SAN ANGELO, Texas (Concho Valley Homepage) — San Angelo is filled with beautiful murals, unique statues, and creative pieces from artists, but what is up with a flock of nearly 100 unique sheep statues scattered across town?
During the 1900s, San Angelo secured the title of “Wool Capitol” of the world, according to Downtown San Angelo Inc. With the title came the Miss Wool of America pageant which brought in women that were eager to represent the wool and fashion industries. The televised pageant brought many celebrities as hosts, judges and performers to town during the 40s and 50s.
As a community fundraiser, Downtown San Angelo Inc. started the Downtown San Angelo Sheeptacular Art Project to keep the history of the Miss Wool of America pageant alive in 2007. The first flock of sheep statues was paraded through town and placed on display downtown for citizens to vote on their favorite.
In the past 16 years, the fundraiser has grown to over 100 sheep statues that were sold to and made special for businesses in San Angelo. Before a sheep statue is revealed in a ceremony to the public, these masterpieces have to go through many steps.
After selecting their artists – whether it be a contest or simply picking an artist – the fiberglass cast is transported to the artist.
Concho Valley Homepage staff sat down with San Angelo native and owner of Pop of Color Ashley Perales, who is currently working on four sheep statues, to get an insight of how artists bring business ideas to life.
Once she gets the cast into her studio, Perales shared that there is still some work that needs to be done on the statue before she can start adding color.
“Some of them kind of have cracks and dings, and some of them have been in storage for a while so I have to patch all the holes,” she explained. As soon as the damages on the casts are covered, Perales starts applying a heavy-duty white primer and creating the design.
Perales explained that businesses often give her concepts they want on their statue like the history of San Angelo, things that are special to their company, or even landscape artwork. After sketching out her design, Perales makes a digital mock-up of the sheep. This not only helps the business figure out what they would like on their statue but also helps her with placement.
Once the design is approved and the cast has been primed, Perales starts working her magic with exterior house paint and her paintbrushes.
“They are kind of awkward to paint,” Perales explained when talking about the shape of the animals.
The homegrown artist said, “It’s definitely a challenge doing like logos and letters.” Because of the curve of the sheep, Perales often has to change and distort the lettering painting so that the end product looks correct.
Once the finishing touches are done, the sheep statue is taken to a car body shop for a clear coat to protect the art. This entire process, from start to finish, takes Perales one to two weeks to complete.
Growing up, Perales told CHVP that she would color, telling her parents she was going to be an artist when she grows up. Despite the sheep being a new frontier that Perales has taken on, she enjoys being able to work in her studio with her dog doing what she loves.
“The fact that I actually get to like color on walls and get paid to do it is really exciting,” Perales said.
These four sheep are not the first ones Perales has worked on. In fact, there are five others she has completed scattered around San Angelo.
“I feel like each one I’ve done has gotten better,” the local artist said. “Im kinda learning more how to maneuver around them.”
“I really like the sheep,” she said, “I think it’s cool. I think it’s fun to drive around town and be like ‘I painted this one and this one’.”
Businesses that want to showcase their company and San Angelo pride can find out more about purchasing a sheep statue by clicking here.