to the local Humane Society SPCA of Central Florida. Festival guests can visit Knuttel's outdoor art display of limited-edition fine art prints of 12 of his popular paintings, with promotional pricing for purchases made during the festival weekend. Guests also can enter a "sheep quiz" drawing for a Knuttel limited-edition print.
"I have used sheep as an inspiration in my work ever since I was a child, but then I come from Ireland, so that shouldn't surprise you!" says Knuttel, Ireland's most successful living artist and designer who has sold his art to Bono, Robert DeNiro, Whoopie Goldberg, and other high-profile stars. "Over the years, I've made sheep in bronze, wood, paint, clay and, yes, even in wool. It's my way of saying, ‘Thank you, sheep.' Thank you for all those woolly Aran pullovers and woolly socks. Thank you for putting me asleep at night and, most of all, thank you for being EWE!"
At last year's festival, Knuttel unveiled a 9-foot-by-4-foot painting based on a poem, "On Raglan Road" that was commissioned by the popular Irish restaurant. The painting hangs over Raglan Road's main stage fireplace and features more than two dozen unconventional Knuttel figures, including Irish rockers Bono and The Edge and writers James Joyce and Brendan Behan. This year, Knuttel's flock of four sculpted sheep will document their journey from Ireland to Downtown Disney on the Raglan Road Orlando Facebook page before their Raglan Road installation.
"We wanted Graham to return for this year's festival, and it's a bonus that he's bringing his stunning flock that represents a rich part of Irish history and commerce," says Raglan Road co-owner John Cooke. "The sheep will be standouts at this popular art fest, and it will be fun to watch Graham at work on a new painting."
Knuttel's works include his distinctive paintings, sculptures, tapestries and his whimsical Tipperary Crystal Café Collection. During Festival of the Masters, one of the South's most highly regarded juried art festivals, guests can purchase Knuttel pieces and commemorative gifts at Raglan Road.
Open for lunch, dinner and late-night grazing, Raglan Road Pub & Restaurant serves a wide selection of Irish beers at four bars and authentic cuisine such as creamy colcannon soup and Shepherd's pie by celebrity chef Kevin Dundon, who has cooked for U2, Queen Elizabeth and Brad Pitt. Leaded glass and custom-carved wood furnishings help set the backdrop for live entertainment by award-winning Irish dancers and Creel, the house band that performs traditional music and ballads. Bands and dancers are scheduled to perform Friday and Saturday evenings, as well as Sunday from noon-to-3 p.m. during the festival.