Shop Mobile More Submit  Join Login
Alex the African Grey by KristynJanelle Alex the African Grey by KristynJanelle
I decided that I needed to go back and redraw Alex the African Grey again, seeing as the documentary about him is due out this September (for the record, I can't wait).

For those of you unfamiliar with Alex, he was an amazing parrot whose name stood for Avian Learning EXperiment (Originally Avian Language Experiment but changed to avoid controversy). Along with primary researcher and founder of the project Irene Pepperberg, Alex forever changed the way people viewed parrot intelligence, proving that it's not always just mimicking, and that these birds are, in fact, capable of intelligence on par with a four to six year old child. Alex was able to count, identify shapes, colors, food, and sizes accurately, and was learning to read letters and understand phonetics as well as addition when he unfortunately passed away unexpectedly at the young age of 31, presumably due to heart conditions that couldn't have been predicted. His final words : You be good. See you tomorrow. I love you.

Here are some links for those who would like to learn more about this amazing bird, and his successors, Griffin and Arthur (aka Wart) :
[link] [link] [link] [link]

And for the record... YES I am a very avid follower of Pepperberg's work, obviously xD

I do commissions! Check out my journal to help me raise money to major in Avian Science : [link]
Add a Comment:
 
:iconscarabscorner:
ScarabsCorner Featured By Owner Sep 11, 2012  Hobbyist Traditional Artist
oh Alex was amazing wasn't he? I have a book on him and have seen the documentary on him.Very smart
Reply
:iconkristynjanelle:
KristynJanelle Featured By Owner Sep 11, 2012  Professional Traditional Artist
Yes. I am very excited because I am getting to do a portrait of him for the foundation to be sold on their website.
Reply
:iconscarabscorner:
ScarabsCorner Featured By Owner Sep 11, 2012  Hobbyist Traditional Artist
congrats!! that's so wonderful!!^~^
Reply
:iconkristynjanelle:
KristynJanelle Featured By Owner Sep 11, 2012  Professional Traditional Artist
Yeah I am excited!
Reply
:iconscarabscorner:
ScarabsCorner Featured By Owner Sep 11, 2012  Hobbyist Traditional Artist
:)
Reply
:iconbewilderedconfused:
bewilderedconfused Featured By Owner Sep 6, 2012  Hobbyist General Artist
This is a wonderful drawing! I also followed Dr. Pepperberg's work and of course, Alex. He was an amazing parrot! I cried when I found out he had died. What a shock for him to go to sleep in seemingly good health and to find out in the morning he had died. There is so much these parrots can learn to do with the right training. It really is fascinating! :sun:
Reply
:iconkristynjanelle:
KristynJanelle Featured By Owner Sep 6, 2012  Professional Traditional Artist
I know, I couldn't stop crying when I read the book... every time ;-;
Reply
:iconmiss-a-sketches:
Miss-A-sketches Featured By Owner Aug 31, 2012  Hobbyist Traditional Artist
What a shame that they lost him. Beautiful bird and your work is awesome as always! :( :D
Reply
:iconkristynjanelle:
KristynJanelle Featured By Owner Aug 31, 2012  Professional Traditional Artist
Thank you!
Reply
:iconmiss-a-sketches:
Miss-A-sketches Featured By Owner Aug 31, 2012  Hobbyist Traditional Artist
My pleasure! :D
Reply
:iconchid0:
chid0 Featured By Owner Aug 29, 2012  Hobbyist
I've been lucky enough to attend one of Irene Pepperbergs lectures when she visited Prague last year, and I was very impressed by her work with Alex, Griffin and Arthur - especially when she described how each of the animals has a distinct personality, and how Alex was able to actually string sounds into words by himself...
Reply
:iconkristynjanelle:
KristynJanelle Featured By Owner Aug 29, 2012  Professional Traditional Artist
How cool! I'd love to meet her some time, I've spoken with her over e-mail a couple times but she hasn't been in my area that I've heard recently.
Reply
:icondragonis-7:
dragonis-7 Featured By Owner Aug 23, 2012
I like him. He looks a little bit naughty. That's a tough project Alex had to deal with. So sad he had to go at such a young age. I feel sorry for him It's nice that you found the time to draw him again.
Reply
:iconkristynjanelle:
KristynJanelle Featured By Owner Aug 23, 2012  Professional Traditional Artist
It was a tough project for him to go through, I am sure. But I believe he enjoyed it. He was a very curious and smart bird, and possibly a bit of a trouble maker. Haha.
Reply
:icondragonis-7:
dragonis-7 Featured By Owner Aug 23, 2012
When I look in his eyes I truly believe he could be a trouble maker, but he looks also like a pretty smart bird. It's almost like I can see his emotions. Like he says to me: I'm going to outsmart you
