hide & sheep!

You all know that I can’t help but fall in love with creative people and with their sparky, unique, unexpected, funny, interesting, different, amazing, original, smart, incredible, colourful ideas. What you’re going to read below is a story about a very creative family. If you love unexpected, funny and original ideas, you’ll love these guys. And if you love to travel, too, then you have to keep in mind one important thing: next time you tour Europe or take a cross-country trip through the heart of Africa, watch out for the sheep!


So: you’re wondering how would a sheep get to the top of the Eiffel Tower or the wilds of the Serengeti? Well, the answer is pretty simple: it’s a real life “Where’s Waldo,” and it’s James Hartman’s personal obsession. Now let’s rewind a little bit: years ago, Hartman and his family and friends began placing hand-painted miniature plaster sheep in amazing spots all around the world. The family of six, led by their artist dad, James Hartman, began this wacky international sheep phenomenon in 1995. That November, James traveled to Missouri to visit his 84-year-old mother. He helped sort through her boxes of collectable antiques and found one piece that immediately caught his eye: a thumb-sized, finely painted sheep. He was struck by it because it had such detail, said James, 49. His 10 siblings also admired it and they wanted James to make a mold of the sheep and give one to each family member. He complied, but didn’t stop there.

Eager to find a millennium-themed art project, James truly broke the mold when he declared his goal: Make 2,000 sheep — and hand-paint them all — by 2000. The Hartman family had sheep-painting parties for their friends, forming assembly lines with one person painting the white fleece, another the green grass, another the peach face and legs and another the eyes and smile. They became proficient enough to spend only 10 minutes per sheep.

But the effort wasn’t just a local one. They sent kits of 100 sheep and travel-sized shampoo bottles of paint to relatives around the country. They spent their Thanksgivings painting sheep and their Christmases, too. And they surpassed their goal — they painted more than 2,600 sheep. But the really weird part began when the family started taking small groups of sheep on day trips with them. They photographed herds in Carmel, at the base of Lombard Street in San Francisco and in puddles of water in Mendocino.

In 1998, their daughter, Genevieve, took a batch with her on a high school trip to Paris. She and her classmates photographed themselves hiding sheep at the top of the Eiffel Tower, behind a painting at Versailles and in the Louvre (Their teacher hid a sheep in her cleavage, and yes, there’s a picture to prove it.) Soon, friends, friends of friends and even complete strangers wanted to take sheep with them on their vacations. Photos they took of themselves hiding the teeny sheep in various global locations now fill a giant scrapbook at the Hartmans’ house. A friend would say, “Oh, I’m going to Croatia” and the Hartman family would say, “Take a sheep to Croatia!” The sheep can now be found on every continent — even Antarctica.

They’re in a tree in Boca Raton, in a sarcophagus in New York City’s Museum of Modern Art, at a fly fishing spot in New Zealand, inside Placido Domingo’s dressing room, at the top of G2 in the Himalayas, at a church in Hawaii, at Albert Einstein’s home in Princeton, N. J., in the bedroom of Christopher Columbus’ son in the Dominican Republic, in a castle in Wales, in a garden in Luxemburg, at Sydney Harbor in Australia and in the Duomo in Florence.

More sheep can be found in South Africa, Cuba, Vietnam, Fiji, Hong Kong and Brazil. One lucky sheep was even blessed by the Pope. Matthew Siorek, James’ nephew, planted 50 sheep around his hometown of Chicago. They can be found in the city’s Picasso Art Institute, behind the center field scoreboard at Wrigley Field, behind the bar at “The Green Mill,” a jazz house once owned by Al Capone, and on a plot of farmland where Hartman ancestors settled after moving from Wales.

“It’s all about participation,” said Hartman’s wife, Catherine. “Everybody can help. There’s a certain type of person who’s drawn to creative, fun, adventurous things like this. Each sheep began to take on its own personality, with slightly different facial expressions and slightly different colors. One lamb wears sunglasses and a couple are the “Black sheep of the family.” They also have different phrases written on the bottom, including “Meryl Sheep,” “Fleece Navidad,” “Sheepless in Seattle,” “Sheep Car Named Desire,” “Ewe Ought To Be In Pictures” and “Nothing Spells Lovin’ Like Mutton In The Oven.”

