It’s a sad day for Oregon’s art world. A prolific Oregon artist has taken last place in a nationwide competition among her peers. Patti, a 31-year old painter from Bend, is reportedly devastated by the loss. Out of 27,000 votes cast, Patti’s untitled but colorful abstraction, painted with her tongue and feet
, lost out on a $10,000 prize from the Humane Society.
We should probably also mention that Patti is a chimpanzee.
“Patti’s artwork in our eyes is always awesome,” says Marla O'Donnell, sanctuary director at Chimps Inc.
, Patti’s home. “She’s been painting her whole life and always enjoys it.”
The contest, which included works from six simian artists from around the country, was also judged by chimpanzee expert Jane Goodall. The Chimpanzee Art Contest
was designed to “draw attention to the abilities of these great apes”
and each participant’s sanctuary will receive $500 for their participation, winner or not.
The winner, an artist named Brent from Louisiana, also paints with his tongue. His submission, also untitled, beautifully blends primary colors in the center of the page. Each color, painted in their own distinct streaks and mixed dozens of times by the artist’s signature tool, evoke a powerful feeling of emotional pain, perhaps an expression to the artist’s former suffering as a laboratory animal; or, perhaps, that he really likes the taste of paint.
Patti began her life as a performing chimp in California and retired to Chimps Inc. in 1996. Also known as “Princess” by staff, Patti is the artist of almost 100 paintings, and lets her handlers know when she wants to paint through sign language.
“She does use her tongue quite a bit," O'Donnell says. "We have to find non-toxic paints for her.”
Patti could not be reached for comment.
Source: Chimps Inc.