Reply
:iconkristynjanelle:
KristynJanelle Featured By Owner Aug 23, 2012  Professional Traditional Artist
Mmhmm
Reply
:iconpure-dragon97:
Pure-Dragon97 Featured By Owner Aug 22, 2012  Student General Artist
Oh, I heard about him. He was quite the amazing bird. Something about the way you drew him made him look really smart, just like he was in his life.
Reply
:iconkristynjanelle:
KristynJanelle Featured By Owner Aug 22, 2012  Professional Traditional Artist
Thank you! I think it's his eyes, so I tried to capture them here. They're not just wide and staring like a lot of birds (even though I do think most birds are smart). His eyes were always very relaxed and collected. Like he was just calmly contemplating everything going on around him. He doesn't look like a bird that would get startled or jumpy much. He was too used to humans.
Reply
:iconpure-dragon97:
Pure-Dragon97 Featured By Owner Aug 22, 2012  Student General Artist
I think I see what you mean. :O
Reply
:iconkristynjanelle:
KristynJanelle Featured By Owner Aug 22, 2012  Professional Traditional Artist
I suck at explanation, perhaps? xD
Reply
:iconpure-dragon97:
Pure-Dragon97 Featured By Owner Aug 23, 2012  Student General Artist
Nah, it's just me. x3
Reply
:iconwynnesome:
wynnesome Featured By Owner Aug 20, 2012  Professional Photographer
So much intelligence in the way you painted his face. That's lovely. People who don't know birds and who meet my grey consistently end up appreciating just how much character these birds have, and how engaged they are with awareness of the world around them. They are little people with beaks and wings!
Reply
:iconkristynjanelle:
KristynJanelle Featured By Owner Aug 20, 2012  Professional Traditional Artist
They really are. I always tell my friends that when the human race inevitably wipes itself out, birds WILL take over :lol: Just goes to show I have an interesting sense of humor I guess, haha. But seriously, they are extremely intelligent animals, and unlike chimps and dolphins, which most people acknowledge are intelligent, so many people insist that parrots are just mimicking and don't understand things. The term "bird-brain" still runs strong as an insult... but I digress. I could talk forever about how smart these animals are, heh. Thank you for the comment!
Reply
:iconwynnesome:
wynnesome Featured By Owner Aug 21, 2012  Professional Photographer
Being not a really child-oriented person, I made some interesting observations when I worked in my parents' retail store for a while (wild bird seed/feeders, and garden decor - a fun place!).

I would see small children with their parents, and I began to notice how the children would ask for attention, express their interests and demonstrate their immediate feelings with gestures, pulls, pokes, and a certain number of words and sounds. And I thought, yes, this is exactly how a parrot communicates and interacts with people and places. So when it's said that the parrots, especially the greys, have the intelligence of a 3-5 year old human child, I completely concur, from the point of view of observing both the birds and the children!
Reply
:iconkristynjanelle:
KristynJanelle Featured By Owner Aug 21, 2012  Professional Traditional Artist
Yes exactly! My mom always teases me about my Amazon and says he's my son or child, because I've told her how smart they are. And he really does act like a kid, though possibly a little quirkier!
Reply
:iconwynnesome:
wynnesome Featured By Owner Aug 21, 2012  Professional Photographer
Oh, I have said for some time now, that Henry is as close to having a child as I ever plan to come - and really the care and responsibility are significant!
Reply
:iconkristynjanelle:
KristynJanelle Featured By Owner Aug 21, 2012  Professional Traditional Artist
Yes. They're a life commitment and some people don't seem to get that. I always see and meet people who have birds for a few years and then want to sell them to get their money back because they got bored, or the bird's too loud, or it won't talk... Really, people should have to get a license or something to own parrots the same way you need a falconer's license to own a bird of prey... it would make sense, and it would really stop people from buying them on a careless whim.
Reply
:iconwynnesome:
wynnesome Featured By Owner Aug 22, 2012  Professional Photographer
Any pets, though I think it can be worse with parrots because they have such longer life expectancies. Cute, entertaining, amazing companions, yes, but also needy of lots of attention for the long term, expensive if they get sick, sometimes destructive in mess and chewing on things...

