Monday, May 14, 2012

Elephants: Herd About Tampa Bay.

Remember the painted turtles once seen all around Tampa Bay? Or the Manatees? They were inspired by the original idea which took place in Switzerland, with sculptures of cows that were painted by artists. They drew world-wide attention, and thus have been imitated to the point of becoming a genre ever since. With the Republican National Convention headed to Tampa this summer, this tradition is being revived with elephants.

The mold

These four-by-four foot fiberglass elephants are being made on the 600 block in the back of the Oleson Gallery by James Oleson and his brother. The project is headed by a partnership between the Tampa Bay Host Committee and the Outdoor Art Foundation to Beautify the Community. Dozens of the pachyderms will be placed around Tampa and the Bay area. 

Businesses pay $2000 for the total cost of the sculpture. The artists who paint them will be paid around $500. The first artist chosen was Carl Cowden, renowned Tampa muralist and master printer at University of Tampa. Some will be going up around June, but most will not go up until Convention time.

 They're technically half-elephants, which will go up against walls or other flat vertical structures. This cuts the costs of pedestals and reduces the chances of vandalism.

James Oleson and Elephant sculpture
I had the pleasure of watching the Olesons in the process of making these sculptures. Normally, James works in metal, but the fiberglass work looks great and is coming along well. I look forward to seeing these painted and on location. Congratulations to James Oleson for getting the job!

--- Luis

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