Sunday, September 17, 2000

Pig Parade: The Spirit of Pig-cinnati

Artist puts wind beneath pig's wings

By Owen Findsen
The Cincinnati Enquirer

        This is 141st in a series spotlighting pigs from the Big Pig Gig Public Art Project taking place in Cincinnati, Covington and Newport. Find past pig profiles at

        Artist: Patricia Renick of Brighton, professor emerita, University of Cincinnati and known for her sculpture that combines animals and machines in a single work of art. Her other pigs are Pigasaurus, in the window of the former McAlpin's on Fourth Street, and Shazham at the Public Library.

        Sponsor: Lois and Richard Rosenthal Foundation.

        This pig's pen: Delta Terminal C, Concourse B, Cincinnati/Northern Kentucky International Airport.

        You were inspired by: I knew that pigs have to have wings. I found a plastic model kit of a Sparrowhawk biplane in a Westwood hobby shop. I was attracted to the form, color and markings. It became the basis of the work. (The name is a play on Charles Lindbergh's plane, The Spirit of St. Louis.)

        What's the pig idea? The plane has an 8-foot wingspan. To meet safety regulations at the airport, it had to be displayed at least 7 1/2 feet off the floor. I placed it as if it was being launched from the top of a Cincinnati landmark, the PNC building.

        You want people to look at this pig and think: St. Louis is not the only city to have an airplane with a spirit.

        Completing the project took: It hogged the major part of my life for many weeks.

        What's the matter? Fiberglass cloth, polyester resin, polyurethane foam board, Bondo, steel, drive rivets, primer, chrome paint, one shot paint, liquid nail, stainless steel nuts and bolts, etc.

        Your high on the hog was: It was great to see the biplane on its pedestal for the first time during installation. There were two people who were wonderfully generous with their help: Laura Chapman, who was always ready to lend a hand, and Jimmy Clark, my master welder, who was always at my beck and call.

        Pig peeve: The realization that, at my age (68), it has become more difficult for me to sustain the degree of energy I need to create large three-dimensional work.

        Best pig tale: My Costa Rican brother is a pilot. He suggested that I paint the back of the propellor blade flat black. If it were shiny black, he said, when it spun around the pig would become disoriented, hypnotized, more than likely fall off the pedestal and crash.

        My favorite pork dish: I don't eat piggy.

        What do you call this pig: The Red Baron.

        The materials cost: The piggy ate the budget and then some, around $1,700 plus. The bills are still coming in.

        If your pig starred in a movie, who would you cast to play the role? Given its location, Delta Burke.


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