Tin Cows, Jeff Thompson

ºTEMP is delighted to announce that there will be Jeff Thompson Corrugated Tin Cows gracing the field over the month. The Tin Cows will be grazing amongst the Food for Thought installation by The Roots Creative Entrepreneurs built in collaboration with Henderson South Primary students.

We invited Jeff to create some cows for ºTEMP as they illustrate how NZ is fascinated with cows and spreading it’s fascination across the globe. The global beef and dairy industry is a major contributing force to global warming and thus climate change. In the quest to feed the cattle the industry’s carbon footprint is exasperated by deforestation. Cutting back on beef and dairy is one of the most effective action citizens can do.

Here’s what Jeff told us about the history of his cows:

I’ve been making Tin cows on and off on since 1985. Billy Connelly has a small herd grazing his estate out of Aberdeen in Scotland and there are five in the gardens of the Heidi Museum of Modern Art in Melbourne and three more outside the New Zealand Embassy in Canberra, all of which date back to 1986. Marc and Eva Besen commission three Swiss Braunvieh in 1999 which grace the entrance to the Tarawarah Museum of Modern Art they built in the Yarra Valley near Melbourne. The wines from their winery Tarawara Estate, are called ‘Tin Cow’ along with all the commercial merchandise that go with it.

The three cows exhibited here are what I call sandwich board design and are constructed in the same manner as those tin cows made way back in 1985. They are built using an ‘A’ frame structure. Two sides suggesting a cows profile are cut out and joined by rivets along the top edge. Following this, the legs are pulled apart to create a freestanding cow. I then add patches, changing the direction of the corrugations to define patterns and create movement. An udder shape is hung from the top using number 8 wire and this moves freely in the breeze bringing noise to the sculpture as tin hits tin. I roll and curve pieces for the sides, and attach these with rivets to create dimension to the cow.

I’ve made totally realistic cows showing all the muscle structure and contours of the cow but I prefer the sandwich board design as I feel they say more about the material itself. Because these cows are not real and made from a roofing product, I often use arbitrary colours chosen from a paint manufacturers roofing colour range. I also use paint in conjunction with selected weathered and second hand coloured corrugated iron to build up texture.

For more information about Jeff Thompson visit his website: http://www.jeffthomson.co.nz