Local News

Painting Pig Battles Cancer

Posted July 24, 2007 8:02 p.m. EDT
Updated July 24, 2007 10:28 p.m. EDT

— A family with a popular artist has come to Raleigh to have the artist treated for cancer.

In this case, however, the artist is a pig, and the medical center he's visiting is the North Carolina State University College of Veterinary Medicine.

Fran Martin of Richmond, Va., said she taught her pot-bellied buddy, Smithfield, to paint.

"Initially, I taught him how to hold the brush, how to move his head, and then how to put it on the canvas," said Martin.

Smithfield holds a brush in his teeth, aims his snout at the canvas and produces works of art that have gained him national fame, said Martin.

Smithfield and his nose for art often appear at county fairs and occasionally, even on national television, said Martin.

He came to Raleigh, however, for veternarians to remove a cancerous tumor that had completely obstructed his nasal passage, said Dr. Matthew Gerard, a large-animal surgeon.

Smithfield had the same kind of cancer four years ago, said Martin, who is spending at least $8,000 on the animal's medical expenses.

"He's gone through a lot," she said.

Smithfield is scheduled to undergo 19 radiation treaments before returning to Richmond and with luck, picking up his paintbrush once again.