Thanks to this family’s strange hobby, these sheep are true citizens of the world! And, believe it or not, even the White House has its own little sheep: you can find it in Abe Lincoln statue’s lap. 😀 Source: here.

Categories: Uncategorized | 22 Comments

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22 thoughts on “hide & sheep!

  1. PurpleT

    So we’ve gone from bunnies to sheep….hehehe

    That’s a cool story 🙂

    My home town is known for the ram. There’s an old song called “The Derby Ram” http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UOB-MfKYJIY We have a rather bad sculpture of the ram in the centre of town. The football team are nicknamed The Rams. Though the name Derby is actually from the Danish name Deoraby, which means something along the lines of “Village of the deer” and so we have a stag on the coat of arms, and it’s the emblem of the county.
    But there’s also been a lot of sheep farming in the area for many years…..

    • that’s great! i didn’t know that. see? another thing i’ve learned. oh, and i’d love to live in a Ram-city. 😀
      ps: https://gabrielabadica.wordpress.com/2010/08/19/on-how-google-and-flickr-can-magically-merge-history/

      • PurpleT

        I’ll have to take a photo of the sculpture in town of a ram. I personally think it looks more like a big pile of elephant poo, but it’s good for teenagers to climb on. We also have a sculpture of a boy riding a ram. At a quick glance it looks a bit rude….lol
        It got moved around a bit during development of the city centre. I think it’s now near the river. I’ll take a photo of that as well if i can find it….

      • capital DO that! 😛

    • p.s. 2: damn. shame on me. Capa was Hungarian, Brassai was Romanian. 😀

      • PurpleT

        Well at least we can sleep well now that we know about Capa 🙂

        Brassai!! Yes, i know the name now you mention it. I recognise some of his photos too 🙂

      • Andreea was so nice and I was like: come on, my pride was still hoping for a miracle, why couldn’t Capa be Romanian, in the end? : ))

  2. PurpleT

    P.S. I WILL 🙂

  3. PurpleT

    The miracle couldn’t happen, but at least we know for sure, Capa wasn’t Romanian 😦

    If i pass through town at the weekend i will take photographs of the rams for you 🙂

    • great. i can’t wait to see them. 🙂 promise i’ll get back with very looooong comments. 😛

      • PurpleT

        I’m heading through town for the winter beer festival, so i’ll take some photos on the way there as i’ll perhaps not be quite so capable afterwards…lol

        It was after the summer beer festival i got mugged last year, though i did also go to a pub afterwards and bump into some friends, so it was very late at night. Not only do i not want the physical pain, but i can’t afford any more cameras to be stolen or broken, so i think i’ll be on a bus home this time 🙂

        Can’t wait for the nice loooong comments again 🙂 🙂

      • definitely take some pictures before. 😀

  4. PurpleT

    I took some pictures….i’m a bit drunk 🙂

    I need to to get sober……..me is a bit drunk…hehehehehe 🙂

    • : ))))

      • PurpleT

        So did i happen to mention i was a bit drunk….?? 😉

        Just about to do a short blog with a few photos of the Rams. I managed some on the way home. I’m quite impressed i did that. I guess that the photographer in me, always thinking about photos no matter what state i’m in 🙂

      • i’m almost jealous. i want to take photos, too. but, instead of that, i’m listening to gogol bordello and eating pizza. 😀

  5. PurpleT

    Only “almost jealous”..? Damn! I really must try harder 😉

    Pizza is what i really would have liked last night when i got home, but i didn’t have any 😦 Though i did have a home made on on Friday 🙂

    Two of my friends posted Gogol Bordello on facebook a couple of days ago. Quite a few people i know like them 🙂

    The blog is up 🙂

    • gogol bordello are actually gipsies. that’s why nobody knows/love them. as for me… i’m just the opposite: i’d love to be one of those gipsies wandering the world with a circus. well… maybe in my third life. in my second i’m going to be bill gates, as i’ve already mentioned. 😀

      • PurpleT

        I know a few people who have traveled in a similar way to gypsies. Thatcher sent in the riot police and beat them to a pulp in the mid 80’s. I know others who would love that lifestyle, but they know what happens if you try to live that way.
        In some ways i’d like to travel that way myself. Being unemployed i nearly joined them back then, but when the violence started against them it sort of put me off. The government pretty much crushed that way of life 😦

