Meet our ‘Perry’ pig artist, Rachel Shilston


Rachel Shilston is a local artist based in Chepstow, just on the edge of the Forest of Dean. Rachel is responsible for creating our wonderful ‘Perry’ pig who has taken up residence in our southbound site for the summer!

We are lucky enough to be hosting 2 pigs as part of the Gloucestershire Old Spot Trail starring Henson Pig. In addition to ‘Perry’ on our southbound site, you’ll be able to find ‘This Little Piggy Went to Market’ by artist Lee O’Brien on our northbound site.

We decided to find out more and ask Rachel a few questions about the project.

How did you become an artist?

For as long as I can remember I’ve been creative and even as a child I was always designing and making things. At 18, I went to art college then studied a degree in Fashion and Textile design in Manchester.

I was always passionate about teaching others and gained a Post Graduate Certificate in Secondary Art Education, which has enabled me to work with people of all ages and abilities, inspiring creativity.

I now specialise in mural painting and mosaic artworks, spending a great deal of my time working in schools in and around Gloucestershire, delivering a wide variety of art projects.

perry pig

How did you get involved in the Gloucestershire Old Spot Trail?

I was lucky enough to paint a Scrumpty for the last art trail organised by Marketing Gloucester, to celebrate the Rugby World Cup back in 2015, so I was keen to return and paint a pig. My Perry, for the Henson Trail, is my 6th art trail. I currently have an otter as part of the Moor Otters trail on Dartmoor and a hare as part of the Cotswold March Hare trail. I’ve also painted a Shaun the Sheep and Rhino too!

How long did it take you to complete Perry?

Perry was quite quick to complete, he only took around 30 hours to paint.

You clearly love community/public art projects, why are they so important to you?

I love any project that helps inspire creativity and encourages people of all ages and abilities to connect with the world of art. These public art trails are a perfect way to introduce people to some stunning and beautiful artworks. They are lots of fun to do and they get the whole family involved, working together, on a giant treasure hunt. They also help to boost the economy of the town that they’re in and some art trails raise huge amounts of money for charity. What’s not to love?!

You can see our 2 #Hensontrail pigs in our north and southbound sites now and find out more about the trail here.