Creating a world cow

Middlesex artist D.J. Barry, left, works with his wife, Cindy, and New York City graffiti artist Dan Barry as they paint a world cow on the back of an Allen Lumber warehouse in Montpelier last September.

MIDDLESEX — Vermont artist D.J. Barry is taking his World Cow mural artwork worldwide.

The characteristic black-and-white Holstein with a coat resembling a world map has been a big hit in numerous locations around Vermont since Barry started the project in 2016.

The theme of his campaign is to promote peace and kindness and raise money for charitable organizations.

Last year, he raised $2,525, including more than $1,100 for the Montpelier Rotary Club’s Backpack Program that provides children from low-income families with a backpack full of food to take home from school on weekends to ensure they don’t go hungry.

Barry’s most recent project last fall was a World Cow on the back of an Allen Lumber building, visible across the Winooski River from River Street.

Since then, Barry, of Middlesex, also has traveled around the nation, painting World Cows in New York City, Las Vegas, Pennsylvania and Maryland.

Now Barry has embarked on promotional campaigns with artists around the world to paint World Cows.

Artists – many of them known by cryptic handles – include United Kingdom street artists Fawn and JPS_artist; Lobotomy_streetwear in Greece; @pashanelson in Russia; @monsieur_lee in Bordeaux, France; Chris Lagesten in Ontario, Canada; and artists in Cape, Town, South Africa.

An oversized project he is collaborating on with Landmark Creations in Minnesota aims to build the “biggest mobile cow in the world” that will be 30 feet long and 20 feet tall that will be installed at festivals and events “to help broadcast our message of love and acceptance,” Barry said.

“I started painting the World Cow in the fall of 2016 and I was painting for a fundraiser called ‘Cows for a Cause,’” Barry said. “As I was painting them around the country ... it was all the about the message, and the message being, ‘We’re all spots on the same cow,’ and the idea was that wherever you are, whoever you are, was relayed to you.

“Almost from the beginning, it seemed crazy to think that it was a Vermont cow or that it was even a USA thing – it was everybody and I wanted to include everybody in the world,” he added.

To promote the art and message, Barry said he and other artists have developed interactive relationships.

“I think they enjoyed the message and believed in the message, and so I thought it wouldn’t hurt to ask them do one in their country, because it would have been really expensive for me to fly around, out of this country,” Barry said, adding that some of the other cows in the U.S. he painted were completed during planned trips.

Barry said that the response to the World Cow continues to grow and attract interest.

“In the past 24 hours I’ve had conversations with artists around the world in Japanese, Portuguese, Spanish, Japanese, Russian and German – thanks to Google Translator,” he added.

stephen.mills @timesargus.com

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