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The most prolific and sophisticated of the animal artists

The sign language-speaking gorilla, Koko, is famous for her sensitive artwork, as is her male companion, Michael

The sign language-speaking gorilla, Koko, is famous for her sensitive artwork, as is her male companion, Michael

The most talented of the animal artists are primates. The sign language-speaking gorilla, Koko, is famous for her sensitive artwork, as is her male companion, Michael. Chimpanzees like Congo, who have been raised by people, often grow up with an affinity for playing with crayons just as human children do.

animal artists. Raccoons from the Hutchinson Zoo in Kansas

Raccoons from the Hutchinson Zoo in Kansas

Raccoons are adept at manipulating objects with their human-like hands, these critters from the Hutchinson Zoo in Kansas prefer art of a slightly more abstract nature. Rather than simply using their paws like many other animal artists, raccoons prefer to paint using objects like the sea shells seen here.

animal artists. Parrot artist

Parrot artist

With their colorful plumage and dramatic personalities, it shouldn’t come as a surprise that parrots have an artistic side. Just as they can learn to speak, many birds have been taught to use a paintbrush. Needless to say, they’re naturals!

animal artists. Dog Sammy painting

Dog Sammy painting

Painting comes naturally to Sammy, a foxhound mix — at least it has since his brush was attached to a rubber bone. His striking use of color speaks with irony against the canid stereotype that dogs can only see in shades of gray. Or maybe he’s just having fun!

animal artists. Lea the sea lion shows off one her famous flipper prints

Lea the sea lion shows off one her famous flipper prints

Many of the great artists have been known as much for their dramatic personalities (i.e., Van Gogh, Caravaggio, etc) as they have for their art, so perhaps it shouldn’t come as a surprise that sea lions are among the world’s most boisterous animal artists. Seen here at her home in the Oregon Coast Aquarium in Newport, Lea the sea lion shows off one her famous flipper prints.

animal artists. Horse Cholla painting

Horse Cholla painting

His name is Cholla, and his artwork has been described as having the “fire of Pollock” and the “fixed gaze of Resnick”. Despite the high-minded comparisons, his work is unique — a wholly different species than that of the great masters, literally. Cholla … is a horse. His art has sold for more than $2,000.

animal artists. Turtle Koopa

Turtle Koopa

Koopa’s art is in such high demand that he actually does custom orders. Seen here, the remarkable reptile has almost finished creating a summer-themed painting requested from an Australian buyer. You might expect an artist like Koopa to take his time, but he’s quite prolific. His pieces hang in 35 of the 50 states.

animal artists. Rhino Mishindi, painting

Rhino Mishindi, painting

Handlers at the Denver Zoo were looking for a way to enrich the environment of their resident rhinoceros, Mishindi, when they taught her to paint. Now they can’t keep her away from a canvas. Some of her art has sold at auction for hundreds of dollars, money which has been used to improve her habitat at the zoo.

Dolphin from Qinhuangdao, Hebei Province in China

Dolphin from Qinhuangdao, Hebei Province in China

Dolphins are already known for their complex social and emotional lives, and they’re on the shortlist of animals considered self-aware. Who knew they also had a knack for watercolors? The dolphin seen here is from a sea life park in Qinhuangdao, Hebei Province in China, where the animal uses its artistic talents to help disseminate knowledge about the sea and sea life to park visitors.

This little fella from Pennywell Farm in Buckfastleigh, England, prefers to show off his creative talents by wallowing in colors rather than mud

This little fella from Pennywell Farm in Buckfastleigh, England, prefers to show off his creative talents by wallowing in colors rather than mud

The pigs tended to go more for pointilism – they weren’t too keen on cubism. We think of them as our little Pigassos

little Pigassos

little Pigassos

Pigs' creation

Pigs’ creation

Elephant painting

Elephant painting

Elephants
Due to their dexterous trunks, elephants are capable of painting with more detail than any other creature in the animal kingdom apart from primates. Working with zookeepers and handlers, the sensitive beasts have been trained to paint landscapes, still lifes and even self-portraits. Some of the paintings are of such high quality that they have fooled experts at auctions into believing they were crafted by people.

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