Animal-made art refers to artwork created by a living animal. There have been animal-made pieces of art created by elephants, cetaceans, reptiles, bowerbirds, and other species. Art can be seen as a human endeavour, in which they produce something to be appreciated by others on a more aesthetic level. This anthropological view of art seems to rule out the possibility of animals being artists. The song of many birds is improved through practice during the animal’s life, but it is primarily innate; it is not a product. The same holds true for animal dances or constructions.
While our descriptions suggest artistic qualities among these animals, the evidence suggests something far more simple. Even if these “works of art” sound or look beautiful to some, they are the outcome of the environment and not a composition of art.
The Truth Behind It All
Animals do create art, but it is always done under the guidance of a human, not out of their own will. Despite ornithologists’ disagreements, animal creating art is not an inherent trait of the animal kingdom. Some birds live to design the most elaborate, complicated boudoirs for their mates. In order to attract their opposite sexes, they compose and sing arias.
Is art created by humans to make themselves appear more attractive? It might be true for some, but there are other reasons for humans to produce art. Our goal is to find meaning in our lives, and art allows us to express this.
There is no doubt that everyone has seen or heard of an elephant painting. If you are wondering whether elephants have gone through some training behind the scenes that could explain their deftness, you are not the only one. Sadly, some of these creatures are not geniuses but are simply manipulated by their trainers who push on their ears to make their trunks move left or right.
How about Chimpanzees? One of London Zoo’s arty chimps, Congo, can paint. Congo’s paintings sell for a pretty penny. The art world, always a confusing place, took another sharp right turn yesterday at Bonhams auction house, as reported by the Telegraph. The price of three paintings by a chimpanzee smashed their estimate by more than 20 times and reached £14,400. Even if the humans gave worth to these pieces, this doesn’t make Congo an artist (by definition).
Furthermore, we have the Japanese Beluga whale people are amazed with – who paints. Bini the bunny, who is also a real pro with a brush, also deserves a mention. The clever Bini even has his own website and online store. A clip about a dog of a Seattle artist who goes blind and can still paint like a pro despite not being forced to do so is another good example. Unfortunately, this does not make these animals artists.