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Animal Artists

Friday 12th September 2014

No, we're not talking about artists who portray animals in their works, but actual animals who have become artists. For those of you who scoff at the idea, take note: the most expensive piece of work ever sold by (on behalf of, perhaps) an animal artist was a piece done in the 1960s by a chimpanzee named Congo - which sold for over $26,000 dollars. Certainly nothing to scoff at!

This, of course, is something of an outlier - on a list of the top 8 sale values from animal artists published by Macleans magazine, Congo ranks first, but the 8th highest value was only $370. Still, fairly impressive considering their lack of speech must surely inhibit the public perception of their work, and more than many artists sell their works for!

The list includes the following artists: Congo the chimpanzee, Ruby the elephant, the orangutans of Krefeld Zoo (presumably an artist collective), Metro the horse, Mini the cat, Arbor the dog, Big Cats of Tampa, and the adorably named Pockets Warhol the monkey. Even among those who are willing to consider the possiblity that animals have the level of self-awareness and cognition to actually be considered artists, the sheer variety of species that have claimed the title artist is rather astonishing. It may even be enough of a surprise to reconsider the role that animals appear to play in our worldview. The phrase 'mindless animals' suddenly seems rather naive and ignorant, when you consider the possibilities of animals gifted with the power of abstract thought and the ability to express such thoughts.

Naturally, not every animal from each of the species listed above is likely to manifest such talents, but that's not really very differenty from humanity. Some individuals excel at certain areas, and some excel in others - you wouldn't expect a polyglot to also be a fantastic artist, nor would you expect a K9 unit shepherd to be a canine Cezanne.

If you're stuck on inspiration and you have a pet, why not experiment with giving them the paintbrush and canvas? Naturally, only certain types of media are suited to animal dexterity, but with a little bit of a creative thought, you might unlock a wholly unexpected dimension to your favourite furry friend - not to mention discover a whole new way to express yourself in a new type of medium.

Posted on September 12th 2014 on 11:50pm
Labels: animals, art, artists

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