Monday, October 8, 2012

Bio-Art: Elephant Painting.

Many of us probably see art as a human thing. Creativity is one of the things that make our species special. We probably shouldn't be surprised that another mammal can make art...and it's not a chimpanzee.

Believe what you see: That is indeed a real elephant drawing a painting of an elephant with a flower in its trunk. Six elephants have been trained to paint other elephants at an elephant camp in Thailand. The one pictured here is one of the older females. Cool, isn't it?

Now, let's get a few things straight: the female elephant shown here has been trained to paint. The training took about a month, which is enough to prove that elephants are super-smart animals; say what you will about creativity, but a month is a short time for an animal to learn something. Dogs go to obedience school if they can't learn to sit; elephants can make art in the same amount of time.  It was all done with positive reinforcement, so any elephant-made paintings are humane as well as unique.

Does being made by a trained elephant mean it's not art? Oh, it's art. Elephant-made paintings can be found in a few art galleries. You can also buy prints of them online here. Being human is not longer a requirement for making art, although the abilities to abstract and use opposable thumbs help considerably. (Speaking of, chimpanzees are supposedly HORRIBLE artists by comparison.)

On an artistic note: An elephant could not be a Western artist. One of the key differences between Western art and Eastern art is that Eastern art practices economy of line. Western art seeks to capture every little detail in an attempt to make a photorealistic image; Eastern art would rather use just enough lines to capture the subject's spirit. The elephant in the video could not replicate Van Gogh, but I would say she captured the spirit of the elephant very well.

1 comment:

  1. This is really cool, I like here! cheap oil paintings - Elegant oil paintings for home deco.