Monday, September 04, 2000

Pig Parade: Mr. Chops

Pig directs traffic with pop, panache

By Owen Findsen
The Cincinnati Enquirer

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        This is 128th 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 even details at

        Dressed as the conductor of the Cincinnati Pops, Mr. Chops conducts traffic on Fourth Street.

        Artist: Don Hoffmann, 40, Mount Washington. Mr. Hoffmann is a graphic artist and a stay-at-home dad.

        Sponsor: Firstar Bank for Friends of the Cincinnati Pops.

        This pig's pen: Fourth and Walnut streets.

        You were inspired by: I've designed T-shirts for the Cincinnati Pops using their Mr. Pops character, who is dressed like the conductor of the orchestra. The Friends wanted me to turn Mr. Pops into a pig, so he's Mr. Chops.

        What's the pig idea? He's wearing a maroon tail coat and gray trousers with black stripes, the same colors worn by the Pops musicians.

        Completing the project took: With a 5-year-old and a 2 1/2-year-old to look after, I could only work on the pig after they were in bed, so there were a lot of late nights, adding up to about 90 hours.

        What's the matter?: Sign painter's enamels.

        Your high on the hog was: I liked working on three-dimensional sculpture. I've never done that before.

        Pig peeve: Maroon paint. It was a color that the local dealer didn't have, so I had to order it from New York. A $15 can of paint wound up costing $50. I had to put on seven or eight coats. It wouldn't go on smoothly and it wouldn't dry.

        Best pig tale: My 5-year-old, Noah, was telling everybody about daddy's pig, even if they didn't want to hear it. And since my pig is wearing a big, black bow tie, he started putting black bow ties on all the characters he was drawing.

        My favorite pork dish: Pigs are too intelligent to eat.

        Do you consider this art or porkography? It's not art.

        If your pig starred in a movie, who would you cast to play the role? I think of Richard Dreyfuss in Mr. Holland's Opus.


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