        So in our third lives our paths may cross and we’ll share a drink in a caravan then eh 🙂

  6. i still can’t open your blog. too weird. or just funny. : )) i don’t get it. now i’ll have to wait until i’m back home. 😦

  7. PurpleT

    The Roma seem to have a bad reputation across Europe. Some have been housed in Derby and there’s problems with the different culture, though they do mainly seem to want to learn something of our ways so as to not upset people any more.
    We have many of Irish decent, but also many who call themselves gypsies but are just travelers. Some are ok, some not, and some are just bad. If they stop in places they usually show no regard for the locals, they leave a mess behind and we have to pay to have it cleaned up. There’s often a lot of crime when they’re around.
    The good ones want proper sites where they can stay for a while. They’d pay for services like the rest of us, and use schools for their kids. But no one wants them sited nearby because of the bad reputation. It’s hard to find an answer to the problem.

    The travelers i used to know were more the hippie type. They wanted proper sites and often tried to work with local government to pay services they needed. They also wanted to help with walks and talks on nature for kids, and the teach old crafts so they don’t get forgotten. I think they could have offered a lot to our society, but even if they bought their own land, the government had them moved by force.
    After a while, and with more and more finding themselves with no work and homeless, the attitude changed. They ended up being taken over by very bitter people who had no care for the rest of society. They turned to crime a lot! I can understand the bitterness, but that way of just not caring about anyone, or anything else, really wasn’t what i wanted. In the end both they and the remains of the hippie types were crushed. Some of the decent ones survived and live in communes, but the day of the travelers was pretty much over.

    In Britain we have The Big Issue magazine, started up to help the homeless help themselves. They buy some at low cost and sell them at full price. They have to apply to become a seller, and they’re not supposed to be drug takers, alcoholics etc, recovering users ok, but not active takers.
    One of my best friends used to be a seller, then he became the local coordinator for them. Eventually he worked in one of their regional offices. It helped him get a place to live and some furnishings.
    They have problems with some sellers, but on the whole it does a good job.
    From my mate i learnt who the real homeless were, which were ok, and which would try to rip you off. There were some really decent people amongst the homeless at the time, they just had problems in their lives and lost everything, many suffering depression.
    One of them i used to know quite well, and sometimes give food and drink to, now works at the main college i work at. He sorted his life out over time, and now he’s better off than me…..lol

    I understand your anger at the corporate idiot. I really hate that people behave like that. We get it here as well. I see it a lot of websites too, if you haven’t got a job you’re just a lazy benefit scrounging scum. I’ve had people spit on the floor in front of me and call me scrounging bastard because they heard me say i was out of work. I’ve had people accuse me of stealing from them because their taxes pay for lazy shits like me. Funny that i’ve worked for crap money for almost 20 years now, yet i’m supposed to have been the lazy scrounger…..lol

    About the black girl on the bus, that used to happen here in the 50’s and 60’s. We also got a lot of Indian and Pakistanis come over. In the 70’s there was still a lot of racism. After a lot of political turmoil with the unions calling mass strikes then as we entered the 80’s with Thatcher on control things got quite depressive. Add to this the way the police picked on non whites, often arresting them on trumped up charges, and often beating them. Well we ended up a lot of race riots in the early/mid 80’s
    With world recession at the moment then people are again looking for someone to blame. It’s not the blacks now, but the Muslims that are the main target of hate. We have groups set up now who march in the streets against “Muslim terrorists”, but they’re just anti-Islam. I photograph them sometimes, but me and my mate Gary got threatened by a group at a train station a while back. I’ve been hit by a lump of wood thrown by them, and they regularly throw smoke grenades and flash bombs. They’re not a right wing group as often accused, but many are Hitler supporters, and many come from the football hooligan element.
    If you march with them then it’s ok, but if you don’t then they see you as the enemy. They have a lot of very nasty and violent people amongst them……

    I try to not judge people on their colour, race, or religion. I prefer to judge people on who they are 🙂

    “why do people always think that a beautiful woman must be – naturally – stupid?! ”

    I’ll answer the beautiful/stupid woman question tomorrow 😉

    The terminator!!
    I have to pose like Arnie when he first appears at the start of the film. Mad Frank at the uni gets me to do it. It’s bloody uncomfortable after 20 minutes *ouch*

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