Sunday, October 22, 2000

Pig Parade / Freedom Pig - Pig In A Blanket

Artist has fun with serious symbolism

By Owen Findsen
The Cincinnati Enquirer

        This is 176th 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

        This pig carries a story of freedom on his back.

        Artist: Jimi Jones, 49, Forest Park, is an art director and manager of displays at Procter & Gamble. His art has been shown at the Weston Gallery and Contemporary Arts Center.

        Sponsor: The Citizens' Committee on Youth.

[photo] | ZOOM |
        This pig's pen: P&G Plaza. The pig will be part of the Live Auction at Music Hall, Nov. 13.

        You were inspired by: I found the story of the freedom quilt on the Internet. The Africans who came over brought parts of their culture and wove that into quilts. There was hidden symbology in the designs. Hidden symbols were directions on how to escape from the South. There were about 16 different stories on that quilt, and I put them on the back side of the pig.

        You want people to look at this pig and think: To me it's a story of ultimate freedom in America.

        What's the matter? I had Maaco prime and prepare it, and then I covered it with gesso so I could paint it in artists' acrylic.

        Your high on the hog was: I took the pig to work to show everybody, and they liked it so much they were feeding the pig. I wanted to get pictures of it with the P&G tower in the background, so my friend Gil Gray, who is a photographer, and I took it out to the garden. John Pepper (P&G chairman) came up and asked me about the pig. He asked me where it was going to be placed. I said I think at Sawyer Point. He asked me where I would like it to be, and I said “right here.” He said OK. So it stayed at P&G.

        Best pig tale: I had the pig in the back of my van when I went to get a haircut. The barber asked me about the pig, and when I told him it was here, he said “bring it in.” So I backed up my van to the door and we put the pig in the barber shop. People kept coming in to see it. I think this pig has more friends than I do.

        My favorite pork dish: Butterfly pork chops.

        The materials cost: $600.

        Do you consider this art or porkography? If you don't have a really good concept for a pig, it's just window dressing, but the concept of the quilt made it a serious piece of art.

        If your pig starred in a movie, who would you cast to play the role? Denzel Washington; Spike Lee will be his sidekick.


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