Wednesday, July 05, 2000

Pig Parade: Rock-A-Bye Piggy

This piggy is ready to rock

By Owen Findsen
The Cincinnati Enquirer

(Glenn Hartong photo)
| ZOOM |
        This is 67th in a series spotlighting pigs from the Big Pig Gig Public Art Project taking place in Cincinnati, Covington and Newport. Find past pig profiles and event details at

        Artist: Thomas Hieronymus Towhey, 41, Newport. The artist's other pig is Armored Hammer, at Sawyer Point.

        Sponsor: T.G.I. Friday's.

        This pig's pen: Former McAlpin's window, Fourth Street, downtown.

        You were inspired by: I'm a painter, but I'm really getting into sculpture and I love woodworking. I did designs for a rocking pig, an armored pig and a Teletubby pig. Two were picked by sponsors.

        What's the pig idea? Most of the pigs are not meant to be touched, but I wanted to make a pig that kids could really ride and get their picture taken on. But it is in the McAlpin's window so that won't happen. Anyway, the saddle won't get stolen.

        You want people to look at this pig and think: I'm glad the artists of Cincinnati are getting an opportunity to show their talents.

        Completing the project took: About a month.

        What's the matter?: Pine wood, a felt beret and a real saddle.

        Your high on the hog was: The way artists are helping each other. I didn't know where I would ever find a real saddle, but Leslie Shiels, another pig artist, tracked one down for me.

        Pig peeve: Originally the pig was blue with big spots. When I was ready to varnish it, I had to do it outside so I checked television and the computer to be sure there was no chance of rain. As soon as I applied a coat of spar varnish, it poured. The varnish ruined the paint and I had to do it again. Instead of repeating myself, I painted it red.

        Best pig tale: To keep it stable, the rockers are flat, but if somebody buys the pig at auction, I'll round off the rockers to make it a real rocking pig.

        My favorite pork dish: Pickled pig snout with a side of Francis Bacon.

        The materials cost: $500.

        Do you consider this art or porkography? It's just a lot of fun.


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