PROVO -- Nearly a year ago, Provo-based illustrator Guy Francis posted an unusual creation to his blog: an overall-wearing pig, weightlessly dancing through the air while plucking the strings of an old-timey banjo.
“The duel is on!” he then informed fellow artist and friend Stacy Curtis.
Whether the banjo pig sent to us was created by a 5-year-old or a professional illustrator, it doesn't matter, we post it.
“We both have banjos but neither of us can play,” Francis explained to KSL in a recent interview. “I drew a pig playing a banjo, sent it to Stacy and challenged him to a duel. It seemed like the thing to do at the time. After a few back and forths we opened it up to anybody else that wanted to join the duel. The next thing we knew, the pigs started rolling in.”
The friendly challenge quickly grew into an international project, as amateur and professional illustrators from around the world started submitting hundreds of banjo-wielding pigs to the website http://banjopigs.blogspot.com/.
Artists such as Jim Madsen, Paula J. Becker, Mike Lester, Hollie Hibbert and Dan Thompson have contributed to the project along with parents, children and people who just felt like drawing a pig with a banjo.
“Whether the banjo pig sent to us was created by a 5-year-old or a professional illustrator, it doesn’t matter, we post it,” Curtis said. “We post every banjo pig sent to us, with the exception of ones that would make our mothers blush. That hasn’t happened very often, but we want to keep the ‘Dueling Banjo Pigs’ blog family friendly.”
"We hoped to introduce people to a bunch of great illustrators and I think we've done that." Stacy Curtis
Many of the family friendly originals can be seen at “Dueling Banjo Pigs: the Exhibit,” being hosted in Provo at the Terra Nova Gallery. Through the month of April, the gallery is open to the public from 3:30 p.m. to 6 p.m., and can also be seen during additional hours upon request.
“We hoped to introduce people to a bunch of great illustrators and I think we’ve done that,” Curtis said.
As for the future of the project, both Banjo Pig creators admit that the project has taken on a life of its own.
“Sometimes it feels like we are just trying to keep up with it all. It kind of has it's own momentum,” Francis said. “It would be cool if something came of this — books, money, major movie deal, but the truth is that part of the intrigue is that it is what it is. Just a fun place to share art from talented people.”
If a book ever does come from the project, Curtis thinks he knows the perfect way for people to enjoy it.
“I think at some point we’d like to see a collection of the banjo pigs on the blog in print form,” he said “It would make a great book to browse through while you’re eating bacon.”
Email: Travis Poppleton