Monday, May 01, 2000

Ruthven's pig is a choo-choo

By Owen Findsen
The Cincinnati Enquirer

Wildlife artist John Ruthven delivers his pig to Cincinnati Museum Center president Doug MacDonald.
(Craig Ruttle photo)
| ZOOM |
        Every day through Oct. 31, the Enquirer spotlights a pig from the Big Pig Gig Public Art Project, which begins May 14 in downtown Cincinnati, Covington and Newport. Today here's a look at: All A-boar-d

        Artist: John Ruthven, 75, wildlife artist, Georgetown & Mount Adams. This is one of two pigs by Mr. Ruthven.

        Sponsor: Cincinnati Museum Center (at Union Terminal — think trains).

        This pig's pen: TBA, “but it will not be at the Museum Center. They want it to be out in the community.”

        You were inspired by: “It was a wonderful challenge because of all the wonderful things the Museum Center represents.”

        You want people to look at this pig and think: “Porkopolis. Cincinnati.”

        Completing the project took: “I worked on it off and on. I'd say a week.”

        Swine over matter: Painted in acrylics. “I gessoed it three times and put a protective coating over it.”

        Your high on the hog was: “The face. It was inspired by the golden mask of King Tut.”

        Pig peeve: “Trying to get something on the rear end. It is very curvacious.”

        Best pig tale: “Getting the pig was a big chore because you had to pick up your pig from the fabricator at a certain time or you couldn't get it. I was out of town when it was ready, so I asked my grandson, Adam, to pick it up. But this was his first experience with overland trucking and he didn't know that he should tie it down. The first corner he went around the pig went out the window and broke the window. He was in a state of shock.”

        My favorite pork dish: Ribs.

        What artistic movement most affected the outcome of this pig? “It's a cartoon.”

        What do you call this pig: Choo Choo.

        The materials cost: “Under $100. I had to have it sandblasted, but the guy did it for nothing if I'd take a picture of him with it.”

        Do you consider this art or porkography? “I think it's real art. It's a fun expression.”

Sunday's pig: 'Pigall' creator turned Chagall painting into swine art
Complete details on the Big Pig Gig at

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