Moogie, the Moogic Cow or 'How it all started'
*Moogie was a part of the CowParade West Hartford 2003
I'm somewhat of a fatalist. I know from experience that many of the best things in life are spontaneous and unplanned. Over a decade ago my mother bought a business in West Hartford Center (CT). Shortly thereafter she met a woman who worked in the same building who was to become one of her best friends. My mom's new friend named Karen happened to mention to me one day that CowParade is looking for local artists to paint fiberglass cow sculptures for an upcoming public art event. I had no clue what or who CowParade was, so I went on their website only to find out the deadline was the very next day. Unsure if I could come up with something creative enough in such a short time I decided to try it anyway.
I came up with a concept of a painted cow flying over the streets of West Hartford and to my great surprise I found out a few hours after I submitted my proposal that it was accepted. I was a bit nervous, since I've never painted cows before and didn't know how to go about it. I didn't even know where I could possibly paint it. Outside? In my living room? The garage?Thankfully the stars were aligned in my favor and my mother was gracious enough to lend me space in her shop.
So there I was, like a fish surrounded by the glass of the store windows. The passers-by made me feel somewhat uncomfortable at first. I kept on thinking that they are staring at me because my underwear is sticking out or something. In the early 2000s it was the time of low rise jeans and thongs so I quickly realized that nobody could possibly be that interested to see girls' underwear picking from the back of her jeans. At that point it hit me that all those people standing in front of the shop's windows were watching what I do. Some of them, especially the ones with kids kept on coming back week after week. I understood that I had a great opportunity to expose the general public to the artists' craft.
I began to enjoy the situation. I especially loved interacting with the kids who asked me the most adorable questions. I found the whole experience so gratifying that since then I've never missed a chance to work on another project that allows me such close interaction with the public.
Moogie, "the Moogic Cow," was the very first cow that I painted for the CowParade. She was very popular among the West Hartford residents because her sides featured an actual street where Moogie ended up standing during the CowParade. I depicted the actual stores on that street; although, I changed their names a bit just for kicks. I also painted Moogie herself on one of her sides, as well as other imaginary CowParade cows.
In CowParade catalog, Moogie was described as 'a brilliantly detailed folkloric design,' which of course was very flattering to me. However, that wasn't nearly as flattering as the attention that I got from people who came back again and again to watch me paint and see my progress. Some of them visited me on almost daily basis and I ended up painting them on the cow. Seeing people so interested in art gave more meaning to my work, as well as made me try harder to make Moogie as entertaining to look at as I possibly could.
Painting Moogie made me think about how wonderful it is for towns to have outside public art exhibits, because it gives their residents an opportunity to experience art up close. Not everybody can find time to go to a museum, but most of us can find time to take a walk on a local street.
P.S. I'm extremely happy that since 2004 Moogie, the Moogic Cow has been grazing by the Children's Wing of the Hartford Hospital.