Monday, October 31, 2011

Local rancher turns plastic cows into art with cow pies

That herd of painted plastic cows plastered all over downtown doesn't exactly make you want to shout "Yippie ti yi yo," does it? So what could you do to cowboy up those critters? Simple. Last week, Cow Patty, not her real name, secretly went around town putting 11 hand-painted and shellacked cow pies behind some of the fake cows you've seen downtown that make up the so-called artistic Cow Parade. Ms. Patty, a local, small-time cattle rancher, didn't want me to use her real name because she doesn't want to get busted for littering. The cows might be phony, but the cow pies are real. To get the decorating job done, on Wednesday Cow Patty marched through the Whole Foods store at Sixth and Lamar, carrying two of her cow pies, which are pretty darned huge. The store was busy, but nobody seemed to notice. Maybe people thought they were some kind of organic squash. "I get away with this because I look like everybody's mom," Cow Patty explained. She blames her fiancĂ© for the project: "It was his idea. He said, ‘Those cows, they need (something) behind them.' " The Cow Parade is that collection of 74 to 78 decorative cow statues you've seen around Austin for the past few weeks. It's a world of polyurethane hooves and tails out there. The cows have taken over for a worthy cause: to raise money for the Super Hero Kids Endowment, a program for families of children who have leukemia and other blood disorders and diseases. Some of the cows, decorated by local artists, will be auctioned off Nov. 13 by Jay Leno at Austin City Limits Live at the Moody Theater. This is big-money stuff. "We estimate each of the cows will go for between $500 and $10,000," said Brian Dolezal, a spokesman for Cow Parade, a corporation that has been plastering cities around the globe with plastic cows since the first event in 1999 in Chicago. Cow Patty thinks her cow pies add a touch of authenticity to the herd. Each pie has the message "Keeping Austin Weird! Cow Patty" on the back...more

Organic squash?  

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