You’ve seen Dumbo, right? I wasn’t a huge fan (clowns freak me out, and it’s the main reason I once thought babies were literally born by being dropped off by a stork. How was that ever a plausible explanation for any kid?), but it has one of my all-time favorite Disney scenes, “Pink Elephants on Parade.” Hippity hoppity.
It’s no accident that the animators were able to make such a cool, visual (read: trippy) scene out of elephants. They’re somehow really compelling to look at, and for this reason, tumblr loves them. Cultures throughout history love them, for that matter. In art history class, I learned about the many cultural depictions of the elephant, and it’s actually fascinating– the Hindu religion, for instance, represents one of their deities through the elephant head on a human body. In Islamic tradition, the Year of the Elephant is the year 570, when the prophet Muhammed was born. There are medieval board game elephants, political elephants (whether for the United National Party of Sri Lanka, or the Republican Party here in the U.S.), and war elephants. It’s even thought that elephants led to the belief in Cyclops, since the nasal cavity in the trunk was possibly mistaken for being a large eye socket.
On top of all that, elephants have been featured in artwork for basically all of human history, from cave paintings to Andy Warhol prints. To today, when graphic designers use elephants on T-shirt designs and Pinterest quotes. Brands like Ivory Ella and the Elephant Pants have popped up, using the TOMS business model (fashion donating to a cause) and the visual appeal of elephants to sell elephant designs and raise money for the elephant cause.
Speaking of causes, the elephant is actually a symbol of a cause that’s important to my sorority and me: Alzheimer’s. People ask why we have elephants on our Walk to End Alzheimer’s shirts, and the answer is that elephants represent memory. We’re fighting to end a disease that takes away memories, and (humble brag) this year my sorority raised over $63,498 toward the cause. We’re the number one Sigma Kappa chapter in the nation for Walk to End Alzheimer’s, and the Alzheimer’s Association has recognized us for our contributions. It’s an honor and honestly kind of insane that we’ve inspired other chapters to raise more money than ever.
So between Dumbo and Alzheimer’s, I’ve had elephants on my mind lately, especially when designing a graphic to post on Sigma Kappa’s social media announcing our total raised toward the Alzheimer’s Association.
And then I had some time on my hands, so…
That one wasn’t for anything social media-related, by the way. Elephants are just too cool to not do more things with. I’m guessing the cavemen, Andy Warhol, and the animators of Dumbo felt the same way, so maybe I’ll forgive the Dumbo people for the clowns.
Your elephant-loving, clown-hating, pseudo-designer,