A selection of elephants by Paul Shinn
Allow me to introduce you to Marjorie, there pictured below. She’s one of 258 fibreglass elephants in and around London decorated by some of the capital’s most prominent artists, rx designers and image makers, erectile as part of the Elephant Parade!
Clare Bassett’s Marjorie (#81) at More London
Thammakit Thamboon’s Polkadot (#12) at More London by Jenny Robins
It’s London’s largest outdoor art event and it’s creating quite a stir in the capital. From people like Paul Shinn, who’s trying to photograph them all on Facebook, to work colleagues frantically printing out lists of the elephants and checking them off, it seems that they’ve gripped London like nothing before.
So, where to start? Well, the aim of this project, whilst cheering up many a London street, is a simple one. It’s to raise awareness for the plight of the Asian elephant, dangerously close to extinction. Created by father and son duo Mike and Marc Spits, all the revenue from sponsorship and the auction of the elephants will go to the Elephant Family charity.
A selection of elephants illustrated by Sandra Dieckmann
Here’s some you should see, and some you can just see here.
A range of fashion designers have applied their own style to the elephants, including this creation by red carpet Queen Julian McDonald.
Bertie by Julian McDonald (#139) on Foubert’s Place
It’s fun, no? It’s not the best one by a long shot, and I question the ethics of decorating one endangered animal in the beautiful coat of another, but I’m sure this is totally off McDonald’s radar. It’s suitably camp and stands perkily out Liberty, and this clump of Italian teenagers certainly seemed to enjoy it.
Other fashion names include Issa, Diane von Furstenberg, Matthew Williamson and Sir Paul Smith (one of my favourite elephants so far)
The Paul Smith Elephant by Sir Paul Smith (#173) at The Royal Exchange
The beauty of the project, besides raising awareness in a super fun way, is that you never know when you are going to bump into one of these creatures. They are literally everywhere – hell, they’d have to be to fit 250 of the buggers in our city. Just as you put your camera away after photographing one, you turn a corner and there’s another!
Thammakit Thamboon’s Pink Elephant (#10) in the Covent Garden Piazza, illustrated by Matt Thomas
The City in the Elephant by BFLS Architects (#255) illustrated by Lisa Billvik
This beauty is pretty simple on the outside, but peer inside any of its small transparent domes and inside you’ll see an incredible model of London featuring teeny tiny elephants, too!
Photograph by Paul Shinn
If you haven’t seen any yet, firstly – have you been under a rock? Secondly, my advice would be to start somewhere where you’ll find loads in a cluster, aka ‘Happy Herds’ – Trafalgar Square, London’s parks, the Southbank, and 9 or 10 nestle at More London, in front of Boris’ Glass Gonad, aka the Greater London Authority Headquarters.
Helen Cowcher’s Hornbill (#116) at More London by Naomi Law
A selection of elephants at Trafalgar Square, illustrated by Gabriel Ayala
This ethereal creation by Joanna May is on the Southbank, and features the mouth of a rabbit decorated onto it, and a pregnant lady on the opposite side. God knows what it’s about, it sure had me baffled – as it did two old dears who I heard saying ‘What on EARTH has this woman done?!’
Sally by Joanna May in front of The Queen Elizabeth Hall on the Southbank
Mayur Gajendra for BlackRock (#188) on King William Street, illustrated by Aniela Murphy
Of course, this art project wouldn’t be complete with a good ol’ dash of politics. ‘Anonymous’ has created three elephants dressed in boxing gloves and silk shorts in the colour of the three main political parties – appropriately titled ‘Mr Brown’ ‘Mr Cameron’ and ‘Mr Clegg’. The Elephant Parade haven’t yet confirmed, however, if they’re to remove ‘Mr Brown’, or indeed move ‘Mr Cameron’ and ‘Mr Clegg’ together so they can whisper sweet nothings to each other.
Photograph by Paul Shinn
Eko by Paul Kidby (#195) in Green Park, illustrated by Rachel de Ste. Croix
So what are you waiting for? Go and see them! Tweet us pics to @AmeliasMagazine if there are any we haven’t seen and you think we should!
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