Art Work

Utah’s Hogle Zoo is working to help save the critically endangered orangutan.  Due to deforestation and destruction of their natural habitat, orangutans are rapidly disappearing from the wild.  In an effort to help preserves their native forests, the Zoo has initiated an art project to help raise money for this cause.  We are calling this project:  ORANGE UTAHN ARTOrangutans Helping Orangutans.”

RECEPTION AND SILENT AUCTION was held October 15, 2011 in the Zoo’s Auditorium.

You can make a difference by purchasing one of the pieces created for this show.  All proceeds from the sale of these pieces will go directly to helping preserve the natural habitat of the wild orangutan.

Click through the images below to find a one-of-a-kind piece of original artwork created by the Zoo’s orangutans and ten local artists.  You can purchase any of the unsold piece by calling (801) 584-1767. 

Collaborative Pieces

Shannon Anderson Holly Johnson
David Costa Rowland Hall 1st Grade
Eddy Del Rio Ron Russon
David Habben
Lindsey Sine
John Jelte Carol Sogard

Orangutan Pieces

Acara Eve Elijah


Born here at Utah’s Hogle Zoo in 2005 to Elijah and Eve, Acara inherited some of her talent for art from her parents.  She has been the most consistent and reliable orangutan in her desire to paint when asked to, and rarely turns down an opportunity to create a masterpiece.  Still learning her craft, she has been an intent observer of the techniques our human guest artists have used, and has then used these techniques in her own work.  She seems to be the most versatile in using different materials as well as different styles and can be counted on to deliver a finished piece in mere moments.  We are very interested to watch her artwork develop as she grows up.

Click on thumbnails to view larger images of Acara’s work




Eve was born in 1990, and is the mother of Acara.  Eve has been working in non-toxic chalks, crayons, and acrylics for several years, and when the mood strikes, will destroy all of the materials she is working with.  Her sessions normally begin with some well-placed brush strokes, but then as her intensity builds, a frenzy of arm movements move paint everywhere across her canvas.  Many paintbrushes do not survive a single session with Eve, and a signature occasional rip in the canvas may also be noticed in her finished pieces.  Watching Eve paint is always eventful.

Click on thumbnails to view larger images of Eve’s work




Elijah was born in 1990, and is the father of Acara.  A seasoned artist, Elijah has been dabbling in the painting scene for some time, but became quickly and easily discouraged when his fingers alone could not accomplish the style he desired.  Through the ingenious design of a special paintbrush by a sympathetic keeper, Elijah has re-discovered his artwork, from choosing the colors he will work with to using both his mouth and his hands to manipulate his custom brush.  He is also the unofficial “paint tester”, often indulging in a quick taste of the color he will work with in order to gain inspiration for the piece he is working on.

Click on thumbnails to view larger images of Eli’s work




My name is Shannon Anderson. I have been a volunteer in the Utah’s Hogle Zoo primate department for three years. When I heard that the ORANGe-UTAhN Art Show was returning this year, I wanted to get involved. I have been quilting for eight years and thought fabric might be an interesting art medium to add to the show. Plus it gives me the opportunity to combine two things I love, wildlife conservation and quilting.

Click on thumbnails to view larger images of Shannon Anderson’s collaborative quilt pieces.




Painting with the orangutans has been a great pleasure for me. Acara, Elijah and Eve have enriched my experience as an artist. The time we’ve spent painting together will always be a fond memory. I am glad to participate in this effort to help maintain orangutan habitat. My deep appreciation goes out to everyone involved, especially the staff at Hogle Zoo who have organized this effort toward conservation. I thank them for making my contribution possible.

My name is David Costa, I am twenty three and have lived in Utah all my life. I am the second in a family of four children, each with their individual talent. My Brazilian parents, Francisco and Marise, have been a flowing source of encouragement and motivation for us, and I thank them for their abiding support. Their tradition is beautiful and enlivening; I like to think I’ve been en-cultured with the distinct spirit of adventure, wonder, and joy I associate with Brazil.

