FORT PIERCE, Fla. — There are some unlikely artists in St. Lucie County getting in on a growing trend of digital art, selling online for big money.
These artists are the primal kind -- chimpanzees at Save the Chimps -- making art that will raise money to maintain their sanctuary.
From living in cages, subjected to medical testing and experiments, to now living in an open sanctuary, 224 chimps call Save the Chimps their home.
"They are beautiful. They're amazing," Ana Paula Tavares, CEO of Save the Chimps, said.
Tavares is tasked with giving the chimps the closest experience she can to living in the wild.
"In the wild, they have a lot of stimulation," Tavares said.
But at the sanctuary, that stimulation comes from a variety of enrichment activities. Three chimps have taken a liking to painting.
"We know that Cheetah and Tootie and Clay are especially great artists and love spending their time painting," Tavares said.
Now, their pieces of art are going on sale in a digital format called NFTs, or non-fungible tokens, meaning they are unique and cannot be replaced. For example, Twitter's CEO sold his first tweet as an NFT for seven figures. NFTs can also be digital art, music or memes.
Digital prints of the paintings will be sold to the public as NFTs beginning on World Chimpanzee Day, July 14, and will remain for sale through July 21. All proceeds directly support Save the Chimps. The works will be the first-ever chimpanzee-created NFTs on the market by curator, Trusey, and can be found here.
"They've done a lot for us in many ways. It's payback time," Tavares said.
The money raised for selling the NFTs will go right back to help them, like paying for their thousands of pounds of food, maintaining their home and helping them continue to live a life filled with color.
"Watching them paint, just it's one demonstration of them being OK and getting a chance to just relax and be whoever they want to be," Tavares said.
Learn more about supporting Save the Chimps here.