Meet "Stew"!

I was privileged to be one of seven Florida artists invited to paint a "Cracker Bull" with our own interpretation of a unique aspect of the states' history. And that artistic challenge? Create a public art piece that can be shared around the state to promote the Great Florida Cattle Drive of 2021.

500 years ago, Spanish explorer Juan Ponce de Leon landed in Florida in 1521 with a herd of seven steer, some horses and an exploration team. The men soon departed...filled to their hat brims with stories of the newly discovered tropical and untameable land. Interestingly ...they left the cows and horses! Those Spanish steer and horses became the foundation for Florida's hardy breeds...the Cracker Steer and Marsh Tackie or Cracker Horse. And the first American Cowboys!

I chose to interpret the historic influence of this event through a multi-cultural representation of those who worked with and owned these tough steer. Equally hardy, good businessmen and savvy cowboys...the Seminoles, Black, Hispanic and Caucasian cowboys all lived on the tough pine, prairie and marsh land.  These "Cracker Cowboys" were also called "Cow Hunters".   Working side by side, commonalities were more prevalent than differences. Also represented are Florida native birds and mammals, and the Great Seal of Florida. 

"Stew" will join the other six painted bulls touring Florida in 2021. In the meantime, he resides at The Florida Cracker Kitchen Restaurant in Brooksville, Fl.!


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