Monday, 4 October 2010

Monkey - SamSam

Back when I was at Art College in the late 80s, I used to visit Edinburgh Zoo a lot to draw the animals. Specifically I wanted to draw the apes and the ape I ended up drawing the most was the alpha male Lowland Gorilla called SamSam. He was pretty laid back, sedentary, a bit overweight, so he would sit for hours while I drew his portrait. Though I was careful to avoid eye contact with him as that constitutes aggressive behavior for a Gorilla. I knew my place, he was the boss.
From those drawings I did a number of etchings and finally a 4'x6' painting of SamSam, which is still hanging in my parents house. I think it's my most successful painting.
While doing this drawing ( steel pen only , no pencil ) I Googled SamSam to find out what had happened to him. There's a thing called the Gorilla Studbook, which gives details of each of these animals lives.
I wasn't expecting to be quite so sad out this.


  1. Wow - thanks for the rendering but also the moment of reflection for mighty SamSam.

  2. Cause of death un-reported eh?
    He looks boss!

  3. Very nice. I followed your link and was expecting some full-on monkey sadness. Thats' not too bad-- he had a full life, for a gorilla, I think.

  4. Well Simon, SamSam may be gone, but your drawing has immortalized him for the future generations of super-intellegent Gorillas who will one day overtake our planet.