|First, a little background: Woody
graduated from Middlebury College in 1970 and received a master's degree in fine arts from
Yale School of art in 1980. His senior year at Middlebury, he was sharing an old brick
farmhouse on 100 acres in Bridport with his Golden Retriever, Ezra Hound, and three
college students. It was there he fell in love with the Holsteins of Addison County, an
affair which would make him world famous for his Holstein cow paintings and kick off a
"cowmania" that has dominated the latter part of the 20th century. Many millions
have seen his cow art on the Ben & Jerry's Ice Cream containers, but not that many
know that the Ben and Jerry empire actually started in a former gas station in Burlington,
Vermont. Woody's story of their relationship, which was first printed in the December 1996
issue of Vermont magazine, is re-told here:
"In the spring of 1983, I had just left New York City when someone named Ben Cohen left a message on the answering machine at the Brooklyn loft of my just-ex-girlfriend. Thankfully, she passed it along. I had been to the Ben & Jerry's gas station in Burlington a couple of times, but I didn't really know anything about the ice cream duo. Ben had seen my prints at Frame of Mind in the Champlain Mill in Winooski and wanted me to do a billboard design for the Portland or Boston area and a tee shirt.
Ben was like a hyperkinetic Santa Claus who bore right into the matter at hand, although with a disarming laugh. The company had painted a rather cartoonish cow on their trucks, but they thought my cows were what was needed. They also thought it was a good fit between two Vermont enterprises, and they like to support Vermont artists. Ben was working with Chico Lager at the time and they were quite generous with the royalty on the tee shirts, and paid, I think, $500 for the billboard design. One year later, they began to use my images on other parts of their shops and business and we made a licensing agreement so that my cows could be made part of Ben & Jerry's all over the country. The cows gave B&J's an instantly powerful trademark which has helped the ice cream guys to become world-renowned. It hasn't hurt me, either. I still love to see the big semis rolling down Interstate 89 covered with Woody cows. It is a real thrill. Thanks, guys...". - W.J.
|Woody started with art prints, but grew from there to tee shirts
and a host of other items featuring his art.
He's recent launched a new career as a writer, authoring the children's book COUNTING COWS. He's presently at work on a sequel, THE COW'S ALFALPHABET. His factory store at 52 Seymour St., Middlebury, is a must-see for visitors to the Middlebury area. A brief sample would include:
|A variety of printed items,
including post cards, note cards, posters, and, of course, the famous COWLENDER
(right) which has a great collection of Woody's art.
Incidentally, you can order the calendar (or anything else for that matter) by phone at
1-800-388-6737. Woody accepts Visa/MC or Discover cards.
|There's also a nice collection of Clothing and soft goods,
including tee shirts, sweat shirts, beanbag cows for the kids, aprons, and even some
charming little girl's dresses. A good example, at left is the new
Winter Barn Tee
Well, like we said, this is only a sample. More better you should visit Woody's new full-sized web site and browse his online CATALOG, which has everything from coffee cups to mouse pads.
Holy Cow's last paper-printed catalog is now history, so if you have a copy, be sure to keep it for a collectible.
The Internet Revolution now provides us the means to instantly update a catalog Item, or add a new one as soon as it comes off Woody's drawing board.
So please visit Woody's snappy new full-sized web site by clicking
And last, but not least, thanks for visiting Woody's home page on this humble little community network.
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Revised: May 14, 1998
First Posted: 11/10/97