Hamilton, Ohio – From IT to E.T. to another alien.
The area prankster(s) who dressed up the First Ride sculpture outside the Fitton Center for Creative Arts as a scene from the Steven King novel-turned-movie IT in 2021 and the Steven Spielberg charmer E.T. last year, ditched the Steven trend for something more ethereal.
Now the father in the J. Seward Johnson Jr. outdoor artwork stands covered in chicken wire and green papier mâché to resemble an alien. Painted on its chest is an approximation of a John Lennon lyric - “I am you, you are me, we are all here together” – from the Beatles hit “I Am the Walrus” off 1967’s Magical Mystery Tour album.
(The actual lyric is, “I am he as you are he as you are me/And we are all here together.”)
“It was really cold out overnight, but this kind of warms the heart,” said Ian MacKenzie-Thurley, Fitton Center Executive director. “After amazing transformations the last couple of years, I didn’t know if our ninja artists would be back for another try, especially since temperatures got below freezing.
“This is a great way to start off our Halloween. A lot of our staff dress up for the day, so why not some of our artwork, too?”
While that particular lyric has an obvious theme of unity, attributing meaning to song as a whole has been an exercise in futility. Lennon himself said, “’Walrus’ is just saying a dream – the words don't mean a lot. People draw so many conclusions and it's ridiculous.”
The identity of the statue dresser is also a mystery, but nobody is going to look too hard at security video to try and figure out the instigator(s).
“Whoever did it put in a lot of work in short amount of time,” MacKenzie-Thurley said. “It couldn’t have been easy to put up the chicken wire, then apply and paint the papier mâché, all in the dark and cold.
“We love that people are interacting with the sculpture. It obviously resonates with them. They are having a good time, adding to the community conversation. Whoever is responsible, thank you. As long as there’s no damage to the piece, we’re happy to enjoy your work. It’s good fun.”
WLWT-TV Channel 5 reporter Karin Johnson - working on a Halloween safety story in Hamilton - stopped by for a look at the alien and give it a live hit on the noon broadcast.
First Ride is located on the east side of the Fitton Center building on the north edge of the pergola at 101 S. Monument Avenue in Hamilton, Ohio. It’s visible from the street, especially as drivers come down Court Street to the intersection at Monument. It is part of the City of Sculpture collection.
The Fitton Center for Creative Arts is located at 101 S. Monument Avenue on the Riverfront in downtown Hamilton, Ohio.
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