I don’t know about you, but I’d argue that there’s no greater joy in this life than animals. Fluffy ones, tall ones, fast ones – I love them all. And even though nobody asked what my new favourite is, I’m going to tell you anyway. It’s the humble gorilla.
I get it, gorillas probably aren’t the first animal that spring to mind when you think of something you’d like to cuddle, but The One And Only Ivan (dropping on Disney+ tonight) will completely change your mind. This is a heartwarming true story of a loveable gorilla with an incredible talent for art. Yes, you read that right – Ivan is the animal artist who’s stolen my heart with his finger-painting ways and he’ll likely steal yours, too.
In honour of Ivan the artistic gorilla and his extraordinary tale, I decided to make a compilation of my favourite animals who make their own artwork. Fun fact: there’s a lot.
Trotters, flippers, opposable thumbs – there’s animals from all walks of life out there making art of all kinds. I’ve got to tell you, these pieces are simply breathtaking and anyone who says otherwise has no taste (or soul). They say a picture tells a thousand words and these certainly say more than that. Bow down to the animal kingdom and the many talented artists who reign over it with their paint brushes.
The name says it all really – DogVinci is an extremely talented artist. Putting his special paintbrush to paper and beret tilted to a fashionable 45 degrees – he’s ready to make magic. Sure he may not have the same range of colour-seeing capabilities as humans but will that stop him? Absolutely not. He also gives a portion of his proceeds to charity – I’m not crying, you are. He was also voted Long Island’s painter of the year in 2018 so I’ll let that accolade speak for itself.
Ivan the gorilla
No roundup of talented animals would be complete without including the big guy that sparked it all – Ivan the silverback gorilla. Ivan lived in a public enclosure at the B&I shopping centre in Tacoma. During the 27 years he spent there, he passed the time making artwork which were then sold to the public. He won the hearts of the masses for his artistic talent and soulful personality. Now, he’s been immortalised in his own Disney movie The One & Only Ivan coming to Disney+.
Xiao Qiang the painting beluga
If you thought that only land-dwelling animals could make fine art, then think again. Prepare to be truly dazzled by the creative talents of aquatic artiste, Xiao Qiang. It all began when the clever whale started playing with a paintbrush left behind by a visitor. In an exclusive interview, his trainer revealed Xiao Qiang’s favourite colour to paint with his blue and unsurprisingly, he’s best at painting seascapes. We haven’t seen any of his work for a few years now so it’s possible he’s hung up the old paintbrush and retired to the deep waters. Well deserved, we say.
Piper the raccoon
This fun-loving girl is a rescue raccoon from the United States, but she’s not any old raccoon, oh no. Making the best of what life throws at you, Piper has taken her two tiny hands and catapulted herself to internet stardom, and, as you can see, she’s pretty pleased with herself. I mean seriously, look how stoked she is with her own masterpiece – it’s a look of pure euphoria.
Metro the painting racehorse
You can lead a horse to an easel but you can’t make him paint; unless you’re Metro the painting racehorse. After knee injuries ended his racing career, Metro decided to pivot to something a little slower paced – painting. His splatter and drip technique has been likened to the works of Jackson Pollock (a deserving comparison I’d say). This work is objectively stunning, I’m going to hang it in my house and you can’t convince me otherwise.
If you thought pigs in mud were stupidly happy, just wait until you get a load of Pigcasso (AKA Smithfield)- the pig in paint. Truly overcoming the odds, Smithfield has beaten cancer twice and really made a name for himself in the artistic community. This painting porker is loving every minute of the fame and even enjoyed a stint on Oprah – so you know he’s made the big time.
Yang Yang the panda
Pandas are truly such a gift and the talented Yang Yang is living proof. In true panda-style, she paints only in black and white (it became somewhat of a signature look). Yang Yang creates her work with a special bamboo brush and her work can be described as somewhat abstract – but beauty is in the eye of the beholder. When she’s not busy at work, she likes to snack on carrots and sweet potatoes (the perfect refuel for any creative genius).
Koopa the turtle
Koopa has a staggering portfolio of over 800 paintings, which is pretty impressive given how slow turtles are known to work – but who are we to critique an artists methods? Koopa’s underbelly gives the paintings his signature swirly whirly design but sometimes his owner would stand him on his hind legs for a bit of variation because sure, why not. His more popular paintings have sold for a whopping $480 on Ebay which sure beats my finger painting creations that even mum didn’t want. The last we heard from him in 2018, Koopa was enjoying his turtle retirement and getting comfortable under a heated lamp.
Sure, you could have a painting made by some 40-year old man or you could have a painting that’s been brought to life through the mouth of a dolphin – the choice is yours.
If all this talk of animals making artwork has set your heart aflutter then hold onto your paintbrushes for the premiere of The One And Only Ivan on Disney+. It’s the kind of movie that’ll make you ugly-happy-cry, so having a box of 4-ply tissues handy is strongly recommended.
The One & Only Ivan will be available to stream on Disney+ tonight.