A creative raven has the art world in a flap after producing a stunning range of experimental paintings – with her beak.
Eleven-year-old Odin uses an array of vivid animal-safe paints and food colourings to make her amazing abstract works, which are flying off the shelves for up to £15.
Keepers at the Tropical Butterfly House Wildlife Conservation Park in Sheffield, South Yorkshire, said they first gave the captive bird an easel around eight years ago.
And after introducing her to different tools over the course of a year, she was then able to use a brush to create her incredible works – which often mimic those of great American artist Jackson Pollock, whose pieces sell for millions.
Keeper Milly Fox, 25, said the ‘charismatic’ bird loved giving the canvas ‘a good splatter’ and had an ‘aggressive’ approach to producing her unique paintings.
Odin, an 11-year-old raven, uses her beak to daub bright animal-safe paints onto canvases – which she does in a somewhat ‘aggressive’ manner, according to her keepers
Paul Jackson Pollock (pictured) was a painter and major figure in the abstract expressionist movement – and his works look a lot like Odin’s
She said: ‘Odin very much just gives the canvas a good whack with the paintbrush. She likes a good splatter.
‘Very occasionally, she’ll just run the brush down the canvass. But she’s quite aggressive.
‘She’s definitely one of the most intelligent animals that we’ve got in the park.
‘She’s smarter than us a lot of the time with the way she thinks about things and solves the enrichment puzzles we set her.’
Odin, who was born in captivity at the Tropical Butterfly House Wildlife Conservation Park, was introduced to the creative process by her keepers from the age of three.
And it didn’t take long for her to put brush to canvas and start producing incredible works of art.
1. Was this splash of colour created by Raven or Pollock?
2. This green, black and white piece certainly catches the eye – who painted it?
Milly said: ‘It took her less than a year because she’s really, really smart. But it would have been a slow process to begin with.
‘As far as I know, with them picking up and painting with the brush, she’s the only bird that’s been able to do that.
‘We do a few little things where the lemmas run across a canvas and the macaws have done a few, but not to the level of skill that Odin does.
‘Also, she does it on purpose, rather than us encouraging her to walk across the canvas.’
Milly said Odin’s most prolific period was before the Covid pandemic when she had completed several works that were snapped up by the general public.
3. Was this masterpiece the work of bird or man?
4. Was it a hand or a beak that created this piece of art?
But she said the avant-garde Raven, who once shared an enclosure with a vulture, was also a talented mimic who could reproduce the sounds of kids’ screams.
Milly said: ‘She has got a very big personality. She’s a really charismatic bird. She copies noises that she hears. Her favourite one is the sound of screaming children.
REVEALED: Who, or what, painter was behind the artworks
1. By Odin (the raven)
2. By Jackson Pollock (the man)
3. By Odin
4. By Pollock
‘Her highest turnover period was a few years ago. But with Covid and bird flu, she does fewer these days. We still do a few with her. It keeps her mind going.
‘At the moment she is on her own, but in the past, she lived with a white-backed vulture. He’s since moved on to different collections. She lives by herself.’
Milly said Odin’s intelligence had shone through in the enrichment puzzles that her keepers had set her – and said many people were shocked by her abilities.
She went on: ‘If we give her something where she has to move little sliders to get the mealworms out, she’ll put it in her water bowl so they’ll all float to the top.
‘People are often very surprised by her work.
‘When we explain that she picks up the brush and gets out the paint and throws it against the canvas, they’re normally quite impressed.’
Studies have shown that ravens, which are part of the Corvidae family, have cognitive skills rivalling the great apes at full maturity.
And other studies suggest that they may have similar problem-solving capabilities to that of a child under seven years old.
The sales from Odin’s works are donated to conservation fundraising projects.
Keeper Milly Fox, 25, said: ‘Odin very much just gives the canvas a good whack with the paintbrush. She likes a good splatter’
Odin, who has been painting for years, is seen ready to create as she covers her brush in red paint