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Art

Flying Ospreys, Herons, and Terns Comprise a 35-Meter Water Tower Mural by Taquen

July 20, 2021

Grace Ebert

“Eau de Loire” (2021), Gien, France. All images courtesy of Taquen, by Fabe Collage

A 35-meter tower looming over Gien, France, is the site of a new mural by Taquen that celebrates the inherent life-giving properties of water. Set against a deep blue backdrop, the massive artwork titled “Eau de Loire” features a flock of ospreys, herons, and common terns, which often are spotted near the banks of the Loire River that runs through the area, as they fly around the tank in an endless loop. “Water has always been synonymous with life,” the Madrid-based artist says, noting that the source is as vital to the city’s inhabitants as it is the region’s wildlife.

Broadly focused on change, Taquen’s works explore the complex relationships species have with each other and the larger environment, a recurring theme that manifests in this recent project through the birds’ perpetual motion. “For me, movement is a basic form of knowledge, to get to know myself and my environment and learn to respect it,” he says. “Birds are great symbols of freedom, animals that migrate thousands of kilometers each year with no one who can stop them.”

Taquen just completed a piece in Vigo, Galicia and is headed to Camprovin, La Rioja, Spain next. In September, he’ll be at Mostar Street Art Festival in Bosnia and Eternelles Crapules at Briançon, France, before heading to a residency in Saint Palais and later to Bayona. Follow along his travels on Instagram. (via Street Art News)

 

 

 



Art Craft

Precise Replicas Cast Wildlife and Plants as Delightfully Tiny Sculptures

July 14, 2021

Grace Ebert

All images © Fanni Sandor, shared with permission

Fanni Sandor (previously) melds her background in biology with a decades-long enthusiasm for miniatures by creating an adorable menagerie of minuscule wildlife. Based in Hungary, she sculpts 1:12 scale models of leaping squirrels and multicolor tree frogs from clay and soft fibers and more recently has ventured into larger ecosystems populated by speckled mushrooms, ferns, and the tiniest tulips. Sandor’s biologically accurate models are sold out on Etsy right now, but keep an eye on shop updates by following her on Instagram.

 

 

 



Photography

Herons of Amsterdam: A Photo Series Reveals the Unusually Large Population Living in the Dutch Capital

July 13, 2021

Grace Ebert

All images licensed Julie Hrudová

Spending timing in any major city is likely to bring run-ins with urban wildlife like rodents and pigeons, but in Amsterdam, there’s one long-legged species stalking the streets in unusually large numbers. In her ongoing series Herons of Amsterdam, photographer Julie Hrudová documents the thriving feathered population—it’s grown considerably in recent decades, and in 2017, officials estimated there were 800 pairs living in 25 neighborhoods—swooping down to sidewalks for a meal and confidently strutting into people’s homes.

Often nesting in park trees, the now-ubiquitous birds are known to scour fish markets at close to scavenge the day’s unsold product and visit the zoo at feeding time. They’ve integrated themselves so wholly into the lives of the city’s human inhabitants that it’s not uncommon for residents to supply food and respite to the striped creatures. “They have names for them, like Kiri the heron, who comes by every day for a snack and is not scared to enter the house,” the Prague-born photographer says. “At times he stays for a while and watches TV.”

Last year, Hrudová released a zine compiling many of the images shown here, and she’s currently working on a new book titled Chasing Amsterdam that will be filled with the street photos she takes on a weekly basis. You can follow her sightings around the Dutch capital on Instagram, and check out her curated account StreetRepeat for a survey of the recurring themes photographers document around the world. (via Jeroen Apers)

 

 

 



Photography

A Dusty Roadrunner, Sleepy Sandhill Crane, and Shy Sandpiper Top the 2021 Audubon Photography Awards

July 7, 2021

Grace Ebert

Anna’s Hummingbird and cattail, Karen Boyer Guyton/Audubon Photography Awards/2021 Plants For Birds Honorable Mention. All images courtesy of Audubon, shared with permission

Most years, the Audubon Photography Awards garners entries from photographers who journey around the world to spot the elusive, extraordinary winged creatures they don’t usually see near their homes. The last few months have necessarily restricted travel, though, prompting 2021’s entrants to seek out the unique and remarkable moments happening right around them. Selected from 8,770 images and more than 260 videos, this year’s winners capture a wide array of avian species, including a greater roadrunner enveloped by a cloud of dust at Los Novios Ranch in Texas, a sleepy sandhill crane lounging on its mother in Florida, and a northern harrier as she spreads her wings before gliding down to catch her prey. You can see more of the top shots below, and check out previous year’s winners, too.

 

Sandhill crane, Robin Ulery/Audubon Photography Awards/2021 Amateur Award Winner

Greater roadrunner, Carolina Fraser/Audubon Photography Awards/2021 Grand Prize

Purple sandpiper, Arav Karighattam/Audubon Photography Awards/2021 Youth Award Winner

Northern cardinal, Steve Jessmore/Audubon Photography Awards/2021 Professional Award Winner

Anna’s hummingbird, Patrick Coughlin/Audubon Photography Awards/2021 Fisher Prize

Red-winged blackbird on a lily pad, Shirley Donald/Audubon Photography Awards/2021 Plants For Birds Award Winner

Northern harrier, Elizabeth Yicheng Shen/Audubon Photography Awards/2021 Female Bird Prize

 

 



Art

Found Silverware and Scrap Metal Are Welded into Lively Sculptural Creatures by Matt Wilson

July 2, 2021

Grace Ebert

All images © Matt Wilson

Wide spoons become muscular hind legs, pointed handles fan out into wings, and fork prongs curl around a branch like talons in Matt Wilson’s wildlife assemblages. Using found flatware and other metal objects, the Charleston-based artist (previously) welds sculptural renditions of birds, insects, and other small animals that appear lifelike and primed for movementt. He mounts the metallic sculptures on pieces of driftwood or smooth plaques—many of which are handcrafted by his friend Jacob Kent—that contrast the shining metal with the natural, grainy material.

Wilson has spent the last few years broadening his practice and working on multiple birds simultaneously, allowing for more cohesive, well-rounded flocks. His next collection launches at 9 a.m. EST on July 9 in his shop, and his works sell quickly so keep an eye on Instagram for early looks at the 100 creatures set for release.

 

 

 



Photography Science

A Scrupulous Blue Tit Perfects Her Nest and Lays Her First Egg in a 46-Day Timelapse Recorded Inside the Roost

July 1, 2021

Grace Ebert

It turns out that blue tits are just like us: finicky about their living quarters. Captured with a camera mounted in a box near the town of Loughborough in the U.K., a highlight reel follows one of the birds as she establishes her roost with extreme care. Although female blue tits tend to build their nests alone during the course of a week or two, this particular creature spends nearly seven weeks perfecting hers. We see her initially peck the prospective home’s walls, remove her first bit of grass in favor of new material, and constantly adjust her growing roost. Soon after she finishes construction, she lays her first egg in the upper left corner.

There’s an entire YouTube channel devoted to the new family, and you can watch the chicks hatching and leaving the nest. (via PetaPixel)