Elephants 171-180

Today is an elephant day. Here’s 171-180. Choose your fave! If you could paint your own elephant, what would it look like?

171. Jarlo by Marty Thornton; Victoria Tower Gardens
Jarlo

172. Luna by M McCann, J Scott & N Colyer; Westfield
Luna

173. The Paul Smith Elephant by Sir Paul Smith; The Royal Exchange
The Paul Smith Elephant

174. Baarsfant no2 by Menno Baars; Green Park
BaarsFant no2

175. R by Gavin Tuck; New Burlington Place
R2

176. No More Plundering by Milo Tchais; Potters Field Park
No More Plundering

177. Utopia by Mitch Freeman; Queens Walk, Hungerford Bridge
Utopia

178. Naveen by John Stefanidis; Notting Hill Gate
Naveen

179. 21st Century Ganesh by Mythili Thevendrampillai; originally at India Place (I interviewed Mythili for a London Art Spot post last February.)
21st Century Ganesh

180. Boogie Woo by Nandita Chaudhuri; Soho Square
Boogie Woo

Boogie Woo

For more photos, interviews and other info, visit my Elephant Parade page. Stay tuned for the rest!

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Make Way for The Elephant Parade

In a few days, central London will be transformed into an urban jungle with 250 life-size baby elephants standing on street corners, parks and buildings around the capital. Each elephant is a unique creation by an artist, fashion designer, organisation or celebrity, including painter Mythili Thevendrampillai who was featured for London Art Spot at the end of February.

Mythili and ElephantI took this shot of Mythili with her painted baby elephant at her show in March.

Some other artists to look out for include Alice Temperley, Baroness Carrie von Reichardt (who I just mentioned here the other day), Diane von Furstenberg, Lulu Guinness, Matthew Williamson, Tommy Hilfiger and lots more.

The Elephant Parade has been called London’s biggest outdoor art event on record with an estimated audience of an impressive 25 million. Not only is it creative, but it’s for a good cause: conservation of the Asian elephant. In the last 100 years, the population of these wild guys has shrunk by over 90%. Where there were once 250,000 elephants roaming about, now there’s only 25,000 which means they could be extinct by in about 40 years. The Elephant Parade was founded by father and son Mike and Marc Spits in Holland. The parade supports a charity called The Elephant Family founded by trustee Mark Shand after travelling around India on his elephant, Tara.

The jungle beasts are in the city until the end of July when they will be auctioned off by Sotheby’s. The campaign is aiming to raise £2 million for the Asian elephant and benefit 20 UK conservation charities.

There’s a map here. If you find an elephant, snap a photo, stick it in the Flickr pool if you like and I’ll put ’em up on the blog.

More info on everything here!

London Art Spot: Mythili Thevendrampillai

Mythili’s Tamil background and the religion in which she was raised form a strong foundation for her impressive body of work. Many of her paintings merge the gods and goddesses of Hinduism with modern day celebrities to create an open-minded vision of the role that traditional beliefs play in our lives today. With a solo show on now and her work being displayed alongside Tracey Emin and Chris Ofili from May 3 in the Elephant Parade, she is certainly one to watch.

Mythili has put down her paints and brushes for a few minutes this week to talk to us about the meaning behind her work, how living in London gives her creative freedom and what to expect from her current show.

LLO: How does living in London influence your creativity?
MT:
 I feel unrestricted in London and can go where I want, make what I like and say what I feel. There is access to a wide variety of creative stimulus and social interaction with a large multicultural community.

As an artist having this personal and public freedom means that there is little pressure to censor anything that is produced.

LLO: How would you describe your style and technique?
MT:
I studied print-making, so techniques learnt in this process cross over when I paint. I still use a variety of objects to create stencils. Cooking ingredients are also used as stencils; kidney beans, chick peas and lentils create a pixel effect and the images can have a graphic look to them. A blue print skeleton is created through collage and drawing then silk screened onto the canvas. Layers are built onto the image with acrylic, oil and spray paint. 

LLO: Much of your work blends Eastern and Western culture which is interesting considering the generations of Londoners born to parents who come from Eastern cultures. What messages do you hope to communicate through your art?
MT:
The images that I have been working with recently are an attempt to bridge traditional tales and ideas with a contemporary understanding.  I want stories from different cultures to be accessible to anyone who is interested in them. I am keen for images to create curiosity so that people investigate cultural concepts on a deeper level.

LLO: What can we expect from a visit to your solo show “Desi Gods and Goddesses of the 21st Century” on now in Westbourne Park?
MT:
The paintings are about the ideas of God being a combination of different forces. I went to a Catholic convent and have family members who are Evangelical christian. As I was bought up as a hindu there were  contradictions in my understanding of God. It interests me why someone would or wouldn’t believe in God and how this entity can bear the brunt of glory and condemnation. I like looking at characters real and of mythology that people consider positive and negative. The paintings are a process of creating visual ideas of these forces.

My understanding of the gods and goddesses are that they are energies that have the potential to manifest in all of us. Different gods and goddesses have a variety of characteristics and qualities that can be expressed. I have incorporated well known and people I know within the images of the gods and goddesses to symbolize the notion of divinity living in us and us living in divinity. 

LLO: Your work is set to feature alongside Tracey Emin and Chris Ofili this summer as part of London’s Elephant Parade. Can you give us an idea of what we can look forward to when the elephants hit the streets?
MT:
The elephant parade will be a outdoor UK exhibition presenting 250 elephant sculptures uniquely painted and then auctioned of to raise money for the conservation of endangered elephants. It’s a wonderful project that I’m thrilled to be a part of. Lots of information can be found at www.elephantparade .org

LLO: Which piece are you most proud of and why?
MT:
It’s a painting in the show: Kali. It’s a self portrait. The original blueprint that I sketched was fairly timid with a playful facial expression and garlands of flowers around my neck. Kali is often depicted in pictures and statues in this passive representation, my mother supports this by her belief that “Kali has a sweet face”.  Kali is a force with conviction that eliminates the undesirable in a fairly extreme and aggressive way. My mouth is stitched up and razor blades replace roses. Shutting up and getting rid of things is the preferred option though the tendency can be to rant relentlessly and accumulate. I’m proud of this painting because a part of me thought it egotistical to make myself Kali and then I remembered that the incentive of the collection was to encourage people to accept their divinity.

LLO: Tell us a bit about your experience bringing creativity to the girls in Uttar Pradesh, India.
MT:
The girls at Udayan care were amazing, happy and incredibly motivated artists. We produced large scale mandalas that contained various geometrical shapes combined with text. The girls loved introducing vibrant colour to the designs that decorated statements about their strengths and ambitions.

LLO: Favourite London exhibition space/gallery?
MT:
I’m very fond of the Hayward. Although I went to the Wapping Project a few nights ago and loved the gallery space there. It has a haunting atmosphere and makes you feel quite sensual.

LLO:  Do you have any other shows later this year?
MT:
I am showing work in Bangalore and Delhi later this year.

Thanks Mythili!

Note: All of the above paintings are 30 x 40 inches, acrylic, oil and spraypaint on canvas.

For more of Mythili’s work, check out her website: www.mythiliart.co.uk/

See her solo show, Desi Gods and Goddesses of the 21st Century, now:
Venue: London Print Studios
Address: 426 Harrow Road, W10 4RE
Dates: Now – 13 March (Tuesday – Saturday)
Time: 10:30am – 6pm
Admission: Free 

 For more London Art Spot interviews, click here.