KOFFMAN GALLERY – Art with a Smile
Dan Koffman
Koffman Gallery
260 Saylor Road
Camano Island, WA 98282
360-387-3024, or dan@koffman.net
April 22, 2004

A Man and an Elephant Painted for Peace and Freedom in Monterey on April 17, 2004

In a world that too often seems to have forgotten what kindness and respect are all about artist Dan Koffman wanted to do something really big to make people stop and think. How big? Well . . . as big as an elephant!

And that’s just what happened in downtown Monterey on April 17 when over 2000 people watched Koffman and a gentle, intelligent 17-year-old African elephant named Lisa paint jumbo canvases that depict their hopes for a world filled with peace and freedom.

“It’s not only animals that are endangered,” says Koffman. “Kindness and respect have become endangered, too.”

But why an elephant?

“You just can’t ignore an elephant,” says Koffman who first met Lisa several years ago and hasn’t been able to stop thinking about her – or the plight of elephants. “And since the plight of elephants mirrors the plight of every animal and being on our planet . . . how could there possibly be a better ‘spokescreature’ than an elephant?” he adds.

When Koffman discovered that Lisa was an artist, too, he knew that, together, they could deliver a message that couldn’t be ignored.

“Lisa and I paint together to demonstrate how humans and animals can work cooperatively towards a common goal, achieving deeper respect and understanding. Just imagine,” he adds, “if people would start to put aside their differences and do the same.”

The man and the elephant have collaborated artistically for some time, creating over 20 paintings with names such as Kilamanjaro and Hot Trumpet. In a unique inter-species collaboration, Koffman first paints the canvases with soft colors, then Lisa adds her bold strokes, creating a composition of contrasts – soft and bold, human and elephant.

On April 17th, Koffman and Lisa painted publicly together for the first time to celebrate the opening of The “LisaKoff” Collection at Koffman Gallery in downtown Monterey.

Koffman set the stage with his artistic depictions of grasses and mud wallows and skies. He then handed the brush to Lisa who added bold strokes of grey and ivory accented by vivid red and finally soft peach. “The red,” says Koffman, “warns of danger in our world.” And the peach? “Ah, the peach is for hope and optimism . . . because Lisa and I believe it’s not too late to make this a better world . . . for man and elephant.”

All proceeds from the sale of the “LisaKoff” original paintings and limited edition prints benefit E.A.R.S. (Elephants of Africa Rescue Society), a 501(C)3 non-profit which supports the good work of people working on behalf of elephants.

This very odd couple has a deep connection going back to 1987, the year of Lisa’s birth in Africa and the year Koffman founded his international peace effort, The Flag of Peace and Freedom. Their story is chronicled in Koffman’s book, The Man and the Elephant, which was introduced at the event and given free with every $10 donation to E.A.R.S. Also on exhibit for the first time was Koffman’s “Elephants with a Smile” Collection.

Koffman believes that animals like Lisa provide an opportunity for people to be exposed to the majesty and beauty of creatures from other lands, increasing our understanding of the challenges facing wild animals and what we can do to help them. “I wanted to introduce Lisa to many new friends and help her expand the foundation of understanding and cooperation between humans and animals,” Koffman says.

Lisa lives at Wild Things in Salinas where owner Charlie Sammut is dedicated to ensuring that animals in captivity (and most especially elephants) are treated with the highest respect and regard.

“Lisa is an unmistakable reminder that we live in a world worth saving – for humans and elephants!” says Koffman.

The “LisaKoff” and “Elephants with a Smile” Collections are on permanent exhibit at Koffman Gallery.

Trunks up!

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