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Bull artist not fazed by tourism body's shunt of Rocky icons

Local artist John Jasperson, pictured with his works at the Tondoon Botanic Gardens visitor centre gallery, Gladstone. Photo Luka Kauzlaric / The Observer
Local artist John Jasperson, pictured with his works at the Tondoon Botanic Gardens visitor centre gallery, Gladstone. Photo Luka Kauzlaric / The Observer Luka Kauzlaric

A PLAN by Rockhampton's tourism body to "grab our bulls by the horn" and shunt town's huge icons could leave a Gladstone artist out in the cold.

Capricorn Enterprise has outlined a need for new contemporary public art across the Beef Capital.

And Capricorn Enterprise chief executive officer Mary Carroll believes it's time to move away from the traditional bull statues.

"Public art plays a critical role in the experience of the visitor to our cities and towns and presents pride of place for locals," she said.

"Rocky can take a leaf out of Emerald's book. They've had contemporary public art for years."

But that's at the expense of the existing bulls - one of which was designed by Gladstone artist John Jasperson.

Mr Jasperson was commissioned to design and create two of the bulls during the 1990s, including the one at the Yeppen roundabout.

The iconic bull at the Yeppen roundabout during floods
The iconic bull at the Yeppen roundabout during floods Chris Ison

 

While Mr Jasperson isn't against the proposed change, he wants to be sure his statues will be moved somewhere prominent, not discarded.

And he hopes new designs will focus on other parts of the beef industry.

"Well, I think it wouldn't be bad, but I think they need to do things with cows and calves as well because they're a vital part of the (beef) industry," he said.

Mr Jasperson said Gladstone could do with some large resources-related public art.

Capricorn Enterprise hasn't any set plans for the bulls yet.

But Ms Carroll suggests that they be moved to the showgrounds.

Topics:  beef capital bulls capricorn enterprise