Over the years I’ve followed my creative instinct, exploring the realms of art, literature and music since I can remember. Currently, I’m continuing my studies in order to teach at a university. I intend to serve as a catalyst for creativity, supporting those with artistic ambitions, nurturing their creative potential–to offer kindling for talents which I’ve found, so often, lie dormant. My job has also been helpful in this process. I am employed at Utrecht Art Supply and have gained invaluable knowledge about the process of creating art, the countless methods of engagement, and modes for expression.

This particular body of work is meant to function as a sort of introduction to these orangutans, each with his and her individuality, which I am eager to present to you. I hope I have been able to offer some glimpse into the personalities and nature of these magnificent creatures. To represent the beauty in them, I feel, is something I can only grasp at.

Click on thumbnails to view larger images of David Costa’s collaborative pieces.




I am a free-lance self employed artist, I cannot possibly describe the OMG satisfaction I find in creating a beautiful piece of art. Ever since my birth in San Louis Obispo, CA, enjoying my favorite Gerber meal of green beans fed to me by my mother out of a tiny glass jar I was scrawling pictures with green goo on the adjacent wall-illustration and painting were absolutely inherent. I know that with each piece of art that I put out into the world, I have made this life a more memorable place to have been.

I have spent many years in Salt Lake City, Utah in and out of formal schooling studying various mediums, my most immediate purpose in portraiture; a desire to create family heirlooms the way that they were created before photography, with oil paint. I work in the Old Masters style, working from lean to fat, layering glaze upon glaze to create a life effect that refracts light.

If a painting of mine could speak it would surely say “I have been forged from passion, study, and insight” – every time. My mantra is “know thy subject”.

All of my current projects are part of a larger career development plan for graphic children’s novels, surreal landscapes of southern Utah, more family heirlooms, and perhaps a few as yet uncharted adventures.

Click on thumbnails to view larger images of Eddy Del Rio’s collaborative piece.




Born in Oregon, raised in Idaho, and educated in Utah, David Habben has enjoyed the adventure of living and learning in new environments. Traveling as far away as Melbourne, Australia as a missionary and spending time working with companies on both American coasts has given him a chance to see and appreciate some of the wonderful people and cultures of the world. He is skilled in the use of traditional and digital media, creating illustrations for a wide variety of uses. His projects include editiorial and children’s book illustration, apparel design, storyboards, advertisment, logo design, and interactive design.

David’s personal works of art are symbolic in nature and often address issues that all individuals confront as we strive to apply eternal gospel principles and maintain the spirit in our mortal lives.  Some of his recent works tell the stories of the restoration through visual expressions which engage the viewer through compelling symbols, compositions, and contemporary media.

Click on thumbnails to view larger images of David Habben’s collaborative pieces.




I began having a serious interest in photography while serving in the Army. Stationed in a small town near the Czech border, my photos of tourist attractions caught the eye of a local merchant who bought several to make postcards for his shop. I was hooked.

Upon my return to Utah, I began a formal education in photography at the University of Utah. I worked as a photographer at the Chronicle and later served as Photo Editor for two years. I also began working as a “Stringer” for UPI doing part-time photography at the Jazz games as well as any national news generated in Utah. I opened a commercial studio on Peirpont Avenue with Magic Mill and American Oil (Evanston, WY) as my two principle clients during this time period as well.

In 1987 I took a job with the Arizona Historical Society at their museum in Flagstaff, Arizona. I did photography for their magazine as well as photos of historical artifacts. While in Flagstaff, I met Phillipe Petit, who was preparing for a wire walk over a section of the Grand Canyon, and worked with him for four months while the cable was being installed.

Just prior to the end of the Soviet Union, myself and three other photographers organized a trip to Russia and the Ukraine for the 150th anniversary of photography. Several of us were published in a special edition of A Day in the Life.

In April of last year, one of my twin daughters began working at Hogle Zoo. I found myself staying at the zoo photographing the animals on the days she worked. I now spend a pleasurable twenty to thirty hours a week photographing the zoo as well as the World of Flight Bird Show.

Click on thumbnails to view larger images of John Jelte’s collaborative piece.




This project gave me new insight regarding the relationship of orangutans and their native environment. But the trees where they spend 90% of each day are threatened by deforestation, which is then endangering their population. I wanted this art collaboration to emphasize the relationship between orangutans and the trees that are their homes and playgrounds.

