Our elephant earns her stripes (and spots)


Have you herd? This year we’re taking part in the biggest art event ever to come to Sheffield. In July, more than 40 beautifully designed elephant sculptures will go on display in Sheffield’s streets, parks and open spaces.

We are thrilled to be a part of this incredible event for our city, which promises to drive the economy forward, showcase the business and creative offering of the region and bring the spotlight on Sheffield for three months of elephant fun. The choice of an elephant harks back to 1916, when an elephant called Lizzie was employed to haul steel and machinery through the streets of Sheffield during the First World War - all the horses who would usually do the job were being used by the military.

This month, all of the artists painted and decorated their elephant sculptures; we had the opportunity to see our elephant taking shape and talk to the artist, Nick Bax, about the inspiration behind his design.

“I’ve always been fascinated by the visual portrayal of technology, we use it every day and take it for granted.”

The design for the sculpture dubbed ‘LIZZIETRON 2.2’ recreates an iconic symbol from 100 years ago in vector form to help viewers imagine the digital markers that create our world today. A digital blueprint of a glorious piece of Sheffield’s past, plotted in pixels. To complete the design Nick used over 250 white dots along with 90 metres of orange lines, which were then fixed with a graffiti-proof varnish.

For over 25 years, Nick’s career has spanned the fields of graphic design, creative direction and art and he launched the creative agency Human in 2007. From CGI animation to virtual 3D galleries, Human use the latest digital technologies to explore new means of communication and creative expression, they’ve exhibited work in galleries and venues in Europe, Japan, Brazil and the United States. The studio collaborates with institutions and global brands on commissioned artworks and design solutions, including MTV Europe, Swatch, Roewe (China), University of Sheffield, Seaborn and SCI+TEC (USA). Nick is a lecturer in design & visual communication and a Fellow of the Royal Society of Arts.

“With the design of LIZZIETRON 2.2 I wanted to represent the data and technologies that invisibly glue our world together in an abstract visual way. She is a digital piece of Sheffield’s heritage, in solid form, for everyone to see.”

Nick Bax / HUMAN

By sponsoring an elephant on the trail, we are not only helping drive footfall through Sheffield with the creation of a free-for-all art event. We are also creating a lasting legacy for Sheffield Children’s Hospital by providing a sculpture that will ultimately be auctioned off at the end of the trail to raise money for The Children’s Hospital Charity.

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