FILE PHOTO: Pigcasso, a rescued pig, paints on a canvas at the Farm Sanctuary in Franschhoek
FRANSCHHOEK, South Africa (Reuters) - Step aside Francis Bacon.
Brandishing a paintbrush in her snout, Pigcasso enthusiastically tosses her head to create bright, bold strokes across a canvas propped up in her sty.
The sow was rescued from an abattoir as a piglet and brought to an animal sanctuary in Franschhoek, in South Africa's Western Cape region in 2016, where her new owners noticed her love of color and paint brushes.
"Pigs are very smart animals and so when I brought Pigcasso here to the barn, I thought how do I keep her entertained?" said Joanne Lefson, who runs Farm Sanctuary SA.
"We threw in some soccer balls, rugby balls and of course there were some paintbrushes lying around because the barn was newly build ... She basically ate or destroyed everything except these paintbrushes ... she loved them so much," Lefson added.
Soon the pig was dipping the brushes into pots of paint and making her mark. Her paintings can sell for almost $4,000, with the proceeds going to animal welfare. She has even had one of her artworks turned into a watch face for Swiss watchmaker Swatch.
Swatch announced a collaboration with the pig last month.
The limited edition "Flying Pig by Ms. Pigcasso" features green, blue and pink brush strokes and sells for $120.
"Pigcasso is definitely an abstract expressionist, you can't exactly define what she's painting but I can tell you that her style slightly changes depending on her mood like any great artist," said Lefson.
(Reporting by Reuters Television; Writing by Alexandra Hudson; Editing by Alison Williams)