The individual times I spent with Eli, Eve and Acara were extraordinary. I felt an instant connection with each orangutan as I studied their behavior and they studied mine. We communicated and played using body gestures, eye contact, and sounds of verbal encouragement and praise. Of course the bowls of sweet fruit were the most rewarding for them.

Acara is a natural artist. I introduced her to wood boards and papyrus to be used as media on which to paint. She immediately responded to feel and smell of the wood board as she held it between her hands and brought it to her face for closer examination. With the papyrus, she ran the tip of her index finger across the surface following the woven texture. Acara was presented with paint on a brush, she responded to the way it moved across the surface of the papyrus texture by making long strokes. I intended for her to paint individual colors but she seemed to be engrossed with mixing the colors and saturating an area with paint. She became the art director and I the collaborator.

After observing and photographing Eli, Eve and Acara, I became especially connected to one photo of Eli in repose, draping his large 288 lb. body on a tree limb, one arm raised, and holding onto a branch with his immense hand. It was poetic how his long cinnabar hair cascaded over the tree. This photo represented pure equanimity and inspired me to create a woodcut used in the final artwork in this series. This representation of Eli and his forest home is printed over Acara’s paintings on papyrus. “Eli in Repose” is a perfect metaphor for reflecting on the importance of saving orangutans from extinction and preserving their rainforest home.

Holly K. Johnson currently lives in Salt Lake City. An apparel and textile product designer for 17 years, she returned to Utah State University to earn a Master of Fine Art degree. Her career now focuses on art education and creation of artwork that explores global and local issues regarding the environment and consumption. She divides her time between teaching graphic design as an Associate Instructor at the University of Utah, working at the Utah Museum of Fine Art as the Visitor Experience Supervisor and serving on the AIGA Board as Director of Community Impact.


Click on thumbnails to view larger images of Holly Johnson’s collaborative pieces.




In 1969 Ronald D. Russon was born in a rural area outside of Salt Lake City. Raised in a family of five boys in an agrarian area, work was taught and expected. When not working, Russon is often fishing, hiking, or drawing. He attended Utah Valley Community College and took a basic drawing class, and something about it felt right. He was accepted into the Illustration Design program at Brigham Young University and, as he puts it, “didn’t get fired, so I kept going.”

Ron paints in oil employing a loose brush and pallet knife to varied scenes, from a serene resting tractor in a windrowed field of hay to a cacophony of geometric colors creating luminescent bison. Through both abstraction and realism, his art reflects his relationship with nature and his communication with the outdoors.

Click on thumbnails to view larger images of Ron Russon’s collaborative pieces.




Rowland Hall’s 1st grade class worked with the orangutans to create two amazing pieces.

Click on thumbnails to view larger images of Rowland Hall’s 1st Grade collaborative pieces.




Lindsey Sine is a public relations professional who also happens to dabble in various artistic mediums in her spare time. She is a Salt Lake native who, by way of luck and being in the right place at the right time, was able to paint with her favorite orangutan Acara and participate in this amazing fundraising cause.

Click on thumbnails to view larger images of Lindsey Sine’s collaborative pieces.




Since 1999, Associate Professor, Carol Sogard has been teaching Graphic Design in the Department of Art and Art History at the University of Utah. She also is principal of Visual Think Design, creating unique design solutions for a variety of clients inside and outside of Utah.

Carol received her BA from Michigan State University. After working in advertising in Detroit area, it was time to move west to obtain an MFA in Graphic Design at the University of Utah, while snowboarding in her free time. On completion of her MFA, Carol served as creative director for Winterstick Snowboards prior to joining the faculty at the University of Utah.

Her primary research interest relates to sustainable design. Whether working for clients or engaged in research projects, the work she creates addresses the need for more sustainable solutions to design problems. Her work has been exhibited in galleries nationwide; as well as honored and published by the AIGA, Graphic Design USA, How Books, Index Book Barcelona, Print Magazine, Rockport Publishing, Rotovision Publishing, UCDA and the Utah Arts Council.

Click on thumbnails to view larger images of Carol Sogard’s collaborative pieces.


2600 East Sunnyside Avenue | Salt Lake City, Utah 84108 | (801) 584-1700