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Horse of a different color

Horse of a different color
Horse of a different color
A fiberglass horse painted by Travis King depicts many aspects of the Kentucky Derby.

Travis King’s normal canvas is the skin of a human body, which he decorates with tattoos at his job at Louisville’s Body Art Emporium.
Now King, 32, is displaying his considerable talent on a horse ‘ not your average living, breathing, four-legged steed, but a 100-pound fiberglass statue.
King, a 1991 graduate of Corydon Central High School, has painted one of at least 100 horses that are part of the ‘Gallopalooza Sidewalk Derby,’ a new event sponsored by Greater Louisville Inc. that’s leading up to the 130th Kentucky Derby.
Body Art, located on Bardstown Road, decided to participate in the new event. King picked up his fiberglass statue early January and submitted a rough sketch of his design. Once approved, he had until March 31 to complete his artwork.
‘I tried to get as many (Derby events) on it as I could,’ King said. ‘There were just a few I couldn’t.’
The finished product includes the garland of roses, the Great Balloon Race, the Twin Spires, several horses racing along the rail of the track, and the Clark Memorial Bridge with fireworks cascading over the sides, a favorite part of Thunder Over Louisville.
King also honored jockey Bill Shewmaker and Derby 73 winner Secretariat.
‘One of the main things I wanted to do but couldn’t was the (Great Steamboat) race,’ King said.
All of the finished products will be in the Pegasus Parade on April 29.
Gallopalooza is similar to programs in other cities, such as the popular ‘Cows on Parade’ in Chicago. Three hundred fiberglass bovines were first put on public display in various places in downtown Chicago in June 1999.
In Louisville, businesses sponsored a horse and had a list of artists to choose from to adorn the statues. King said that after the Run for the Roses on May 1, the horses will be displayed at sponsoring businesses, as well as along major corridors, such as Dixie Highway and Bardstown Road, through October.
Then they have the option of purchasing the artwork for $5,000 or let the Derby Festival committee auction them, King said. Auction receipts will be split 50-50 between the Brightside beautification program and the successful bidder’s charity of choice.