Oxford’s newest celebrity “Francis Bacon” may not have a lovely spider spinning the words “some pig” above his head, but he has gotten plenty of “likes” on social media and has quickly become the main attraction on Price Street.
The large, realistic-looking pink pig, named after the artist Francis Bacon, is owned by Ryan Byers and they both moved to Oxford from California just a few months ago.
You may do a double-take when you first see Francis, with most people thinking he’s a real pig when they spot him on the front yard – or sometimes on the roof – of his Price Street home.
According to Byers, a film maker, Francis was used as a prop for movies.
“There was a catering company that used to be on the big movie lot that was actually going out of business, and the pig was part of their set up,” Byers said. “So we acquired the pig and he became like a little good luck charm.”
On the day Byers and another film-maker friend moved into Oxford, Francis was placed in the front yard while furniture and boxes were moved inside the house.
“Within 20 or 30 minutes, people were just coming to a full stop because he looks so real,” Byers said. “It was almost instantaneous that people started stopping by, leaving notes in our mailbox, and the neighbor kids were like, losing their mind and coming over to play with him every day.”
It was decided that Francis would remain outside. It wasn’t long before Francis could be seen in a different spot each day – whether playing in a kiddy pool, reading books, skateboarding, or hanging out on the roof.
“We have been doing more immersive and interactive things and just having fun with it,” Byers said.
Byers has received notes of appreciation from Oxonians, including pictures drawn by area children. Photos of Francis started popping up on Facebook and Instagram and now Francis has his own Instagram at [@pricestreetpig].
“We absolutely encourage people to come and take a picture with Francis,” Byers said.
Francis is made of fiberglass with a foam core. Byers isn’t sure how old Francis is but he suspects he’s been around for quite some time.
“He’s been cycled through the Hollywood movie industry for who knows how long,” he said. “But he’s got some years on him for sure.”
Byers said the decision to move to Oxford was actually a “happy mistake.”
“We stopped by Oxford on our way to Memphis and decided to check it out,” Byers said. “We just fell in love with it. We’re big book nerds and we found Square Books, which was a big draw for us.”
Moving across the country to a place where you don’t know anyone is not always an easy task; however, Francis has proven to be a great icebreaker.
“It’s been a great way to meet some our fellow community members and introduce our friend Francis to the neighborhood,” Byers said.