Painting Pachyderms



These are not Picasso ’s. These are painted by group of Pachyderms featured by the Asian Elephant Art and Conservation Project ( AEACP ).

The project started in 1995, when a couple of human artists, Vitaly Komar and Alex Melamid , taught an elephant at Ohio’s Toledo Zoo how to paint. Vitaly and Alex soon began traveling around the world, teaching more big beasts how to paint, and in 1998, they founded the AEACP in Thailand. Today, the AEACP is also at work in Indonesia, India, and other places, with elephants brushing up on their skills all over the planet.

“For thousands of years, elephants have been making mysterious characters on the ground with stones or sticks. Elephant art is only new to people, but it’s not new to the elephants.”
— Vitaly Komar, Artist

Wanna know how seriously the AEACP takes its ample artists? Check out some of the comments on the Web site (

“Aided by her handsome young mahout, Juthanam favors a palette of clear, bright colors which she applies with thick, meandering, wormlike brushstrokes. Critics have commented on the elemental, organic quality of Juthanam’s wandering lines, noting their uncanny resemblance to the interlocking strands of DNA molecules.”

But the best description is saved for a star artist in Thailand :

“Duanpen means full moon month in Thai and a mischievousness is evident in all she does. Duanpen has a very unique style of painting. She is the first and only abstract pointillist elephant artist to date. She has an amazing sense of composition and framing. She focuses on the blank canvas before beginning painting, then she repeatedly strikes the paper with the brush. Her work is very beautiful – done with a medium brush, she covers the paper with bright, vibrant colors.”

I’ll bet they never said THAT about Picasso!

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