Tuesday, September 12, 2000

Pig Parade: His Dreams Took Him on a Colorful Journey

All that glitters makes pig's dream come true

By Owen Findsen
The Cincinnati Enquirer

| ZOOM |
        This is 136th 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 Cincinnati.com/bigpiggig

        The name came first, before the pig, even before the Big Pig Gig.

        “When the Big Pig Gig was announced, I already had my name and my idea,” artist Leslee Wick says.

        Ms. Wick, 42, of Clifton, is operations manager for Wilson Art Stores. She also makes figurative sculpture.

        Sponsor: Wilson Art Stores.

        This pig's pen: Main and Seventh streets

        You were inspired by: I had done a work where I covered a store mannequin with bits of mirror and costume jewelry. I told Tamara Harkavy (director of ArtWorks and the Big Pig Gig) that if they did a public art project like the Chicago cows, that's what I would do.

        What's the pig idea? It's about memories and creativity. Artists call upon their experiences to create art. The pig is surrounded by paint cans and brushes.

        I asked the people who work at the art stores to collect things for me. They went to auctions and yard sales and brought me boxes of costume jewelry. Bill Powell, who owns Wilson Art Stores, brought me things that belonged to his mother and father.

        You want people to look at this pig and think: The things we collect are like a journal of our life, the results of the choices we make, colorful choices that are layered with memories.

        Completing the project took: It took 2 1/2 hours of gluing time for each batch of polyester resin. That's how I know it took 180 hours.

        What's the matter? Polyester resin, gold paint, glitter, costume jewelry and mementos. There are two coats of gold paint and two of clear coat mixed with glitter under the costume jewelry.

        Pig peeve: That people feel a need to take a piece of these pigs. They're destroying somebody else's ability to enjoy them.

        Best pig tale: I had no idea how I would be able to glue all these objects to the pig so they wouldn't fall off. I was on vacation in Florida and came across a marine fiberglass supply store. I timidly went in to ask about pigs. They didn't laugh. It turned out that they had supplied all the fiberglass materials for the Chicago cows. There wasn't a question I could ask that they hadn't heard before.

        My favorite pork dish: BLT sandwiches with fresh garden tomatoes.

        The materials cost: $900.

        Do you consider this art or porkography? When you can get people to stop and look, and think about what they're looking at, it's art.

        If your pig starred in a movie, who would you cast to play the role? Bette Midler. She's flamboyant and sort of in your face.


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