It’s been a couple of years since we last checked in on Mark Powell (previously here and here), who produces ballpoint pen portraits and illustrations of birds and people on vintage envelopes. Recently Powell has expanded his practice to include old maps as another form of canvas, drawing detailed faces and bodies that are given texture by the haphazard roads and regions that comprise the United States or Paris.
Powell chooses to draw on paper with historical marks in order to imbue his works with a greater story, adding a deeper background to his subjects. “They compliment each other and I hope leads the viewer to wonder, and maybe create, a history for the two,” said Powell. “I rarely connect the portrait and ‘canvas’ as they are both strangers to me.”
Powell’s illustrations can take between a couple of hours and an entire month depending on the size of the surface and the detail given to his subjects. His upcoming exhibition, “Anthropology,” will open March 3 and run through April 10, 2016 at Hang-Up Gallery in London. You can see more of Powell’s drawings on his Facebook.
This great new photorealistic mural from graffiti artist Sam Bates (aka Smug) popped up in Glasgow last week. The piece is just one of several wildlife-themed contributions by the artist over the last year as part of the Glasgow City Centre Mural Trail that began in 2008 to help rejuvenate the downtown area. You can watch Smug at work on this video from Spraying Bricks and see more of his work on Instagram. (via The Scotsman)
Gathering spare pieces of metal, John Brown assembles his findings into sculptures of colorful butterflies, insects, and birds. Although the assemblages are formed from salvaged materials like nails and bicycle chains, the pieces somehow remain delicate, wings appearing just as thin as a butterfly’s own. After welding each piece together, Brown finishes the sculpture by painting the wings with oil paint, accurately copying the markings of specific species such as the Holly Blue and Red Admiral butterflies.
The Wales-based sculptor has lived in the rural west of his country for the past eight years, inspired by the fauna-rich valleys that compose the region. You can see more of his metal insects and other welded figures on his Facebook and Etsy page. (via Lustik)
Delicately wielding a scalpel, Chris Maynard (previously here and here) slices into feathers to create images of the very creatures that shed them, reproducing birds of flight within his tiny found canvases. Not only is Maynard concerned about the material aesthetically, but is also interested in how humans have treasured feathers and their meaning for thousands of years.
Often Maynard places the positive cut-out next to its negative shape, making it appear as if the tiny bird is flying from the feather, or escaping its original form. Each feather varies in size and color, from the tiny and muted to large and brightly colored. The feathers used in his works are acquired legally from zoos and private aviaries, all naturally shed by birds that range from crows to peacocks.
Recently the Pacific Northwest artist, author, and naturalist has compiled his works into a book that provides detail into his creative process, the lifespan of his subject, and the symbolism of feathers titled Feathers, Form and Function. Maynard also covers the biological in the book, outlining how how feathers have evolved and grow. You can see more of Maynard’s writing and works on his blog here.
Endangered Harlem, by Gaia
Since October 2014, the streets of Upper Manhattan have become an unexpected destination for rare sightings of some 314 endangered birds. The Audubon Mural Project is a collaboration between the National Audubon Society and Gitler &_____ Gallery to commission murals of climate-threatened birds surrounding the old neighborhood of John James Audubon.
So far 20 artworks have been painted on storefronts, building facades, window panels, and retractable security grates. The number of species depicted isn’t arbitrary, it reflects a report from last year highlighting 314 birds most threatened by climate change. The growing list of involved artists includes Gaia, Iena Cruz, Hitnes, Lunar New Year, and many others. You can learn more about the artworks and the birds depicted in them, including a map of where to find them, on the Audubon Mural Project Website.
The Swallow-tailed Kite mural contains 12 other climate-threatened species. The church tower to the right of the mural is the location of John James Audubon’s final resting place. Photo: Mike Fernandez/Audubon
Swallow-tailed Kite and other birds by Lunar New Year. Photo: Mike Fernandez/Audubon
Black-chinned Hummingbird, by Ashli Sisk. Photo: Mike Fernandez/National Audubon Society
American Redstart, by James Alicea. Photo: Mike Fernandez/National Audubon Society.
Bald Eagle, by Peter Daverington. Photo: Camilla Cerea and Mike Fernandez/National Audubon Society.
Tricolored Heron by Iena Cruz. Photo: Mila Tenaglia.
Fish Crow by Hitness
Licensed from Caters / Alan McFadyen
For the last 6 years, Scottish wildlife photographer Alan McFadyen spent an estimated 4,200 hours seeking the perfect shot: a symmetrical image of a kingfisher diving into its own refelection in search of prey. Last month, after 720,000 exposures he finally got it. McFadyen certainly snapped hundreds of other successful images along the way, but this particular photo—as it existed in his imagination—eluded him for years.
“Kingfishers dive so fast they are like bullets, so taking a good photo requires a lot of luck – and a lot of patience,” McFadyen told the Daily Mail. The difficulty is compounded by the fact that female kingfishers only rarely dive, so timing is essential.
McFadyen owns Scottish Photography Hides which rents out hides in pristine locations in Southwest Scotland for use by wildlife photographers. You can explore more of his photography on Flickr. (via PetaPixel)