Launching Now in LA: Funny Zoo


Funny Zoo is a playful, colorful public art exhibit and cultural initiative that features numerous life-sized sculptures of wild animals. The movement is designed to promote awareness of biodiversity, as well as conservation of the Earth’s endangered species and environment. Originally created in France, Funny Zoo soon spread to multiple European cities. Now, the unique parade is roaming the streets of Los Angeles for six months, culminating in an auction in December to benefit the California Wildlife Center.

We spoke with Chuck Wolf, Artist and Sponsorship Agent for Funny Zoo and fine art dealer and curator of The Wolf Fine Art–Los Angeles to learn more about the project and initiative behind it.

As a dealer, I have predominantly worked with living artists so that my efforts in turn help somebody out. In addition to helping artists, and promoting art, I’m also passionate about doing what I can to help the environment, which is a bit more challenging.

Those who know me know that I’m most deeply concerned about the devastating effects of ocean plastics, and marine conservation. I’m also your typical animal lover with three dogs, a cat, and twenty horses. I recently volunteered as Fine Art Curator for the L.A. Animal History Museum. For their inaugural fine art exhibition, I had the opportunity to incorporate not only some fantastic, huge wildlife paintings by outstanding California painters, but to give some voice additionally to the causes of marine-plastics and wildlife conservation.

Polar Bear
Image Courtesy of Funny Zoo


That show included marine animal sculptures made from up-cycled marine debris, like sharks, sea turtles, and a very cool steam punk octopus, by Long Beach artist Claudio Garzon. The centerpiece-work was a life sized rhino sculpture with golden horns, coated in one thousand real one dollar bills, called Rhinos Don’t Grow on Trees, by L.A. urban artist, MIDAS (featured image).

This was a contribution of Malibu-based, Funny Zoo. The fun has already begun, with life-sized wildlife animal sculptures all around the streets of Los Angeles-from Malibu to Beverley Hills and Hollywood-for a six month public art exhibition to call attention to endangered wildlife and the environment. Animals include: pandas, polar bears, dolphins, elephants, rhinos, giraffes, and more. Each sculpture is playfully hand painted by local L.A. artists. The event will culminate in a black tie gala auction in December, benefiting California Wildlife Center, who is most well known for rescuing sick and stranded sea lion pups along the California coast.

Haut Couture Giraffe
Image Courtesy of Funny Zoo


You can see a lot of strange things in L.A., yet people tend to notice a money-covered rhino, or a fashionable 10-foot tall giraffe dressed in purple polka dots and pearls (by well-known street artist, Punk Me Tender). I jumped at the chance to help out by recruiting artists to paint, and companies to sponsor these full-scale sculptures. Funny Zoo also gave me the ability to sell the sculptures outright before the auction to my collectors.

The Funny Zoo founders first exhibited in Europe-most notably in Southern France in their hometown of Marseille-with great success before bringing the event to the U.S. and launching in Los Angeles. They are connected to a large animal welfare foundation and long-running television series, 30 Millions d’Amis (30 million friends). One underlying idea is to get wildlife out of the captivity of zoos and free them to the public streets where their playful, imaginative, stand-ins can be safely introduced to the public in an exciting, up-close and personally engaging encounter.

As a dealer, I thought the price for the sculptures was very reasonable, but my greater interest is in the opportunity to contribute to promoting the combination of causes I personally care about: the art and artists, animal welfare, and the environment. Plus, it’s a lot of fun! I can’t wait to see the next pieces created.

Painted Panda
Image Courtesy of Funny Zoo


For artist and sponsorship opportunities, contact Chuck Wolf. You can also visit the Funny Zoo Facebook page for more information.