The Herd of Sheffield Trail united artists both near and far - with 75 per cent of designs coming from our very own city.
“Sheffield has never seen anything like this before,” said artist Geo Law, who created Lingo and Effie, the very first Herd of Sheffield elephant.
“I used to read about sculpture trails in other cities and get really jealous because we’ve never had anything like it. So as soon as I got approached to do this I was all hands on deck.
“I hadn’t met half of the artists involved in this project before painting my elephant. That’s the thing about art. You feel like you work behind closed doors and then you release work and that’s it. This project put many artists on the same platform and connecting communities. You never know – kids might look as these and be inspired to draw themselves.”
Some 300 designs were submitted back in February and from that 100 designs were shortlisted. Artists have painted, spray painted, moulded and sculptured each individual elephant to life, each with their own personality.
Local artist Lisa Maltby used her Small Beginnings elephant to convey a particularly poignant message: “I thought it would be nice to create an elephant that was made out of little elephants, along with the lettering ‘big things often have small beginnings.’ “I think it’s a fitting message for the children at the Sheffield Children’s Hospital as well – that despite being small they can have so much hope and potential.”
Proving that message to be true is eleven year old Amy Parker, whose Izzy the elephant design was brought to life by professional artist Steve Millington after being picked out of 50 others.
On an international level, artist Mark Alexander, who is currently showing with Rembrandt in an exhibition in Berlin, flew to Sheffield especially to paint his Matisse’s Last Assistant elephant. Other well-known names include Pete McKee, Tom J Newell and Lydia Monks.