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Trunk Show: Painting for Peanuts

Thursday, September 27, 2012

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Humans aren’t the only species capable of painting.

For a number of years, elephants have been caught with their hands—uh, noses—wielding paint brushes.

 Karishma is an abstract artist.
 Karishma is an abstract artist.

Other animals have enthusiastically sunk their claws and teeth into the pursuit as well.

While the intelligent animals may not have the skills necessary to hire as laborers on your next job, some of the elephant artwork has helped conservation and research efforts.

UK’s Painting Star

Karishma, an Asian elephant who lives in the Whipsnade Zoo, Bedfordshire, one of the United Kingdom’s largest facilities, recently showcased her painting skills during Elephant Appreciation weekend, according to The Guardian.

Reports say Karishma works for bananas, not peanuts.

“Karishma really enjoys painting, and she’s very talented at it,” said Elizabeth Becker, zookeeper. “It demonstrates just how dexterous elephants’ trunks really are and we think the end results are pretty amazing, if a little abstract.”

Indeed, elephant art has apparently become so popular that some poachers are faking it. “The Elephant Art Gallery” has even weighed in with tips on spotting a fake elephant painting.

Other Artists?

The trunked artistic troupe is not alone. During the 1960s, monkeys were also exploring the art form as a pastime. A chimpanzee by the name of Congo (1954-1964) reportedly learned to paint and draw at age 2. Three of his pieces were auctioned for more than $25,000 in 2005, according to reports.

 Congo, the painting chimpanzee, commanded a pretty penny for his work.
Congo, the painting chimpanzee, commanded a pretty penny for his work.

Congo’s artwork “provoked reactions ranging from scorn to skepticism among critics of the time, but Pablo Picasso is reported to have hung a Congo painting on his studio wall after receiving it as a gift,” according to the Associated Press.

Dogs, on the other hand, may be a bit more inclined to become graffiti artists. What else can you produce by chomping into a pressurized can, causing a paint explosion? (Watch the video on the Los Angeles Fire Department blog.)


Tagged categories: Color; Design; Painters; Trends

Comment from Tom Schwerdt, (9/28/2012, 9:06 AM)

There is even a coffee table book of cats painting...

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