From Tires to Team Mascots: Bringing Tire Art to the 81st Goodyear Cotton Bowl Classic

I’m not your typical kind of artist. I don’t go to art galleries. I actually don’t know a lot about art history. I just like making cool stuff. This is a material that’s just abundant everywhere. People are throwing it away. Actually paying to get it recycled. It’s a material that I can really transform into whatever I want. So I got this commission from Goodyear. A random email one day. People from Goodyear wanted sculptures for the Cotton Bowl, and I was just ecstatic. My name is Blake McFarland. I’m a tire sculpting artist. Any sculpture will go from around 50, to almost 200 tires. Once I have all the tires stripped up, I find a form that I could actually secure, weave, wrap these tires around to use as my inner structural base. And then basically use the anatomy that I’ve already researched to kind of try and get everything on there. So the two teams in the Cotton Bowl this
year, the Western Michigan Broncos versus Wisconsin Badgers. What I really want to do in these pieces is really capture the essence of their mascots. For the Western Michigan Broncos I’m actually doing a life-sized bronco. It’s going to be massive to scale. And we’re going to do a big form of Bucky the Badger. And it’s the first time I’ve actually really used white and black tires, and I think the Badger is going to come out great. These two pieces are going to be a massive challenge. Normally that sculptures take up to a
month. I have 15 days to do two full life-size sculptures. I’m super excited for it, but there’s going to be a lot of challenges along the way. So working with these different treads
is really what depicts different muscles. The great thing about this project is Goodyear sent me so many different tire treads. This is more of off-road tire, which is going depict a bigger muscle, which is more in the front. And then over here, for example, we have road tires which are thinner, and they work really good for undertones of muscle layers. So when the Badger arrived, I knew I wanted to do something different than the Bronco. I wanted to do fur, and I wanted to just have thousands of shreds of tire to really make him come together. I was a little nervous at first seeing it come out of the truck. I was like, please, make sure everything is good, and, uh,
it came perfect. No problems. Everything looks great. And people, once they see it, I think they’re really excited, and it really makes it all worth it. And then I got to meet Keyshawn Johnson, which is obviously awesome. It’s pretty amazing. I mean I like stuff like that. I like art. I mean it’s something now that I think that the university should be proud of, And display in their athletic departments, you know, and in their concourse as they walk in it. I would. Since they say that everything is bigger in Texas, we’ll unveil some Texas-sized artwork, that we’ve created to honor these two teams. We talk about Blimpworthy on the college football field. Certainly, this is Blimpworthy as well. This exudes hard work, determination, and grit, for sure It feels great to be done. I mean, these are by far the biggest, best, most time I’ve ever put in to any sculpture. Over 500 hours went into both these sculptures. 460 Goodyear tires. Thousands of staples. Nails. Paint. So much work went into these. These are definitely Blimpworthy.

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