Koko learned to paint by expressing her thoughts and feelings with colors and shapes.  She painted what she felt inside, like “Love.”  And she painted what she saw around her, like “Bird.”  What made Koko’s art so special was that she expressed how she felt about what she saw.  Her paintbrush set her mind free.

“Love” by Koko

“Bird” by Koko — a painting she named for the bird who visited her (right)

The Bluejay in this painting lived at the sanctuary with Koko and her friends.  He was rescued as a baby when he fell from his nest in a storm.  Koko’s caregivers raised and cared for him and he flew freely about, hitching rides on Koko’s back. (Look carefully at the photo!)

And because the little bird opened up so wide to eat, she named him “Tongue.” Koko had a knack for names!  

In the above painting, Koko captured what she saw — a bright Bluejay.  Blond-haired Penny was close by, so Koko added a brush of warm yellow.  Then Koko painted how she felt with splashes of bright red as if to say,  “Penny and my friend Tongue make my heart happy!”


Koko paints something red — but doesn’t like it.

In this section, we’ll learn how gorillas Koko and Michael expressed their feelings through art. We’ll let them inspire us to express our own feelings, and communicate through art with our friends.


Following is a slideshow displaying some of Koko and Michael’s finest paintings:


Gorilla Art GALLERY

• Learn to Paint like Koko (and Michael), one painting at a time

• Online Video Kids4Koko Art Shows (and Prizes)


In the meantime, learn to Sign Like Koko