From Cows to Bulldogs

My current home town, Batavia, Illinois, is currently besieged by a herd of bulldogs–the ‘art in the street’ kind. The phenomena that started in the US in nearby Chicago, with Cows on Parade, moves on. The bulldog is the mascot of our high school.

As seems to be the norm, each bulldog is sponsored by someone and designed by artists. They range from the cute to the elaborate. There seem to be two sizes. And I’m not sure where the money from sponsorship went–just to the artists and supplies? Or is there a cause involved? The answer doesn’t really matter to my enjoyment of them.

Stroboscipic Windmill by Steven Lockwood

This is probably my favorite one. It is perched on one of the pillars on the Fox River bridge, near the windmill factories that put Batavia on the map in the early 1900’s. This bow to history, combined with the humor of a dog with a collar on, just works for me. I smile every time I drive by.

Staff Sergeant Batavia by John Funelli & Nexus 21 Designs

On the opposite side of the bridge sits this guy, a great shout-out to our troops. The cigar and boots are great touches.

Security Dog by Steven Lockwood

I love this guy. The armor gleams in the sun, he’s in front of a bank, he just looks tough. And like a character out of a graphic novel.

Fermi-Lap Dog by Dana Parisi

Fermi Labs, home of the Tevetron and other basic physics research labs, is located in Batavia. The building on this side of the dog is the main building there, and the tallest building in town. There is also a large prairie there (with bison), and a great open space. It is one of the main employers in town…which, as much as I like this dog, makes me wonder if the title is a political statement. Or just an attempt at a joke. But the images on all sides do evoke Fermi to those of us who know it.

I presume that the purpose of these kinds of projects is to bring art to the people. I do see people stopping and examining the dogs every time I go by them, even taking pictures of the dogs and pictures of themselves with the dogs.

Are they art? I don’t really think it matters–they just are, they appeal to the general public, they get downtown Batavia some attention. That’s enough.

About BJ Parady

I make art about the microcosm I live in. At the moment, that's a suburb of Chicago on the Fox River were the prairies used to bloom. The art is inspired by the view out my car window or down my street as I walk. Right now most of my art is in an abstract expressionist style.
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