I really do want to adopt a rescue parrot at some point. I can't take them all, but I would love to be a forever home for one of the many birds in need of it.
Reply
:iconkristynjanelle:
KristynJanelle Featured By Owner Aug 22, 2012  Professional Traditional Artist
Yes, it definitely seems to be a particularly harsh world for parrots. I would like to adopt rescue parrots as well. I am currently hoping to adopt two cockatoos. They're not rescue, per say, but they've been rehomed a few times. They've lived with their current owner for eight years, but she is getting a kidney transplant and is forced to part with them. I really hope I can give them a forever home. These poor babies had to move before, and they should have had their forever home with this woman, but fate got in the way. :( I feel bad for her, and for the birds. It's a male sulphur crested and a female rose-breasted. I can't wait to meet them and I hope it all works out.
Reply
(1 Reply)
:iconnyla-cat:
Nyla-Cat Featured By Owner Aug 20, 2012  Hobbyist Digital Artist
Great art work! It's so realistic and I feel you've captured his personality =D
I first heard about this guy in a National Geo article, then bought the book 'Alex and Me' I've been a fan ever since ^___^
A bit that really stuck in my head in the book is when Alex looks in the mirror and asks what colour he is <3 So cute <3
Reply
:iconkristynjanelle:
KristynJanelle Featured By Owner Aug 20, 2012  Professional Traditional Artist
I know! Truly adorable. Alex's witty moments are so cute throught the book, and yet it's a very sad book as well. Really touching. I try to get everyone to read it that I can! Especially when I hear people saying parrots don't understand what they're saying. They have no idea what parrots are capable of!
Reply
:iconnyla-cat:
Nyla-Cat Featured By Owner Aug 20, 2012  Hobbyist Digital Artist
Yes, I think I got teary towards the end of the book, but I can't fully remember because I took it camping and I got really sick on that trip >3< I remember sitting in the car (lol so much for camping) with this massive head ache trying to concentrate on the book rather than feeling sick :XD: Thank god I finished it that day because some unholy flu thing destroyed all chance of logical thought the next day xD
I know what you mean about the need to spread this story!! I tried to get my sis to read it but she’s lazy :I And I forced it on my cousin as a birthday gift xD She hasn’t gotten around to reading it though as she is in her last year of school :no: But she's more ‘sciencey’ than me so I know she's LOVE it =D
Reply
:iconkristynjanelle:
KristynJanelle Featured By Owner Aug 20, 2012  Professional Traditional Artist
Oh god... car reading... never fun! At least for me. I used to try it on road trips and it just made me feel sick/dizzy, not sure why. The combination of the car moving and my eyes following the words I guess. And your flu sounds quite... intense. No logical thoughts?! xD
I try and make my boyfriend read everything, but he's just not the reading type. Sadly. I actually wrote a book and he's too lazy/distracted to read it.
Reply
:iconwildtigerlily:
WildTigerLily Featured By Owner Aug 20, 2012  Hobbyist Photographer
My gma (dad's mom) had one :)
Reply
:iconkristynjanelle:
KristynJanelle Featured By Owner Aug 20, 2012  Professional Traditional Artist
:)
Reply
:iconorchid22:
orchid22 Featured By Owner Aug 20, 2012
Okay so I know Alex he is remarkable! I have one just like him called Echo..he has about 500 words and sounds and is so amazing. These are brilliant birds who learn to speak our language perfectly and actually use the words correctly. I bought mine as an egg and hand raised him so he thinks he is human. This link is a 3D but I did insert my real bird..I get your fascination ! Check him out..can;t wait to see the new special on Alex. :heart:

