By Federico Cornetto
A dog owner claims that her gifted pooch has made over $300 by holding the ‘first canine art installation’ ever.
In November 2019, Ivy, a seven-year-old Australian Shepherd from Charlotte, North Carolina, presented a series of her original abstract paintings at the AC Hotel Charlotte City Center.
According to owner and retired nurse Lisa Kite, 56, approximately 30 people including photographers and bloggers attended the event and were able to witness Ivy showing off her incredible painting skills live.
Alongside her live show, 19 of Ivy’s paintings were displayed at the gallery, with the proceedings being donated to the Humane Society of Charlotte.
Lisa said: “We believe this was the first canine art installation ever.
“Since then, we’ve been contacted about a possible second installation in Asheville, North Carolina, but no details have been finalised.”
Lisa explained that she taught Ivy how to paint when the dog was three-years-old, using a tabletop easel and a wooden handle to help her hold the brush with her mouth.
Lisa said: “Australian Shepherds are very active dogs, so I started out clicker-training her to do tricks.
“When she does what I’m asking her to do, I click and give her a treat.
“A friend asked if I thought I could teach her how to paint, and I thought, why not?
“After getting a tabletop easel, I asked my husband to craft a handle so that Ivy could hold the brush with her mouth.
“I then asked Ivy to hold it until I clicked, getting her to hold it for long times was the trick.
“I then presented the paper and she knew to touch the paper with the brush.
“Finally, I combined all the steps and added paint.”
According to Lisa, Ivy’s paintings quickly progressed to canvas and acrylic, while her favourite colours are blue and purple.
Incredibly, Ivy has completed over 300 paintings, many of which went up for sale.
The most expensive painting was sold for $500.
Lisa said: “People started asking to buy Ivy’s paintings and I decided it would be cool for her to donate the money to help animals, so the profits benefit animal welfare charities in general.
“We recently sold a painting to help the koalas in Australia.
“We also have donated to children’s classrooms studying art and to cancer research.
“The prices normally range from $35 to $225, as I want to keep the paintings accessible to anyone that wants one.
“We feel really lucky to have a lot of requests for commissions and to be able to help people celebrate birthdays or Valentine’s day or Christmas.”