GETTYSBURG, Pa. (WHTM) – Colorful abstract art is flying off the shelves at a gallery in Adams County, but their best-selling artist doesn’t paint with his hands.
Metro Meteor is a horse, and his paintings have sold all over the world.
The pain of his arthritis and the shattered promises of a career gone by all disappear with the stroke of a paintbrush.
“He’s got this big floor-to-ceiling head bob that he uses when he wants to get attention. He’s always looking for attention. I’m an artist, so the artist in me looked at that and said, “You know, one day I’m going to put a paint brush in that mouth and put that head bobbing to good use,” said Ron Krajewski, Metro’s owner.
Metro raced at Belmont and Saratoga in his heyday and won more than $300,000. Krajewski adopted him after a crippling knee injury cut his career short.
“He had detrimental bone growth in his knees,” Krajewski said. “It was to the point the vet thought his knees would buckle up, and he’d have to be euthanized.”
Metro began paying for his own vet bills with his paintings, and soon the experimental treatment helped his bones regrow. Krajewski brought his paintings to Gallery 30 in Gettysburg. Metro now sells four times more paintings than his human counterparts at the gallery.
“Gallery 30 has sold hundreds and hundreds of his paintings. We’ve shipped them to at least 49 states. I don’t think we’ve shipped one to Hawaii yet,” said Peggy Rock, director of Gallery 30.
Metro will autograph his new book Saturday, April 16, from 1 to 4:30 p.m. at Gallery 30.
“He holds a Sharpie in his mouth. He autographs his books. His penmanship isn’t the greatest, but it’s better than some doctors I’ve seen,” Krajewski said.
“Painting with Metro: How a Crippled Racehorse Rescued Himself (and Me) with a Paintbrush” chronicles Metro’s struggles, how he became an acclaimed artist, and how he helped his Krajewski overcome his introversion.
“It’s just about Metro’s life, my life, Metro, and all of the difficulties he has had to face coming off the track with his health issues and how he came about painting,” Krajewski said.
Krajewski and Metro have developed a special bond throughout the years, and their relationship has helped animals just like Metro. The two have raised more than $80,000 to help other retired racehorses at New Vocations Racehorse Adoption Program. Now the unusual pair share their love story in a book.
“The two of them are artists together,” Rock said. “People will say is this art? If it’s something that a creature on this earth loves to do intently, then it’s art.”
The special friendship had helped Krajewski come out of his shell and saved Metro from possibly going to a slaughterhouse.
“It’s a real story of hope, and it’s a story of love. It’s a story of how Ron loves this horse, the horse loves him, and the horse loves to paint,” Rock said.
“Every racehorse deserves a second chance and a second career,” Krajewski said.
It’s a second chance made possible due to the love between a man and his horse.
Click here for more information on Metro’s book signing. This is only his second public appearance since retiring due to his health conditions. Gallery 30 will donate a portion of the sales to Gentle Giants Draft Horse Rescue, a non-profit organization devoted to the rescue of draft horses from slaughter, abuse, and neglect.