I often get asked what projects I'm currently working on and, admittedly, responding with "I'm painting an elephant" has raised several eyebrows. So, before you think I'm completely bonkers, here's a little blog post about why you may have seen me harping on about an elephant and why I have been painting it.
The event I got involved with is The Herd of Sheffield project, put on by The Children's Hospital Charity in order to help raise more funds for the hospital. I initially submitted a design several months ago and thought nothing of it, and to my delight (and slight apprehension) I found out my design had been selected to go on one of the elephants which would be on public display over the summer months. Absolutely no pressure then! Each elephant was kindly sponsored by local companies and schools with a view to create over 50 beautifully decorated elephants to then auction off at the end of the 'Sculpture trail.' My design was sponsored by The Sheffield High School, who also kindly donated a large bag of Maltesers for me when they came to visit me (which I ate in approximately two hours).
When I met my elephant it was, well, a little on the large size. In fact, there was nothing little about it. Thankfully, I wasn't alone and I shared a warehouse temporarily named 'Herd HQ' with lots of other fabulous creatives. It was a little bit like Bake-Off, but with a warehouse full of artists, and no Mel or Sue. Or cake.
But we did have lots of biscuits and crisps (thanks to the charity team).
While the other artists were slapping on paint, it took me two whole days to draw my design out. Still, absolutley no pressure at all then. Thankfully I knew exactly what I was doing (I was totally winging it).
So, after drawing out my rather complicated design, I set about my mammoth task (see what I did there?), and started adding lots of vibrant colour. Because most of my work is digital, it was such a great feeling to get back to physically painting something again and working on a very different surface. This was incredibly challenging, especially working my design around the huge legs and making sure proportions were right from all angles, as well as creating lettering on curvy surfaces!
The challenge did not come without setbacks. I ran out of Posca pens (and dived for the last one in Hobbycraft like a scene out of Chariots of Fire), walked into B&Q with blue paint in my hair and forgot my sandwiches on several occassions. I also had to have a trip to A&E because my finger swelled up like a Cherry tomato and I got pins and needles from painting upside down.
After 9 days my work was done! It was such a privilege to work alongside such amazing creatives and see the progress of their designs too - I can't wait to see them all together at the launch! The elephants will be placed all around Sheffield in July so watch this space for the full designs! In the mean time here are some sneaky peeks of mine:
The final design will be revealed on the evening of the 6th July and will be on display in the Botanical Gardens, Sheffield from the 11th-5th October. You can find out more about this project at www.herdofsheffield.com