Yes, even animals are getting in on the expressive act now – plop a brush in their mouths, or paint on their paws, and this lot will be happy to show you their visual thoughts on the world. Before you skeptics start rolling your eyes, bear in mind that some of these wild watercolours have been bought for thousands of dollars.Share
RUFF SKETCHES – SAMMY THE DOG
You can teach a dog to do plenty of things – but painting? Sammy is a smart dog and trained assistance dog for people with disabilities, who in his spare time has taken up applying brush to canvas with his own special paintbrush, which has a widened end to fit his mouth. Skeptics of his talents may need to consider that Sammy has been known to fetch over $1,700 at auction for his work – so it might be time to train your own mutt to pick up a paintbrush.
GORILLAS IN THE MIX – KOKO AND MICHAEL
Koko and Michael (who has since passed away) are two fairly legendary gorillas. The American Gorilla Foundation has not only encouraged the pair to communicate via sign language – Koko can sign over 1000 words – but also to express themselves on canvas. Often having been prompted with certain concepts, the pair have painted their visual ideas of love, hate, anger, and have even had a go at making self-portraits.
HORNING YOUR CREATIVITY – MISHINDI THE RHINO
Mishindi’s Denver Zoo keepers introduced her to the world of painting over thirteen years ago as a potential hobby - and she still regularly turns out works of art, paintbrush in mouth, to this day! Her artwork has been auctioned and has brought in excess of $200 per piece – with proceeds going towards upkeep of the rhino enclosure.
SHELL STROKES – KOOPA THE TURTLE
Koopa is one of the more prolific animal artists out there, having created over 700 different artworks by treading paint over canvas. There is a painting by Koopa hanging in at least one place in each US state, and his works are said to have brought over $10,000 in at auction – he has since retired from artistic pursuits after five years of creative crawling.
FINE ART WITH FLIPPERS – LEA AND MAX
Lea and Max are two sea lions resident at the Oregon Coast Aquarium whose talents truly took on a life of their own – the animals were initially encouraged to do flipper prints before finding a demand for their artwork steadily increased to the point of it being a huge attraction for the centre. Lea can also paint by brush, provided in her mouth with a holder, and all the paint she requires. Any of their artwork that’s sold benefits the aquarium directly – so they’re effectively earning a living.
GALLOPER’S GALLERY – CHOLLA THE HORSE
Cholla is one of very few animal artists in the world to be revered in art circles – and to genuinely baffle scientists. Cholla paints using a brush in his mouth and has control over the colour he uses, and it’s said he appears to show free will over whether he wants to create or not – and when he does, he seems to enjoy it! It’s just as well – as some of his work can be expected to fetch around £3,000.
MINTED CHIMP – CONGO THE CHIMPANZEE
While the clearly gifted Congo has sadly not been with us for over forty years now, his work lives on in a big way – at art auctions. His paintings were first showcased by Desmond Morris, an animal behaviourist, in 1957 – but since then, in 2005, some of his work has gone on to claim £12,000 at auction alongside works by Andy Warhol! It’s also said that even Pablo Picasso once owned a framed Congo masterpiece.
OINKING ICONS – TROTTERS INDEPENDENT PAINTERS
A pair of piglets going under the name of T.I.P. have taken to creating messy, explosive artworks that wouldn’t look out of place in any modern exhibitions. Smearing with their snouts and with sponges, the duo have raised over £150 for charity – at a rate of £16 per artwork.