alt.cows – there’s one in every herd. They look a little different, smell a little different, move different. They might not be obvious to us, but the cows know.
My job as an artist is simply to make them visible. And you can help.
The project started at an Arlington Arts Council meeting. There were five plywood cows to be painted. Six volunteers raised their hands. I said I would make my own cow to close the gap.
It is easy enough to find a pattern for a cow online, but why just make the same old silhouette?
My first cow was just swishing its tail. Then I drew one that was kicking, then running, and bucking. Nothing revolutionary – cows do these things when they are feeling feisty, early in the morning or when the flies are biting.
THE BIGGER PICTURE
Then I thought about how an alternative cow might be different on the inside too. Arlington is full of artists, musicians and other creatives. They are easier to spot when they are young, before the whole day job problem kicks in. How might they portray themselves? Maybe not that differently than I did when I was that age. I dipped into my suitcase of old artwork for insipiration, back when I was a renegade artist, interested in graffiti, neo-primitive and the attitudes of punk rock.
This exercise left me with a problem. I liked all my cows.
So I decided to make them all.
BRINGING AN IDEA TO LIFE
How to make that happen? I asked people. “Kickstarter.” someone said.
I’m not drawn to that. I’ve been involved in a Kickstarter campaign – but that was the translation and publication of a book – something with a clear and finite outcome. The process requires a lot of promises of definite future outcomes – built on a business model, not a creative one.
Alt.cows was more amoebic – an idea that would take shape according to what the community needed.
So that meant defining a community. It was more than just the audience I was meeting at art festivals and galleries. It might be people like my friend Dory, who said about the last time the Arlington Arts Council brought out its cows ten years ago. “Those were so cool. I would do one!” She’s a horse trainer on the outside, artist on the inside.
Maybe I could find co-artists. Or groups. Or just people willing to help with funding…
So I’m looking for sponsors. Not just so I can fulfil my artistic dream, but so that I can let it run free.
THE BOTTOM LINE
Sponsorship could take different forms.
A group could organize, pay for materials and time, I would come and coach them in working collaboratively on a cow and then they could auction it for a cause or display it in their community.
A business could sponsor one of my cows, and then exhibit it for a period of time.
Someone could just contribute to the project, even before I can set up an umbrella fiscal sponsorship from a 501c3 non-profit or an on-line campaign.
I am open to other ideas too. These are just the first ones that come to mind. Talk to me!
I will be at Fresh Pain in Everett and then Art in Legion Park in Arlington (Sept 9 & 10) with my alt.cows, test-driving the idea~