He has painted over 450 dinosaurs – from the small velociraptors to the 18m high Brachiosaurus. And for one Norfolk man, the fun never stops – as scenic artist Will Adams continues to use his creative prowess on a range of designs and projects at Roarr! Dinosaur Adventure.
He has painted murals too, inside Dinomite Indoor Play Area, Dippy-ville (new for 2019) and the Secret Animal Garden. His illustrations are used across the park and he also works extensively on Norfolk’s biggest scare attraction PrimEvil – which is celebrating 10 years of fear in 2019.
“There is an enduring fascination for dinosaurs,” Will explained.
“They are dragon like and fearsome but we know there are no longer alive, so we are safe.”
A question often asked of Will, is how long do the dinosaurs take to paint?
“This can vary enormously depending on the size and condition,” he explained.
“The Brachiosaurus, our largest dinosaur, took me three weeks with an assistant. I had to use a genie boom (a small crane) to work on him. The only problem was the bees nest in his neck. The bees would put up with me for most of the day, but regularly, at about four o’clock, they would send out a sentinel to sting me. A genie boom’s descent is painfully slow – so they always got their man!
“Painting something like that is pretty much like painting a house – it’s all in the preparation, and, since it is concrete, I used masonry paints followed by an acrylic varnish with a UV filter in it.
“Although these days some pigments in dinosaur skin can be decoded, the colours are still largely guess work, I think along the lines of whether the animal would need to camouflage itself or would be more concerned with display.”
Will was born in Hunstanton and brought up in Norfolk and Lincolnshire. After studying Fine Art at Reading University, he moved to East London – working at the Whitechapel Gallery as a community artist and tutor.
He was an active member of the Tower Hamlets Arts Committee and the Artists Union. He was involved in several major projects including a 90m mural of the London Docklands Development Corporation – commissioned after the IRA bombing of Canary Wharf in 1996.
Will has always been keen to use his talents in a social setting and work in communities. As a result, he has held five long-term artist residencies. He has also regularly shown his own work in exhibitions including The Royal Academy Summer Show, John Moores 17 and won the Royal Watercolour Society prize 1999. Following involvement in the films of Ken McMullen, Will joined a company specialising in Opera, Ballet and West End Shows, including the Cameron Mackintosh shows like Phantom of the Opera.
He joined the BBC in the early 90’s and then became freelance working in TV, feature films and trade shows. In other words, everything from EastEnders to Kingdom of Heaven.
He came back to Norfolk in 2000 and now has a studio in Norwich. “I’m looking forward to 2020 and to working with my friends here on the park on some truly exciting projects,” Will concluded.