Enigmatic Elephant Appears Around Santa Barbara

Inflatable Pachyderm Pops Up Downtown

Credit: Courtesy

The elephant is a notoriously difficult animal to hide, though a pair of artists seemed to be trying their best as they whisked one around downtown Santa Barbara from one spot to another last week.

Pachyderms are linked to hyperbolic phrases like “the elephant in the room” to depict something everyone already knows but no one wants to talk about, or “the white elephant,” used to describe something now out of proportion to the expense of keeping it. Then there’s the depth of memory the long-lived creatures are said to possess, and Ganesha, the patron of arts and sciences and remover of obstacles, whom many celebrate during a late August festival.

Whether any of these could explain the presence of a big white elephant inflated at various places in town, or express some commentary on its surroundings, is unknown. While monitoring a rotating iPhone to capture InflatoPhant and its Santa Barbara environs, a man, who resembled Jack Black in Jumanji, pantomimed a plea to a nosy reporter — an ambient sound recording was active during the interruption — not to reveal his name or actual project just yet. It will remain an enigma, the Unknown Artist later said during a break, for just a month or two, and then, he promised, all will be revealed.


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