From building the ‘Ball in the Wall’ at Cardiff Castle to promote the 2015 Rugby World Cup to unleashing model velociraptors in London’s Waterloo station, Cardiff-based sculpture and props builders Wild Creations know exactly how to attract attention.
Matt Wild always wanted to do something “weird and wonderful” when he was growing up. Not everyone follows their dream, but since setting up Wild Creations in 2010, the Cardiff-based prop and display maker has given its founder the perfect outlet for his imagination to run riot.
Wild’s eye for detail and ability to deliver complex creative projects has won his business an army of admirers. It now has 12 full-time members of staff and a pool of 20 part-time, operating from a 16,000 sq ft studio in Cardiff Bay Business Centre. The company creates a range of sculptures, figures and moulds, ranging from small to large, with varying complexity. They construct sets for theatre and create fibreglass, woodwork and metalwork pieces for clients in advertising, film making and for one-off events.
Wild indicated further growth could be on the horizon, after investing in new equipment worth £140,000 in the last year. Wild Creations is the creative force behind some of the most high profile publicity stunts of recent years. It built the giant replica rugby ball smashing into Cardiff Castle to help publicise the 2015 Rugby World Cup, and was also behind the life-size sculptures of velociraptors that appeared at Waterloo train station as part of the marketing push for the release of Jurassic World.
“That really put us on the map,” Wild says of the ‘ball in the wall’, which was beamed around the world on television news. “It has opened people’s eyes to the fact that what we do can attract a lot of attention,” he points out. “People are realising that there’s a new age of marketing, and Cardiff is a really creative and forward-thinking place.”
Wild points out that the calibre of work now being done in Wales has changed the perception of the movers and shakers in the creative industries.
“It shows we are not a second choice; we are the real deal,” he says.
Wild grew up in Morecambe in the North West of England, until the age of eight, when he moved to Somerset. He first came to Cardiff, aged 18, in 2001 to study stage management at the Royal Welsh College of Music and Drama.
“It gave me a good grounding in a lot of different things,” he says. After college, Wild spent a few years doing lighting at festivals and events. By 2006/07, Wild decided he wanted to do something more creative, use his imagination and his hands. “I had a mate working on Doctor Who in the set dressing department and got some work with him. I really enjoyed that and got to meet a lot of people with a range of talents,” he explains. “It was really good grounding in the creative world. But after three or four years of that I decided I wanted to do my own thing.” He set up Wild Creations and it wasn’t long until the company developed the momentum that earned praise and opened doors to new opportunities.
“I got the contract to build elements of the Tardis for the Doctor Who Experience, and then things developed from there,” he says. Wild acknowledged the huge impact that Doctor Who has had on the creative sectors across Wales.
“It does reassure people [potential clients],” he admits, “but I don’t sell myself off the back of Doctor Who. That very much was a starting block, people realised that we were an adaptable and creative group of people.”
Wild believes the Welsh Government has played its part in attracting more creative people and artistic businesses to the country. “The Welsh Government has promoted Wales as a place to live and do business. It has shown people that Wales is full of people with different ideas,” he says. “The lifestyle is great, Cardiff is a really diverse city. I know lots of people working in London who want to get out and the first place they want to come is Cardiff.”