April 18, 2024 The Best Source of News, Culture, Lifestyle for Culver City, Mar Vista, Del Rey, Palms and West Los Angeles

Local Artist Takes a Stand on Elephant Rights

Katina Zinner

The Los Angeles City Council recently voted to fund the completion of the elephant exhibit at the Los Angeles City Zoo. But opponents made clear their opposition along the way.

Artist/ animal activist and longtime local resident Katina Zinner was one of them. Zinner grew up in the Palisades and now lives in Santa Monica.

The ebullient Zinner, who fuses her personal connection to nature and love of animals into thought-provoking, emotionally-turbulent and yet sometimes playful “Flowing Abstracts†– contemporary oil paintings that suggest a contemplation of space and movement.

Zinner has long been involved with the Los Angeles Alliance for Elephants and was part of the recent protests at City Hall over the L.A. Zoo’s proposed “Pachyderm Forest†and its one remaining elephant, Billy.

“The city is going to spend $42 million dollars to expand the elephant exhibit, and bring in six, seven, or eight more elephants. These creatures need proper room to grow. They should be at a sanctuary,†lamented Zinner, who believes the 3.6-acre compound will not provide suitable growing room for its occupants.

According to Zinner, 13 elephants have died at the L.A. Zoo since 1975 from captivity-related diseases, varying from foot disease to arthritis.
“They [the zoo] sent several elephants to a Tennessee sanctuary but they already had infections on their feet because they’re not walking enough. And if they’re not walking enough, it gets to the point where the problem can’t be fixed, and they die,†explained Zinner.

“Billy is really alone. He spends his time unnaturally bobbing his head. Elephants are social creatures and Billy’s head bobbing is indicative of frustration and boredom, behaviors that are not natural in the wild.â€

According to Zinner, “the fees for treating an animal are $20K per month. LA City should step up…and close the elephant exhibit. We need to be progressive and we’re not. To spend this kind of money when we have so many other [zoo related] issues where money could be allocated in more humane ways is a crime.â€

As for her work…Zinner’s exhibitions have ranged from the sublime such as her “Tides of Emotion†at the James Coleman Gallery – shared with her famous sculptor Mother Christa Zinner – to the downright outrageous Live Draw! – a provocative event held at DCA Fine Arts Gallery, in which guests sipped wine and watched as Zinner created on-the-spot vibrant pastels from live nude models.

Zinner – who spent her formative years traveling between Pacific Palisades and Europe while her father, Peter Zinner, the late Oscar winning editor (“The Deer Hunter†), worked in cinema – is no stranger to attention. Encouraged to draw at a young age, and allowed to cover an entire kitchen in felt pen drawings, Zinner had her first solo art show when she was only eleven years old.

“My father was working on “The Godfather,†we were living in San Francisco at the time and this woman [at the show] was really enjoying the drawings and was so enthusiastic about them but to me it was just kind of natural. I would just doodle,’†said Zinner.

Zinner also learned the skill of film editing from her father who taught her to cut 16mm by hand. Of the two mediums – editing and painting – Zinner said, “They’re both very focused, but editing is meticulous and collaborative. I put together great moments already captured on film. Somebody’s lit the set. Someone’s directed the piece…so it’s really not your own work. A white canvas is such a gift because nobody else has had laid a hand to it. It’s yours.â€

When she’s not painting or editing, she volunteers at Martine Colette’s Wildlife Way Station, the California Wildlife Center and the Los Angeles Alliance for Elephants.

For more information visit www.helpelephants.com and www.helpbilly.org

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