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Multi 'tusking'! Artist to paint four Elmer elephants for hospice

PUBLISHED: 11:45 13 February 2019 | UPDATED: 12:29 13 February 2019

Artist Emma Graham and one of her four elephants at this year's Elmer's Big Parade. Picture: LIZZY GRAHAM

Artist Emma Graham and one of her four elephants at this year's Elmer's Big Parade. Picture: LIZZY GRAHAM

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A Shotley-based artist has taken on the mammoth 'tusk' of painting four quirky elephants for this year's Elmer's Big Parade Suffolk in aid of St Elizabeth Hospice.

The latest Elmer to be delivered to Emma's studio in preparation for the parade. Picture: EMMA GRAHAMThe latest Elmer to be delivered to Emma's studio in preparation for the parade. Picture: EMMA GRAHAM

Emma Graham, who previously painted three pigs in 2016’s Pigs Gone Wild parade, took on more than she bargained for this year after accepting her fourth commission for an Elmer - but says she is more than up to the challenge.

“I’d already submitted three different designs for selection and I received a phone call from St Elizabeth Hospice asking if I was interested in painting an Elmer for Birketts,” she said.

“Funnily enough, I’d already had designs for an Elmer of the same name in my mind - Ele-phantom of the opera.”

Soon enough, a herd of the children’s four-legged friends were making their way to her home studio.

“It’s like groundhog day, but in a nice way,” she said.

“I absolutely love doing it. It’s a pleasure - and for a fantastic cause.

“It takes an average of 60 to 80 hours to paint each elephant, Ele-phantom took me around 60.

“I went to town on the designs for Nellie [commissioned by Wyards Removals]. I think I spent more than 80 hours painting her, they’re all too much fun to do.

“Seeing it transfer from an A4 piece of paper to a 4ft elephant is an interesting experience.”

Ms Graham’s third design, Suffolk Masters, is inspired by Suffolk’s renowned artists Constable, Gainsborough and Maggi Hambling - as well as paying tribute to the art collection at Christchurch Mansion.

“I’d learnt some handy tips from painting for Pigs Gone Wild, notably that lettering and straight lines are hard on a curvy animal. But I’ve got a tad over excited and ignored all my own advice,” she said.

She remained tight-lipped about her final design, Skin Deep for Inchcape BMW, other than that it is a celebration of animal diversity.

Elmer’s Big Parade Suffolk, a trail of 50 uniquely painted elephants, will be stomping into Ipswich town centre in June in support of St Elizabeth Hospice.

More information can be found here.

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