Launch minus four weeks.
Devon-based artist Martin Procter has returned to his cherished, signature genre of fishing village paintings for a one-off commission, but his inspiration had nothing to do with fish, the sea or seagulls. The inspiration was an elephant.
Martin has been commissioned to represent Devon and Cornwall for the imminent return of Elephant Parade to the UK. The world’s largest open air art exhibition of decorated elephant statues, Elephant Parade brings the worlds of art, business, and charity together to raise public awareness and support for Asian elephant conservation.
Having trail-blazed 12 cities around the world, Elephant Parade is raising the bar in 2013 with its first ever nationwide tour of the UK. Presented by intu, owner of some of the UK’s best shopping centres, the tour will visit 14 towns and cities for a public art exposition lasting 375 days and will connect with half the UK population, the biggest event of its kind.
When invited to participate Martin explains his reaction: “The idea of getting involved with the Elephant Parade was as unexpected as it was welcomed. The worthiness of the cause together with the challenge to paint something very definitely three-dimensional was irresistible, and justified a break from my Dartmoor project. Before my work became abstract, I was known for my interpretations of Westcountry scenes- harbours, boats, buildings - painted generally with a flattened and aerial perspective. For some time I had resisted requests to return to my harbour scene genre, but Elephant Parade is something special and I was attracted by the idea of literally stamping Devon’s footprint on this national art tour.”
Martin is one of 30 leading UK artists that have been working on tour elephants over the last few months. From Edinburgh to Brighton, West Yorkshire to Cardiff, the Elephant Parade tour is drawing on artistic inspiration from across the UK. In addition to the work of the 30 tour artists, elephants are also being created by celebrities and intu is running a vibrant national art programme for school children around the UK. In all, more than 100 elephants will feature on Elephant Parade’s mammoth tour.
"Martin's initial A4 design idea literally jumped off the page and grabbed us" added Trevor Pereira, Commercial Director at intu. "Response to news of the UK tour was somewhat overwhelming. We had hundreds of entries within days of announcing the Elephant Parade national tour. From the outset, we aimed to create a national tour with strong local flavour and Martin's idea for his elephant has an energy, joy and vibrancy that lives and breathes the essence of the south west."
Martin Procter is a well-established contemporary artist living in the Westcountry. His work is widely exhibited and collected both in England and the United States and he is an Academician of South West Arts. His work reflects his academic background in human and physical geography, a design base in architecture, and his life-long passion for remote hill-country and wild places. He has built his reputation as a definitive interpreter of man's interaction with the natural landscape. Widely travelled, he has held numerous solo and joint exhibitions.
Over the past four years, he has concentrated on the theme of migration, in its widest sense- birds, animals, people, culture, money, ideas, time- represented in increasingly abstract images. Martin is now focusing on a major project about Dartmoor, near his home, and where he has walked for over fifty years. In due course a major exhibition and book are planned.
Over the last few weeks, Martin has been giving thought to the name of his elephant. He comments: “I think this elephant is a he and he needed a name. After some thought I went for 'Pilgrim.' This seemed a natural choice, with its old Westcountry sea-faring connections.”
Martin’s elephant is almost complete and will be leaving Devon next week to join the other elephants, which are gathering for the tour’s preview in mid July. Reflecting on his new masterpiece, Martin comments: “The end result is a continuous harbour scene, with different details on the starboard and port side. I hope it will remind people of this wonderful bit of England and it may even promote an alluring boost for local tourism. It is our job to never forget the plight of the Asian elephant and I hope my elephant will also strike a chord with people that have visited the Westcountry coastline, re-ignite fond memories and remain a place that people will never forget. It has been great to be involved with Elephant Parade this year. Their mission to raise awareness of the Asian Elephant is to be applauded and the sale of the tour elephants will raise money for the Asian Elephant Foundation charity.”
Martin’s elephant will be available for private purchase from the end of June. The elephant can also be sponsored during the tour. Enquiries to email@example.com
Updates and images can be seen on his website - www.martinprocter.co.uk.
The elephant Parade national tour: Official tour venues and dates
17 July – preview day
21 July – intu Watford (4 weeks)
19 August - intu Trafford Centre, Manchester (4 weeks)
16 September – intu Metrocentre, Gateshead (4 weeks)
14 October – intu Eldon Square, Newcastle (4 weeks)
17 November – Cardiff (various locations) (3 weeks)
5 January – intu Victoria Centre/ Broadmarsh, Nottingham (5 weeks)
9 February - intu Braehead, Glasgow (4 weeks)
9 March - intu Potteries, Stoke (4 weeks)
7 April – intu Chapelfield, Norwich (4 weeks)
5 May – intu Lakeside, Essex (4 weeks)
2 June – intu Uxbridge ( 4 weeks)
30 June – intu Bromley (4 weeks)
28 July - London (2 weeks)
To register interest in the schools or digital programmes, visit www.elephantcommunications.co.uk
Join the tour conversation and share tour pictures on Facebook www.facebook.com/elephantparadefan
List of past Elephant Parade expositions:
1. Rotterdam 2007
2. Antwerp 2008
3. Amsterdam 2009
4. Emmen Zoo 2010
5. London 2010
6. Bergenhalf-size Elephant Parade 2010
7. Heerlen 2011
8. Copenhagen 2011
9. Milan 2011
10. Singapore 2011
11. Hasselt 2012
12. Trier - Luxembourg 2013
13. Southern California 2013
14. UK national tour: July 2013 – August 2014
Elephant Parade is the world’s largest open air art exhibition of decorated elephant statues that seeks to attract public awareness and support for Asian elephant conservation. Created by local and international artists, each elephant is a unique piece of art. Parades have been run in the following cities:
Emmen Zoo 2010