InsightsSix questions in 60 seconds - Brachers - POSTED: August 16 2021
Six questions in 60 seconds… Elmer artist Mik Richardson
Special guest interview
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In this month’s ‘six questions in 60 seconds…’ we are delighted to introduce our special guest interviewee, Mik Richardson.
Mik is the talented artist who designed the Brachers Elmer elephant, part of Elmer’s Big Heart of Kent Parade. This free, family-friendly parade of uniquely decorated Elmers is currently forming a trail around Maidstone and raising awareness and funds for Heart of Kent Hospice.
Six questions in 60 seconds… Mik Richardson
How did you get involved with the Elmer’s Big Heart of Kent Parade?
I follow Wild in Art on social media so when I saw that the hospice was going to present an Elmer trail I couldn’t wait to start designing.
Can you tell us a bit more about the inspiration for the ‘Not everything is black and white’ Elmer?
Elmer is all about diversity and being different, but that’s not a bad thing. I wanted to reflect that in words, and how they make us think, while still using the patchwork idea of the Elmer character.
If you had to choose, which Elmer (other than your own!) is your favourite and why?
I think my favourite Elmer is the one that has been turned into a woodland seat, very clever.
Tell us about your art in general
My art is a bit of everything, I specialise in large murals and often work with schools and the public. My favourite tool is the airbrush and a part of my business is presenting workshops and providing graffiti t-shirt parties.
What is the best thing about being an artist?
I love the freedom of my job and, in the case of trails like the Elmers in Kent, the fun and enjoyment it brings to others.
Describe your art in three words
Colourful, creative and fun.
About the artist
Mik grew up in the seaside town of Whitby, and at 16 joined the Royal Air Force as an engineer. After finishing his time in the RAF in 2006, his life took a very different turn when he was asked by an old acquaintance to do an 18 foot mural at his school.
As it turned out, this was to be the first of many at the school. Word soon spread, and before long Mik was getting commissions for his murals. A short time later he was employed by Creative Arts East as a graffiti tutor, due to his skill with using an airbrush.
Mik has since completed over 400 murals and held 300 graffiti workshops. He has worked with various schools, youth groups and companies including Creative Arts East, the BBC, Broadland and North Norfolk Councils, and Norfolk Police.
He has also been involved in some significant public art events including the 2012 Olympic touch relay.
Choosing the Brachers Elmer
Choosing the design for our Elmer was an easy decision for us at Brachers. We liked the relevance of the ‘Not everything is black and white’ theme, which links closely to the legal sector. Not everything is black and white within the law and this is the reason why our clients often come to us – for our experience and expertise in making sense of the grey areas in between.
We also felt that the words used within the design, celebrating diversity and inclusivity, reflected how much we value and embrace the uniqueness of people, both in our staff and in our local community.
About the Elmer trail
The Elmer trail runs until Sunday 22 August 2021. Visitors and residents can explore the town centre, parks and river path while following the parade to discover all 51 bold and eye-catching large Elmers, including the Brachers Elmer on Fremlin Walk in Maidstone town centre.
The parade also includes Elmer’s Learning Herd, made up of 30 small Elmer sculptures. Each are designed and painted by local schools and youth organisations from Maidstone and the surrounding areas. There is also one special Elmer that has been designed especially for Heart of Kent Hospice to coincide with a book published by one of their hospice social workers, which has been written specifically for children dealing with the loss of a loved one.
At the end of the summer each of the large Elmers will be auctioned to raise funds for Heart of Kent Hospice. The funds will enable the charity to continue to provide valuable hospice care and support to local families.
We encourage you to visit the Elmers on the trail before it ends on 22 August.
This content is correct at time of publication
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