Cholla FAQ Frequently Asked Questions

  • Who is the artist? The artist is a horse! Cholla!
  • How long did Cholla live? Cholla was born in Nevada in 1985, from a Quarter horse mare and a Mustang stallion. He died in March 2013, at a remarkable age for a horse.
  • What does his name mean? The cowboys chose his name from one of the worst things you can come across in the desert, the cholla cactus, a tree-like plant with spines, forming fantastic looking forests that may range over many hectares in the southwestern United States and northern Mexico. They grow in inaccessible and hostile places of the desert.
  • How do you pronunce his name "Cholla"? 'cho?i-y? Check the Merriam-Webster online dictionary for details and listen to the pronunciation
  • When did Cholla begin to paint? In April 2004. The watercolor named "The Big Red Buck" was painted in July 2004
  • Was Cholla a trained horse? Cholla was a Mustang horse mix a Quarter horse; so he was a semi-wild horse, not trained to paint
  • Can I teach my horse how to paint? We have no idea (it looks like it is impossible for wild or semiwild horses), and anyway this matter is not discussed here: we are talking of a horse who could paint spontaneously, this is the reason why the behavior is interesting. Any trained animal would be of no interest, and compelling any being to do something is always a form of violence. So please do not say "I'll put a brush in my horse's mouth as I return home", as many of you visitors have commented at the gallery.
  • Why did Cholla paint? Though we'd like to believe that the horse wanted to communicate with us by painting, we do not dare say so!!! To him, painting was likely to be a way to play. Unlikely other horses, he did neither chew not break the bursh; as ethologists pointed out, he showed intention and awareness, and was totally let free to do what he he was doing. So we could just comment that he did it because he enjoyed it. He was a very well treated horse. And this is very important.
  • I'm a painter and I'd like to copy the designs. Can I? All images are copyrighted,... and you have your own art already
  • Some of Cholla's originals are distributed as giclée prints. What is a Giclée print?
    A giclée (zhee-CLAY) is an individually produced, high-resolution, high-fidelity reproduction done on a special large format printer. Giclees were originally developed as a proofing system for lithograph printing presses, and they evolved into the new darlings of the art world. They are coveted by collectors for their fidelity and quality. - More at: the Cholla giclée prints page

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