RNC sparks painted pachyderm project

6:46 PM, Aug 20, 2012   |    comments
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ST. PETERSBURG, Florida - Mixing paint is nothing new to Rasta Geary Taylor, but this is the first time he's applied it to an elephant.

"It's been really a lot of fun," said Taylor, bending over a large fiberglass form.

The St. Petersburg artist is known for his hand-painted shoes, but now he's putting his best foot forward for the Republican National Convention. He's among dozens of artists painting elephants, the symbol of the Republican Party.

The elephant he's working on wears the pin-stripes of the New York Yankees and will eventually hold a glove and ball with its trunk. "I was really honored to do this one," he said. "I think I'm the perfect person for it, being a baseball player, and I actually kind of like the Yankees."

Elephants are known for their memories and travelers snapping photographs at Tampa International Airport are making memories with the elephants on display there. The colorful creations are all part of a public art project called Herd of Tampa Bay.

"Our projects are always free for people to look at. Really, it's just about exhibiting the talents of our local artists to the masses," said Jay Goulde of the Outdoor Arts Foundation, which sponsored the project along with the Tampa Bay Host Committee.

And part of the Tampa talent pool are students from Cambridge Christian School. Last spring, they helped design and paint an elephant now at the airport. When a number of kids saw the display on Monday, they excitedly expressed an elephant-sized pride in their creation.

"I worked on this purple circle here and my art teacher loved it," said 8-year-old Bayli Stewart with a giggle.

Local businesses sponsored each elephant with a $2,000 fee and, after the RNC, some sponsors plan on keeping the elephants on display.

For more information on Herd of Tampa Bay and elephant locations, click here. 

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