Friday, September 08, 2000

Pig Parade: Newpig Aquarium

Fantasy swine swims with the fishes

By Owen Findsen
The Cincinnati Enquirer

        This is 131st 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

        The kids created the fishes. Art teacher Lewis Cisl painted the students' art on the sides of the pig. Mr. Cisl is a wildlife artist who specialized in bird paintings. His work is included in Wildlife 2000, the world's most prestigious wildlife art exhibition, opening this week at the Leigh Yawkey Woodson Art Museum in Wassau, Wis.

[photo] | ZOOM |
        Artists: Students of Lewis Cisl and Julie Chambers, Glen Este Middle School.

        Sponsor: Bigg's Eastgate.

        This pig's pen: Cincinnati Museum Center.

        You were inspired by: The students submitted about 20 designs. We picked one that made the pig into an aquarium.

        What's the pig idea? Mr. Cisl's class created paintings of realistic fish and Ms. Chambers' class did paintings of fantasy fish. One class is represented on each side of the pig.

        You want people to look at this pig and think: “Forget the pig and look at the fish,” Mr. Cisl says. “We wanted the pig to look like an aquarium, so the pig image would be lost.

        “The shark fin on the top is pointing backward so people will see the painted shark and not think of a pig with a fin.”

        What's the matter?: “I cut out stencils in the shapes of the students's designs to retain the integrity of their designs and spray painted the fish with cans of Rustoleum,” Mr. Cisl says. “I think I used every can of Rustoleum in town.”

        Your high on the hog was: “I got the fin at Cincinnati Belt and Drive Co. It's a piece of a heavy rubber conveyor belt. I tried to think like a high school kid and figure out how I could tear it off. I have it sealed and bolted pretty securely and it's still there.”

        Best pig tale: “People have asked me why I didn't paint features on the pig, such as the eyes. We wanted to lose the pig to the fish, so it would have looked like there were pigs eyes floating in the water.”

        What artistic movement most affected the outcome of this pig? Wildlife art.

        Do you consider this art or porkography? “When I heard about the Big Pig Gig, I kept telling myself no real artist is going to paint a pig, but as it turns out a lot of them have,” Mr. Cisl says.


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- Pig Parade: Newpig Aquarium
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