AN artist and a community worker are helping to dispel Essex stereotypes in novel calendar.

Artist and activist, Elsa James, and graffiti artist and community worker, Scott Irving, from Southend have been chosen to star in a new calendar as part of a campaign organised by tourism promotional body, Visit Essex.

Braintree and Witham Times:

Chosen - Westcliff street artist Scott Irving is appearing in a calendar about Essex

‘This is Essex’ aims to challenge the commonly-held Essex stereotypes by showcasing the county’s real stars and by revealing the county’s striking and diverse landscapes and hidden gems.

Following a call for talented performers, scientists, sportspeople, chefs, entrepreneurs and community heroes to step forward, nominations flooded in and a wide-range of people have been chosen to front a new calendar to show-off Essex’s best assets.

Nominations include best selling author Martine Cole and Essex Paralympian Anne Wafula-Strike

They were selected thanks to their efforts in the community and artistic achievements.

Mr Irving was astonished to be chosen after being nominated by a friend.

The 43-year-old, from Westcliff, said: “She just slipped it into the conversation saying ‘I hope you don’t mind’ and the next thing I knew I’d been chosen. I work in schools exploring art with youngsters and I’m also a learning support assistant in the art department at Cedar Hall School. We paint big murals and I teach street art.

“I work with a lot of kids who wouldn’t normally engage in education; kids from pupil referral units and secure units. Using spray cans for graffiti can be a bit rebellious and a lot of fun.”

Mr Irving added: “People don’t realise how big Essex is. There are so many things to see and places to go. I’ve worked abroad and travelled but Essex is the best.”

Ms James is a visual artist, activist and producer based in Southend, who grew up in west London during the 1970s and ‘80s.

An exhibition of her work last year, Forgotten Black Essex, used national archives to explore significant black women who spent time in the county.

Councillor Mark Durham, vice chairman, Visit Essex, said: “We were flooded with nominations by the people of Essex to take part in this campaign. The calendar is just the start and we are actively working to provide a role for each nominee. Elsa James and Scott Irving are fine examples of the hardworking talent we have in our county.”