Get to know Cholla
Cholla was born in Nevada in 1985, and died in 2014. He was a mustang-quarter horse mix, 15.2 hands and 1200 lbs., a copper buckskin with black mane and tail complete with a dorsal stripe down his back, his legs have horizontal zebra like stripes. He has been... an artist, holding a true artist brush in his teeth and painting at his easel. His talent for painting was discovered by chance, and he looked to enjoy it. And he's genuine. He did not repeat gestures, he did not copy any other artist, he was not taught to paint.
You can see it in videos. The only way he was helped is in reaching the brush, then he held it in his mouth independently. Only Cholla applied paint to his creations, and no one moved or rotated the paper or easel. And that's it. Call it action painting or instinct, the result is something which, innsome cases, human artists may take a whole life to achieve.
No doubt horses are extraordinary animals. Renee Chambers has always believed in her "baby", whose intelligence may somehow touch creativity. Researchers are wondering how conscious he was of painting. People love his watercolors.
Cholla by no means is someone who may open a door over the unknown, shall we look at his paintings with respect.
His paintings have been displayed and sold internationally, he has had art shows in 5 US states, and also in Europe.
In the words of his owner Renee Chambers:
No one moved or rotated the paper or easel. I did put the watercolor paints on the brush for him as he tended to knock things over. He decided where the colors had to go. Cholla started painting in 2004 and his art is now recognized worldwide.
Cholla gives us a different way to look at art. Art is an expression of intelligence. Cholla is highly intelligent. Why shouldn't he have been offered the same gift of creating art?
I purchased Cholla just before his fifth birthday, the first and only horse I have ever owned. Cholla followed me instantly, it was love at first sight! I learned that he was proud cut, and was broke the old fashioned way, with ropes and force, a method called “sacking out”. This is where the cowboys halter the horse, then tie ropes on each limb, trip the horse to the ground and tie him off so he his fully restrained. The horse fights till completely traumatized and exhausted. At that point the cowboys rub 10 lb sacks of flour up and down the horse’s body. This is supposed to make the horse submissive towards man, it will work with many horses, but it didn’t work for him, it only taught him not to trust man and his ropes. His intelligence was much greater then their exhausting attempts to manipulate his mind. He then got deep scars on his hind legs at the fetlocks from their cruelty. It has taken years for me to fully gain his trust, and he was still quite the wild thing with a mind of his own.
It was my husband, Robert, who gave me the idea to have Cholla try to paint. I would paint the corral fences each year, and Cholla would follow every step of the way and watch with great curiosity. I am not an artist of the paint, but I am an artist of the Ballet. I chose non toxic Winsor & Newton water colors, and on April 29, 2004, I tacked a piece of water color paper to the fence and stroked the artist’s brush across the paper. Cholla has always loved to hold things in his mouth, so I held the brush out to him, he took it in his teeth and stroked the paper. I got him a big sturdy easel and Cholla made the transition to the easel without hesitation.. and was not forced at all. There is no sugar on the brush (he did not lick it). It was.. his way