Meet unique artist bear makes debut at Finnish gallery

Meet unique artist bear makes debut at Finnish gallery

Helsinki, Finland (Reuters): Usually artists like to attend the opening of their exhibitions but the painter of the works that went on exhibit at a gallery on Tuesday preferred to carry on hibernating.

The artist behind the exhibition entitled "Strong and soft touches" is a 423-kilogram (930 pound) brown bear named Juuso who uses his body, especially his paws, as paintbrushes.

 Pasi Jantti said, "We just leave paint for him, some plywood and paper ... If we ask him to do it, he doesn't do anything. He does all the work in his own time, when he's alone, sitting and moving his legs on the paper."

The keeper said, Juuso – 17 favours blue and red, adding that the paints used posed no health risk to the bear.

His keepers told, Juuso's artistic bent one day while painting some facilities at Kuusamo animal center in northern Finland where he has been living since being orphaned as a cub.

Jantti said, "Juuso got some paint in his paws and started to make marks with them. We noticed that he liked it."

The center raised about 8,000 euros ($8,500) by selling 15 paintings produced by Juuso. The exhibition now opening at the Rupla gallery in Helsinki features 11 pieces of original work and some prints and are priced from 50 to 4,000 euros.

Some of the paintings still feature bits of Juuso's fur. Funds raised from the exhibition will be used to make a documentary about bears.