Sunday, May 27, 2001 - Page updated at 12:00 AM

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Attention-hogging pigs to bring home the bacon

Seattle Times staff reporter

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They were hogging the streets, the swine, rolling down First Avenue decked out in fruit-basket hats and ski boots and sporting painted porcine bodies that evoked everything from cubism to the catchphrase "when pigs fly."

No one seemed to mind.

In fact, people lined the sidewalks to cheer this parade of fiberglass porkers, each designed by a local artist as part of Seattle's response to an urban-art fad born in 1998 in Zurich, Switzerland.

There, and later in U.S. cities such as Chicago and New York, casts of cow bodies formed the tabulae rasae on which artists created fantastic images, visual puns and references to great masterpieces.

Known as the cow parade, the idea has since been adapted by Toronto, which did moose, and Lexington, Ky., which did horses.

As a nod - or is it a wink? - to Rachel, the famous Pike Place Market pig, Seattle is doing oinkers.

Yesterday was an unveiling of sorts, as the artists' creations wound their way on wheeled platforms from the Pike Place Market to their "pens" at Westlake Plaza.

"They're coming," shouted a little boy at First Avenue and Pine Street. "A pig!"

In the next few days, the 125 pigs that have been designed will be placed throughout downtown, where they will remain through September. Organizers hope sponsors will provide money to create up to 75 more.

After September, the pigs will be auctioned off, with proceeds benefiting the Pike Place Market Foundation, which helps low-income residents and historical-preservation efforts.

The pig casts were designed by Georgia Gerber, a Whidbey Island sculptor who created the Market's bronze Rachel. Her new creations come in two poses: a pig standing and a pig sitting on its haunches.

The names given to these casts after the artists got to them provides a sense of their hammed-up aesthetic: "Swinosaurus," "Piggy Gillespie," "King Pork Cheops."

There is "Ballpark Frank," whose back features a retractable roof modeled after Safeco Field. There is a psychedelic pig, a floral-print pig, a pig with flames that shoot back from its snout like the paint job on a flashy hot rod. And someone had to do "Pigs in Space," which looks like something out of "The Jetsons."

Then there is "Pigasso."

This cubist pig, created by artist Dawn Isaacs, so moved the parade announcer that he declared, upon its arrival at Westlake Plaza: "Truly it is exploring the essence of space and anti-space."

Eli Sanders can be reached at 206-748-5815 or


Don`t be a hog; sponsor a pig

Pigs on Parade is still looking for sponsors. So far, 125 pigs have been sponsored, but organizers are hoping for donations that will help artists create 75 more. Call 206-682-PIGS or go to for more information.


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