Watch CBS News

Meet Pigcasso — the pig who was saved from a slaughterhouse and became a world famous painter

Step aside, Pablo. At just under 3-years-old and 1,000 pounds, Pigcasso the pig is conquering the art world. Her paintings sell for thousands of dollars — and now she even has a collaboration with watchmaker Swatch. 

Pigcasso was rescued in 2016 from an industrialized hog farming facility and now lives at Farm Sanctuary SA just outside Cape Town, South Africa. According to her owner and the sanctuary's founder, Joanne Lefson, painting came naturally to Pigcasso. Soon after she was rescued, Lefson gave Pigcasso some items to play with and she immediately gravitated toward the paint brushes.

"For some reason she took a knack to the paintbrushes and it wasn't long before she was dancing the brush across the canvas and selling artworks all over the world," Lefson told CBS News.  

Pigcasso uses a tailor-made brush and child-friendly, non-toxic paint to make her abstract expressionist masterpieces. She signs the corner of each of her complete paintings with the tip of her snout, using a mixture of beetroot and acrylic ink. When she's not painting, Pigcasso loves to snack on her favorite food: caramel popcorn.

View this post on Instagram

RAINBOW NATION 3 is almost complete. Strike the pose! OINK!

A post shared by Pigcasso (@pigcassohoghero) on

Pigcasso sells her artwork to benefit the sanctuary. In 2018, she became the first animal to host her own exhibition, "OINK," at The Waterfront in Cape Town, and she also sells her pieces online and through a gallery at the sanctuary. Her masterpieces typically sell between $500 and $4,000. And she's bringing home the bacon — Pigcasso's artwork has brought in close to $145,000 for the sanctuary.

The mission of Farm Sanctuary SA is to inspire compassion for farm animals. According to Lefson, the sanctuary uses the money from Pigcasso's works to rescue more farm animals and "educate the general public on the atrocities of today's factory farming practices that don't just harm animals but also ones health and environment."

This month, Pigcasso launched a collaboration with Swatch featuring her brush strokes to celebrate the Chinese Year of the Pig. Lefson said Swatch contacted Pigcasso following her popular "OINK" exhibition. "They gave guidelines on the colors and general style, Pigcasso did the rest!" she said. All proceeds from the sale of the limited edition watches will go to the sanctuary.

"I am so proud of Pigcasso," Lefson said. "From pork chop to global Swatch designer, it's just another reason to see pigs as the smart creative divas that they are — and to eat less bacon and to go shopping instead!"

View CBS News In
CBS News App Open
Chrome Safari Continue
Be the first to know
Get browser notifications for breaking news, live events, and exclusive reporting.