Road art: Rooster gives Brundidge artist something to crow about

Published 9:09 pm Monday, August 11, 2014

Brundidge artist Larry Godwin proudly displays his metal rooster outside his studio on U.S. 231 South.

Brundidge artist Larry Godwin proudly displays his metal rooster outside his studio on U.S. 231 South.

Larry Godwin’s big metal rooster stands alongside U.S. Highway 231 as if prepared to answer the eternal question: Why did the chicken cross the road?

The metal fowl, which is made of chrome car bumpers and stands 13 feet tall from comb to spur, began its life not as a piece of art, but as a present to dad.

After returning to Brundidge following graduation from Auburn University, Godwin informed his father that he didn’t want to work at the family feed store full time. He said he would fill in when he was needed, but wanted to concentrate on his art.

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The art and feed store came together because Godwin’s father wanted to win the float contests at the National Peanut Festival Parade in Dothan. After an unsuccessful trip the first time, the Godwin’s came back the next year with their rooster.

“It was quite a sight back then,” Godwin said of the work of art. “I fixed it where the beak would open and close, and the feet would move up and down. The feet came so close to the ground that it looked like it was walking down the road.”

Following the rooster, Godwin built more animals for other parades. A dog, cow and fish came later. The dog, known as Rusty, sits atop the Kentuck Museum of Art in Northport, and the cow stands next to U.S 231 at the Pike County Cattleman’s Complex, just a few miles from where the rooster currently roosts.

]When the feed store was still in operation, Godwin and his father was hook all the animals together behind their truck and take off for an event at local festivals or feed location.

The caravan of metal animals always attracted a crowd.

“People wanted to come and see what all of this was about,” Godwin said. “The feed places would want us to come and set up the animals to attract folks in. The children always loved getting up close to them.”

Since the animal days, Godwin has gone on to create multiple pieces of art that have ended up around the world. He built three metal replicas of the Wright Brothers Flyer, with one ending up in the downtown park in the Dayton, Ohio, the hometown of the famous flying duo. Godwin has also created art for Disney World. He also loves to paint, sculpt and draw.

He says each work of art has a special place in his heart, but the rooster will always be high up there.

“I bet that rooster has be photographed by over a million people,” said Godwin. “Folks just stop in and take their pictures with it, and they don’t even ask. It is alright with me, because I know they appreciate it.”

Godwin said his love of art blossomed in the third grade thanks to the support of his teacher, Mrs. Beverly.

He feels without the guidance and support of her, his art career would have never come to be.

“Mrs. Beverly was the first teacher to let me do what I wanted to do,” said Godwin. “She didn’t care about counting 1,2,3,4,5,6. She wanted us to be creative. She was the first to ever give me paints, pencils and paper to use. Without her, I wouldn’t be an artist. Thank you, Mrs. Beverly.”