Arts & Entertainment
2 min

Atomic Rooster art show brings cocks to the Village

Poultry-inspired art up for votes until Oct 4

Queer artist Brian Potvin drew inspiration from drag queens for his submitted piece. Credit: Bradley Turcotte

Bank Street pub The Atomic Rooster wants to ensure there’s plenty of cock in the Village with its annual art show inspired by its feathered namesake.

Now in its fifth year, the Cock Show Art Expo invites Ottawa artists to submit creations inspired by the noble rooster.

“We have a large art community within Bank Street,” Atomic Rooster server and art curator Shelly Braun says, adding that there are 43 artists participating this year. “Everyone is touched by art.”

Braun says one of her favourite pieces is Two Colourful Capons, by artist Helene Lacelle, which shows Prime Minister Stephen Harper and embattled Toronto Mayor Rob Ford as preening roosters.

“The two collage capons are something that we’ve never had before,” Braun says. “When you see Stephen Harper and Rob Ford hanging out together as birds, I think that’s pretty awesome.”

Patrons can vote on location until Oct 4 for their favourite poultry-inspired pieces. The top four works of art will go to the final round of judging, along with a fifth work nominated by Facebook likes.

Randomly drawn from a pool of willing Atomic Rooster customers, the five judges will enjoy complimentary pizza and beer while they decide which cock is king, Braun says.

Queer artist Brian Potvin submitted a piece titled Dragsters that hatched from his preference for the abstract form.

“To draw something is very difficult for me to do,” Potvin admits. “I had this struggle of trying to draw roosters, but being fair to my abstract preference, it turned out looking like anything from a parrot to a crow.”

The drag birds in Potvin’s piece sport crimson lips, colourful eye shadow, fat lashes and bling.

“I think it took attention away from the fact that maybe they don’t really look like roosters,” Potvin says with a laugh.

Artist Mindy Amelotte, who also performs musically as Dynamite Motel, usually misses the competition’s deadline but this year swooped in at the last second when a friend informed her of the Cock Show the night before submissions were due.

Amelotte’s piece, titled Roosta, uses negative light, an approach the artist says she favours.

“I do a lot of acrylics and stuff that kind of has a negative effect in colours, kind of like a polarized effect,” she says. “This was my first time doing a rooster, not a person’s face. It was quite interesting to turn it into an animal. I got the same bright kind of effect, so it made me happy.”

Amelotte’s yellow-tinged cock sold on the first day of the show to a buyer who promised to give her work an acceptable roost.

Leaf through the Atomic Rooster’s Cock Show Facebook photo album to like your favourite fowl, or fly in to the pub and vote.