[link]
Reply
:iconkristynjanelle:
KristynJanelle Featured By Owner Aug 20, 2012  Professional Traditional Artist
Wow, how interesting! Your bird looks adorable. I'd love to see videos of him sometime.
Reply
:iconorchid22:
orchid22 Featured By Owner Aug 20, 2012
I have never made a video of him..I am thinking it would be quite humorous..he is such a character! Even as I type he is chatting away :) Really can't wait to see Alex again..makes me understand Echo even more. What amazes me most is their brains are so small yet they have so many capabilities including speaking in our language! Do you own a parrot? If so what kind?
Reply
:iconkristynjanelle:
KristynJanelle Featured By Owner Aug 20, 2012  Professional Traditional Artist
I do. I own a Blue-Fronted Amazon. He's only two so his speech is fairly limited so far, and obviously not as good as a grey's would be, but he is pretty smart. I love him.
Reply
:iconorchid22:
orchid22 Featured By Owner Aug 20, 2012
Give him time..mine is 15 years...a teenager with attitude! He holds my heart so give your little one time. They really are amazing..your's is just a baby. With time and love...they are the best. You must invest in them...time...love...effort but it is worth it. :heart:

Amazons are amazing!
Reply
:iconkristynjanelle:
KristynJanelle Featured By Owner Aug 20, 2012  Professional Traditional Artist
Thank you very much. I can tell my baby is very smart already, though! He definitely understands words that I say, as he reacts to them perfectly. His favorite is "kiss?" If I say that he'll reach up and give me a little nibble, it's so sweet. I can't wait to see him blossom into an even more intelligent bird! :heart:
Reply
:iconorchid22:
orchid22 Featured By Owner Aug 21, 2012
Love and patience will do it and lots of interaction. I have always kept Echo's cage in the middle of the action so he is always part of everyday life. He is out everyday too. Have fun with your bird and he will have fun too. Always keep toys around for him to play with too. :)
Reply
:iconkristynjanelle:
KristynJanelle Featured By Owner Aug 21, 2012  Professional Traditional Artist
Yeah, I am always in my room (I sort of use my bedroom as a mini-apartment... it has a table, my computer, a tv, chairs, a bathroom... etc.) so my bird's cage is up against the window, he gets to see everything both inside and out :)
Reply
(1 Reply)
:iconrafagranaa:
rafagranaa Featured By Owner Aug 20, 2012  Student General Artist
I remember him! It is so good that you drew him!!!
Reply
:iconkristynjanelle:
KristynJanelle Featured By Owner Aug 20, 2012  Professional Traditional Artist
Thanks :D
Reply
:iconsvecovarena:
svecovarena Featured By Owner Aug 20, 2012
nice :)
Reply
:iconkristynjanelle:
KristynJanelle Featured By Owner Aug 20, 2012  Professional Traditional Artist
Thanks!
Reply
:iconallaboutbirds:
AllAboutBirds Featured By Owner Aug 20, 2012
I love it!
Reply
:iconkristynjanelle:
KristynJanelle Featured By Owner Aug 20, 2012  Professional Traditional Artist
Thanks!
Reply
:icondoodlekeet:
Doodlekeet Featured By Owner Aug 20, 2012   General Artist
Wow, how coincidental is this - while doing some research for my speech assignment on a charity (duh, Alex Foundation) I stumbled upon the "Life with Alex" documentary trailer. And then this!
I love seeing him answer questions correctly.
Beautiful work! I like how wise he looks :D
Reply
Add a Comment:
 
×
Download JPG 1984 × 2754




Details

Submitted on
August 20, 2012
Image Size
2.0 MB
Resolution
1984×2754
Link
Thumb
Embed

Stats

Views
2,652
Favourites
182 (who?)
Comments
77
Downloads
61

Camera Data

×