• Wed. Apr 24th, 2024

North East Connected

Hopping Across The North East From Hub To Hub

Alfie Joey joins the herd

One of the region’s best loved entertainers will draw on his artistic skills to help support a North East charity.

Comic, actor, impressionist, singer and radio presenter, Alfie Joey, is also a professional artist and cartoonist, whose depictions of life in Tyneside and County Durham sell for high prices worldwide.

Now, he is preparing to tackle a project of a completely different kind – designing and decorating one of 70 sculptures which will form Elmer’s Great North Parade, delivered by St Oswald’s Hospice.

The free public art trail, which starts in August, is the successor to 2016’s Great North Snowdogs and will featureindividually decorated statues of the popular children’s picture book character, Elmer the Patchwork Elephant, positioned throughout Tyne and Wear.

And Alfie will be setting up his studio in the foyer of the BBC Radio HQ at Newcastle’s Barrack Road, so fans and visitors can watch as his design comes to life.

“I don’t want to give the game away too much about my design,” said Alfie, “but it’s going to be very local to the North East and it will feature lots of famous faces.

“The real challenge will be transferring the design from the page on to my Elmer statue. I have never done anything in 3D before – I’ve done lots of paintings and cartoons but nothing like this.

“It’s a very smooth, undulating sculpture and that is part of the fun.”

Written and illustrated by David McKee, the Elmer books feature a patchwork elephant whose unique colours mark him apart from the rest of the herd and Alfie said: “We have the Elmer books at home and my two children are over the moon I’m taking part in this.

“We all did the Great North Snowdogs trail and the kids used to love cuddling the sculptures, so when I heard there was to be a second trail I thought, ‘well, how will you follow that,’ but this is the perfect way.”

The Parade has once again been organised by regional charity St Oswald’s Hospice, which is calling on other artists, designers and creatives to join Alfie and design and decorate a sculpture for the trail.

Those whose designs are chosen will not only receive an artist fee of £800, but their work will also be seen and enjoyed by the estimated 700,000 visitors to Elmer’s Great North Parade.

The 10-week long Parade, in partnership with Wild in Art and Elmer publisher Andersen Press, will culminate in an auction of the statues on 12 November.

And all money raised will go to St Oswald’s Children’s Hospice, which provides specialist care for North East babies, children and young people with incurable conditions and support for their families and loved ones.

Along with the 70 large sculptures the trail will feature more than 100 smaller Elmers, designed and decorated by North East schools, youth groups and organisations.

Artist submissions must be made via an online form at www.greatnorthelmer.co.uk/artists and the closing date for entries is 14 February.

Artworks will be presented to the sculpture sponsors in May and the artists whose designs are chosen will need to transfer their designs on to the full-sized Elmer sculpture between the end of May and the beginning of August.