BATON ROUGE, LA (WAFB) - It's an unusual sight for many; an 11-and-a-half-foot-tall elephant bull riding down the highway on a flatbed trailer. For bronze sculptor and artist Jocelyn Russell it's become routine.
A Colorado native, Russell began her sculpting career in 1992. Since then, her paintings and bronzes have generated thousands of dollars for conservation organizations. Sculpting nearly full-time now, she works on pieces from miniature to monumental.
Russell was recently commissioned to create fifteen life size monuments to be put on display at The Audubon Zoo in New Orleans.
Five new bronze elephants and five bronze lions will replace existing fiberglass sculptures that have been at the entrance to the zoo for years. The original pieces were designed for temporary display only and over the years, the material has started to fail.
"I am honored to be chosen as the artist for the Audubon Zoo entry sculpture project in New Orleans, Louisiana," Russel said.
Russell is also creating five meerkat sculptures that will be mounted to a bench on the perimeter of the water feature with the other monuments.
Bronze is the most popular metal for cast metal sculptures. It's strength and lack of brittleness is an advantage, especially when compared to various ceramic or stone materials. However, due to the value of bronze, few large ancient bronzes have survived, as many were melted down to make weapons or ammunition in times of war or to create new sculptures commemorating the victors.
The island at the zoo's entrance will feature the elephants and lions. There will be elements of strength and playfulness, along with tender exchanges between mothers and babies.
Delivery of the lions and elephants is expected to be Sunday, April 23, at around 6:00 p.m. The meerkats will be the last sculptures to be completed.
For more information on Russell and her Audubon Zoo project, click here.