Eat your heart out, Francis Bacon - Pigcasso oinks a timely deal


Eat your heart out, Francis Bacon - Pigcasso oinks a timely deal

SA's painting porker is the first non-human to be commissioned by Swatch

Senior reporter

Pigs can’t fly.
But Swiss watch giant Swatch is hoping that its latest timepiece, produced by possibly the only painting pig in SA and the world, will fly off the shelves.
Swatch, which has for months kept the finer details of Pigcasso the painting porker’s designs top secret, released “Flying Pig by Ms Pigcasso” to the world on Tuesday.
The release of the porcine artist’s range coincided with the Chinese lunar new year, which in 2019 pays homage to the pig, one of the 12 signs of the Chinese zodiac and believed to be a symbol of optimism, enthusiasm and hard work.
“Pigs can’t fly, but Pigcasso sure can paint! Swatch has teamed with the world’s most talented (and most likely the only) painting pig for a new art special,” Swatch said.
Flying Pig by Ms Pigcasso is characterised by “strong, abstract strokes, and boasts a vivid green and blue band, and the splash of piggy pink on its unique dial will have fans – both human and be-snouted – squealing with joy,” it said.
The watch comes with a certificate of authenticity and has a limited release of just more than 2,000 pieces.
The 750kg abstract expressionist is the first non-human commissioned by Swatch.
Pigcasso, now two-and-a-half years old, has earned more than R1m for her owner, Joanne Lefson, who ploughs the proceeds from the paintings into her Franschhoek Farm Sanctuary, an organisation that rescues livestock and raises awareness of farm animal abuse.
“I’m so proud of Pigcasso becoming the first African – and the first non-human – to design a Swatch watch. It’s just another reason to eat less bacon and go shopping,” said Lefson.
She saved Pigcasso from becoming sandwich filling when the pig was six months old. Since then, Pigcasso – who displayed talent from the outset when she chose a paintbrush instead of a ball as a toy – has generated several works that have been sold to collectors locally and abroad.
Swatch learnt about Pigcasso after following her debut exhibition, Oink, at the V&A Waterfront in 2018.
Lefson and Pigcasso were given clear guidelines for the design, including the colour and theme.
Lefson said a clause in the contract prevented her from revealing the value of the deal.
“All I can say is that the proceeds will benefit Farm Sanctuary SA, so we can help more farm animals living a really bad existence.”
Pigcasso has a life most pigs would envy: she paints in the early morning and in the evening, and sleeps and snacks in between.
Pigcasso’s most expensive painting to date is her Life is Beautiful piece, which was sold to a German buyer in January for R42,000.
But she is no stranger to the limelight, having helped in a Nissan campaign to celebrate the 60th anniversary of its Skyline model.
The Japanese car maker used the random twists, curves and bends in one of Pigcasso’s creations to lay out a complex track in a giant parking lot, then challenged German racing driver Michael Krumm to tackle it in the car, which boasts an innovative steering system.

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