This video shows Suda the elephant applying paint to paper by himself. However, he is not consciously painting a free-trunk self-portrait from memory. Instead, he is creating the portrait by using a practiced series of brushstrokes that he has previously been taught.
There are two different kinds of elephant art, this learned skilled version, and “true” elephant art; paintings that often command handsome prices of hundreds of dollars each, with one such painting reportedly selling for $25,000.
Non-profit groups such as the AEACP put much of the proceeds generated from elephant paintings back into elephant conservation projects and initiatives.
There are forgeries of elephant art, so buyers have to be very weary of black market elephant art sellers.
True elephants art is abstract, and not a learned skill.
Is it a talent? There is ongoing debate about the cognition of elephants who paint abstract free-trunk paintings and whether or not they truly understand what they are depicting. Many ethologists have witnessed elephants doodling with sticks in the dirt, a possible sign of artistic intelligence.