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Bushwick Artist Ventiko Owns a Peacock Named Dexter

Walking around Select Art Fair (all photos courtesy of Ventiko)

Bushwick is proudly weird. And weird people keep weird pets. Whether it's a large yellow python whose owner hangs him on a tree at St. Nicholas Ave, or a big cat on a leash that frequently hangs on Bogart St.

A Bushwick artist named Ventiko is one of those proud, weird pet owners who can be seen around Bushwick walking her peacock named Dexter. Although Ventiko says it's a temporary situation, and Dexter will likely relocate to the Dominican Republic, in the mean time the peacock is enjoying his wild Bushwick days. "He needs his CITES and Import Permit which take some time to receive," explained Ventiko.

Ventiko at home

So how do you end up with a peacock in Bushwick?

"This past December I participated in Select Art Fair during Art Basel in Miami. My project was a multi-sensory site specific installation entitled 'On Beauty,'" explained Ventiko. "Focusing on ethereal and carnal beauty, I created a photographic spectacle embracing voyeurism, the human form, perversion of art history symbolism and iconography inspired by the flora and fauna of Florida."

Instead of an audio track for her installation, she decided to use actual living birds and she planned to release them afterwards.

So where do you go if you need living birds, ghost busters, taxidermied horses or a one-night stand with a dude in scuba diving wetsuit? Of course, you go to Craigslist.

"I found an odd ad that read "two Peacocks for $200," explained Ventiko.  "What?!!  Two living archetypes of beauty — for a total of $200??! Yes please!"

Ventiko then drove three hours to Jupiter, Fl., and purchased Etta and Dexter (both peacocks)  from a family the day the fair opened.

"Later that day Dexter and I bonded. He gave me kisses and put his head in my mouth and Etta seemed to relax a bit," said Ventiko.

It seems that both peacocks were quite happy with their new life situation and the attention they were getting from crowds at Select Art Fair. "Throughout the week, Dexter and I walked around both the fair and the street with him in my arms, he sat on me during my artist talk, was a perfect model on set and often snuggled in my neck," added Ventiko.

Ventiko's installation, "On Beauty II"

After the artsy week in Miami, Ventiko gave both Dexter and Etta to an older artist who lives in North Port, Fl. The love story of Dexter and Etta continued. They mated, and Etta gave birth to peachicks across the street in a small wooded area. However, neither Etta nor chicks ever returned from the woods. Something ate them, most likely.

"After the loss of his mate and chicks, Dexter's personality changed drastically, and he became aggressive," said Ventiko. The peacock was then put in a garage.

"After learning this, I had to intervene," said Ventiko. She took Dexter to Bushwick where she continues to search for the perfect place for him. Dexter lives with Ventiko, her two cats, and a roommate named Michael.

"Dexter has returned to his sweet self and seems to be quite happy. We do not have any doors, except in the bathroom and we all live together in harmony. It's kind of strange that it works so well but rather than question it, I am just accepting the gifts of the universe," concluded Ventiko.

Do you find Dexter and Ventiko's story crazy, unbelievable, amazing? Tell us in the comments, and like Ventiko's Facebook page to stay updated on Dexter's adventure.

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