Boo! Or should we say Moo?
A small herd of concrete cow sculptures in a park in Milton Keynes, UK, has received an unsolicited Halloween-themed paint job—one that was not initially welcomed by their caretakers.
Without permission, an artist by the name of “piewaste” has repainted the cows in skeletal fashion at Bancroft Park, according to reports.
The Parks Trust, the outfit that maintains the city’s parks, said it would cost up to $1,527 to return the cows to their native black and white appearance and that it intended to do so—out of respect.
“Public art is an integral part of the city and park landscape, and as custodians of the cows, we take damage of this nature very seriously,” David Foster, chief executive of the Parks Trust, told MK News.
However, the park officials may have since changed their tune, after support for the transformation came from a surprising quarter: the original artist, Canadian Liz Leyh.
“What an original and effective design!” Leyh wrote in an e-mail to the Milton Keynes Citizen. “With the black background hiding their silhouettes, they look quite fabulous.”
|The rogue artist said he painted the cows in a skeletal fashion to save art in the community and honor his father.|
Leyh said the cows “were originally made by and for the community, and it is very heartening to again see people showing ownership of them.”
Her statements prompted the Parks Trust to give “serious consideration” to the public painting of the sculptures—“in a controlled manner,” reports note.
Behind the Cows
Known locally as the Bancroft Bovines, the public art installation is actually a replica of the original Concrete Cows created by Leyh in 1978, according to reports.
The original cows are now fenced in Midsummer Place, a central shopping mall, while the Bancroft Bovines enjoy the more natural setting of a park.
|The original Concrete Cows are fenced in Midsummer Place, a central shopping mall, while the Bancroft Bovines enjoy the more natural setting of a park.|
The Concrete Cows are three cows and three calves of approximately half-life size. They were constructed by Leyh, the city’s Artist in Residence, from scrap skinned with fiberglass-reinforced concrete donated by a local builder.
The cows were originally on a farm near Wolverton, UK, and some were dyed brown.
Piewaste to Save Art
Piewaste said he had painted the skeletal look on the Bancroft replicas in an attempt to save public art and honor his late father.
Piewaste’s father, Bill Billings, was a community artist and the mastermind behind the replica concrete cows. Billings died in 2007.
mksculptures.blogspot (left); jhalfie.blogspot (right)
|Big Greeny, the Triceratops, built in 1979 by Bill Billings in front of his home, also got a seasonal new look from Billings’ son, Piewaste.|
Piewaste said he had approached the Parks Trust and Milton Keynes City Council to suggest a modernization of the cows and another of his dad’s creations—a 30-foot triceratops known as the “Peartree Bridge Dinosaur.” But his requests were reportedly ignored.
So, Piewaste not only painted the cows, but also the dinosaur, in the same skeleton fashion.
“I did it my way, the way my dad did it—like not even having permission to build the dinosaur in the first place,” he told the Citizen.
But that’s another story.