Gravity the Elephant

Asian Female Elephant

January 2013 I began to design a prototype for an elephant. When first commissioned to build the elephant, I thought I would construct a large, aluminum pop art piece. A life-size elephant that two men could hoist up and carry with their own strength. But as I pondered this incredible animal, and unfortunately the misery which wraps itself around this wrinkled, emotional, brave beast... I wanted the piece to convey the weight of extreme beauty, bondage, peace and pain all in one. The chain became the obvious material choice. Not only does it represent realistic wrinkles, it also represents the enslavement this giant beauty has endured existing by our side.

The rusted, steel hide constructed from assorted gauges of sheet and plate metal is used for shape and structure to capture the skin that is tight and drawn. I designed the skeleton from structural steel columns that I believe have the load bearing capacity necessary to provide me with the flexibility to expand my creative opportunities. I needed a solid foundation. And then there was the weight of the piece, was a crane needed every time the elephant had to be moved? So I made it a puzzle that five or six strong adults can assemble or disassemble within an hour.

Using chain as flexible connective tissue, I linked the rigid skeletal components together with the draped chain (loose skin), which adds both a gravitational and holistic effect to the piece, ultimately tying each and every component together.

It is the mighty elephant.

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