Cholla, The Magical Painting Horse From Reno

Is there a better painting horse in all of Reno? I SAY NEIGH

GateHouse — Horses, if we’re being honest, are terrible at most things. They can’t kick a field goal, they can’t drive a tractor and they are completely useless when you ask them for help with your iPhone. Just try to get one to run an errand for you: Once I sent a horse to Target for bread, milk and paper towels — three super-easy, really basic things, right? — and six weeks later the idiot came back, and what did he have on his back? Yeah, that’s right: Hay. Three bales of hay. Well to be fair, he also had bread and milk, but it had been so long that by the time Mr. Snuffles returned, I’d had bought my own like two weeks before anyway.

Yet I received word this week that though they still can’t help me decide what to do with my 401(k), horses are getting better at one thing: art. There is a horse in Reno, Nev. — I don’t know why, but the geography is very pleasing to me — named Cholla who is a painter. He is a painter who is described in a news story of having “the fire of Pollock” or “the fixed gaze of Resnick,” which would be extremely impressive-sounding sound bites if I had the remotest idea who Pollock or Resnick were. Frankly, I’m glad I’ve never met this Resnick. He sounds like one of those creepy fixed-gazers.



Cholla made his international painting debut in 2008, having been invited to exhibit his work at a juried art competition in Italy, and yeah let’s run through that again: A horse was invited to exhibit his art at a competition in Italy, meaning that unless you are in the top 2 percent of Painters In The World, you just got totally owned by a large animal that, very likely, poops in a bag.

Of course Cholla will not be going to Italy, because you cannot put a horse on a plane, unless, of course, he’s in a sealed plastic baggie and weighs less than 3 ounces. Cholla will be at home, munching on dirt or doing whatever horses do, while his owners, or the people who are getting loaded off of horse art, go to Italy and do all the things he should be doing himself, like watching difficult art films, wearing a silly-looking beret and visiting George Clooney’s place.

Cholla’s painting “The Big Red Buck” went on display at the Third International Art Prize Arte Laguna, in Mogliano Veneto, Italy. “We have to admit that we did not expect the application of a horse,” Arte Laguna spokeswoman Cristina Del Favero said in a news story, adding that their animal paintings usually come from totally awesome donkeys.

How is Cholla’s art, you might ask? That you can check out yourself by going to the Web site — I swear on Cholla’s gluey ancestors than this URL is not made up —


Related, sort of

Art painted by dogs: Indulgent, sententious and smells like kibbles


Perhaps a reader with more refined tastes can tell me how Cholla scores on the impressive-art meter, because to me it looks like what would happen if you jammed a paintbrush into a horse’s mouth and left for three weeks, but whatever. I think I’m just jealous because I have a son who can blow this thing out of the water. When he draws a bus, it looks like a bus, is what I’m saying, although it also sort of looks like a rocket and also sort of looks like a sponge — but I don’t think he’s getting invited to Italy anytime soon. Unless it’s by Clooney.


About Jeff Vrabel

My writing has appeared in GQ, Men’s Health, Success, the Washington Post, the official, Indianapolis Monthly, Billboard, Modern Bride and more. View all posts by Jeff Vrabel

5 responses to “Cholla, The Magical Painting Horse From Reno

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