OKC Zoo Orangutan creating digital art for the endangered creatures of the world

OKLAHOMA CITY — It all started when the design team, Becky Scheel and Mathieu Kuhne of Megafauna Studios reached out to the OKC Zoo with an artistic proposal.

Scheel and Kuhne wanted to see if the zoo’s resident 21-year-old Sumatran orangutan, Elok could become a digital painter. Orangutans are listed as critically endangered in the wild.

Elok was a natural with a 2-foot digital brush and a 3x4 foot screen outside his indoor habitat. He moved the digital brush, and a motion detector made from a modified Xbox captured the brush’s movement projecting the artwork onto the digital screen.

“Each of Elok’s creations from the movement and balance to the composition is entirely him. He voluntarily participated in these enrichment sessions, receiving his favorite snacks from his caretakers making it a rewarding experience, eliciting positive behavior from Elok,” said Kuhne.

Elok’s compositions are available for purchase. All the proceeds will go to the conservation of orangutans and other endangered species in the wild.