With just one month until Herd In The City stomps into the city, artist James Higgs shares the inspiration behind his design – his son’s love of wildlife.

James, 36, from Southend, is one of the many artists that have been decorating a herd of 46 elephant sculptures which will be gracing the city’s streets this summer, of which the Echo is a proud media partner.

The sculptures will be part of an unforgettable art trail, Herd In The City, taking place from July 14 to September 4 in Southend, Leigh and Shoeburyness.

The concept behind the elephant’s design is to highlight the wildlife found in and around the Thames Estuary, some of which might surprise some people.

Echo: Stunning - the work was made using spray paint, chalk pencils and acrylic paints Stunning - the work was made using spray paint, chalk pencils and acrylic paints (Image: Havens Hospices)

James said: “Due to the style of my art, I’m quite conscious that it can appeal to a younger audience. I wanted to take the opportunity to have fun but also to add a sense of education to it.

“I think the younger generation coming through have a brilliant environmental awareness already - if I can further this for them at a grassroots level, then I’ll be happy.”

James is the Head of Creative at local digital marketing agency Revive Digital, one of the sponsors for Herd In The City.

Talking about the reason he wanted to take part in the trail, James said: “I had previously walked the ‘Hares about Town’ trail in 2021 and thought it was a hugely positive, family-orientated event that shone Southend in a really good light.

“On top of that, it’s a great opportunity and stage for artists, new and established, to showcase to a wide audience that might not usually come across the work of these artists.”

Echo: At work - James working on the Herd elephant designAt work - James working on the Herd elephant design (Image: Havens Hospices)

The sculpture was decorated using various techniques and materials, including spray paint for the base coat, chalk pencils to sketch out the individual animals, and acrylic paints to build up the colour layers before finishing the details with Posca Pens.

At the end of the trail, the elephants will be sold at auction to raise vital funds for the free, specialist care and support Havens Hospices provides for people of all ages and their families living with incurable conditions.

The charity’s last art trail in 2021, ‘Hares About Town,’ raised more than £447,000 for local hospice care.

Keep up to date with the herd at www.herdinthe.city or follow @herdinthe.city on Instagram and @herdinthecity on Twitter and Facebook.