By National Audubon SocietyJanuary 26, 2015
The Audubon Mural Project is a collaboration between the National Audubon Society and the Gitler &_____ Gallery to create murals of climate-threatened birds throughout John James Audubon's old Manhattan neighborhood.
Want to help?
If you’re an artist or an upper-Manhattan landlord or business owner who would like to participate in this project, please contact Avi Gitler. Also, please contact Avi if you're interested in supporting the project in any other way—spray paint sponsors urgently sought!
Special thanks to all of our donors thus far!
How it all started . . .
So, by the time they came to us, Gitler’s mural plan had morphed and expanded a bit—from maybe a dozen birds to 314, a depiction of every one of the species identified as climate-threatened or endangered in the Audubon Report. The public art would flow throughout the Hamilton Heights and Washington Heights neighborhoods of upper Manhattan—JJA territory—creating a tremendous outdoor gallery of birds, all tagged with the URL of the Audubon Mural Project. Intrigued passersby would investigate and end up here, with an opportunity to learn more about this existential threat to birds, and about how they can take action to help head it off.
And so, voila! Here we are! If you are one of those intrigued passersby investigating what the murals are all about, we invite you to click here to learn more about the Audubon Report. Alongside each mural photograph below you’ll also find a link that will take you to a page with maps and other info about the threat to that specific bird.
The Audubon Mural Project is only just underway, but already the results have been visually stunning, as you’ll see in the gallery below—a gallery that will be continually augmented as new murals are painted. The project has already made the front page of The New York Times—read that coverage here.
Planning to go see the murals?
You should! Here's a guide:
You can also download a static version of this map here.
The founders of the Audubon Mural Project were interviewed by PBS NewsHour! See the short video below:
The Birds and the Muralists
Western Tanager by Yu-baba
Climate Threat: This sunny species is common to the pine forests of western North America. Audubon's climate model predicts a 70 percent loss of its current summer range by 2080. The model also identifies a large vacant section of eastern and central Canada vacated as suitable climate for the species. Predicting the Western Tanager’s future is complicated by potential interbreeding and competition with the closely related Scarlet Tanager.
Location: Marina Dental Center, 3768 Broadway, New York, NY 10032
Painted: October 23, 2016
About the Artist: Belarusian female mural artist Yu-baba currently lives and works in New York. She spends a majority of her time traveling and painting murals across the countries, and participates in international urban art events and festivals. She primarily began focusing on creating mural art in 2013. Since that time, Yu-baba has grown and evolved within her career as a street artist. Most of Yu-baba's murals are female portraits with surreal elements in which she reveals women's energy, confidence, and beauty. Yu-baba continues to balance her love of painting large-scale public artworks with creation of canvases. Her works were exhibited in galleries in Germany and the United States, and her artworks has been published in a number of international magazines and books. Follow her on Instagram.
The Artist on the Mural: "I chose the Western Tanager because I was facinated by the beauty of this small bird. It has the perfect combination of bright colors."
Great Gray Owl by Key Detail
Climate Threat: This species has an immense wingspan, but its range is quite limited to the boreal wood on Canada and Alaska, with subpopulations in Yosemite and Yellowstone. The Audubon model reveals that there might be a northward range shift, with only six percent of its winter range currently stable. There is hope, however, in the form of boreal-habitat conservation.
Location: Daliza Pharmacy, 3481 Broadway, New York, NY 10031
Painted: October 16, 2016
About the Artist: Key Detail is a Belarusian mural artist based in New York, known for his large-scale murals that adorn city walls around the world. Growing up in Minsk, he has been active on the street art scene since the mid-2000s, working consistently towards developing his unique style and his skills on the streets. Nowadays, Key Detail is combining his love of travel and mural art by putting works up in different countries. He has exhibited in Germany, Austria, and the United States, where his canvases were successfully sold to private collections. His artwork has also been featured in a number of international magazines and books. Follow him on Instagram.
The Artist on the Mural: "I have painted owls several times before. I decided to choose the Great Gray Owl for Audubon to continue that series."
Burrowing Owl by Jana Liptak
Climate Threat: According to Audubon's climate model, this diurnal owl species is predicted to loose 77percent of its current breeding range by 2080. Climate change will also affect its winter range as well, with the model displaying only 33 percent of the range remaining intact. The species is already under conservation concern because modern agricultural practices have removed the prairie dogs and ground squirrels that it depends on to provide nesting burrows.
Location: 606 West 145 Street, New York, NY 100131
Painted: October 2, 2016
About the Artist: Jana comes from the hot hot heat of Tucson, Arizona, and did a lot of different things in different places before ending up in New York City. She had a job counting salmon in the Pacific Northwest, worked as a pastry chef in Seattle, and lived in Edinburgh, Scotland, for a couple years getting her MFA in painting. She taught art in Southern India for a year, and in 2009 she decided to move to Brooklyn. Liptak has since been keeping busy as a freelance artist, emerging muralist, and a proud member of the scenic artists' union for film, television, and theater. Follow her on Instagram.
The Artist on the Mural: "The Burrowing Owl is adorable. It is the tiniest owl, and it lives in little holes and runs around during the day. It has long been one of my favorite birds, so I was super excited to immortalize these quirky little owls in paint."
Brown-capped Rosy-Finch by Yazmeen Collazo
Climate Threat: Brown-capped Rosy-Finches currently have a tiny range, breeding only on alpine tundra from southern Wyoming to southern Colorado, and wintering in the surrounding foothills, including in northernmost New Mexico. A warming climate will force its breeding habitat into higher elevations. By 2080, Audubon's climate model predicts that only three percent of the finches' current winter range will have a similar climate to today.
Location: Sexy Nails Inc., 3803 Broadway, New York, NY 10032
Painted: September 28, 2016
About the Artist: Yazmeen Collazo is a New York-based mixed media artist, born and raised in the Bronx and currently living in Westchester. She began creating art with her father at an early age, and over the years she accumulated hundreds of drawings and paintings inspired by nature. Collazo graduated from SUNY Purchase College with a BA in Art Liberal Studies. She has painted life all over the city, including the New York Botanical Garden during Frida al Fresco, an evening event that accompanied the Frida Kahlo exhibit Art, Garden, Life. Focused on both process and product, her newest body of work combines spray paint, acrylic, collage, and other media to weave ethereal, yet textured tales exploring various aspects of the female experience. Follow her on Instagram.
The Artist on the Mural: "My mother loves finches and we had a pair of them when I was younger. My mural is dedicated to her."
Spotted Owl, by Paul Nassar
Climate Threat: The Spotted Owl is already so scarce, there wasn't sufficient data to model its southern range through 2080. But the state-endangered species might experience a further bind in its wintering habitat: Audubon's climate study shows that 98 percent of its range is in peril. Combine that with the species' conflict with the encroaching Barred Owl, and all of a sudden, the future is looking even more dire for the bird.
Location: 3841 Hardware, 3841 Broadway, New York, NY 10032
Painted: September 25, 2016
About the Artist: Growing up in New York City, Paul Nassar was inspired by all the writing on the walls—and that's where his obsession with murals began. He took his love of art, studied a little economics for college in Scotland, and came home and focused on what he really wanted. That mission, he realized, was to create daily. Nassar took his passion for creating and his love for community and co-founded Off The Wall Graffiti, a nonprofit dedicated to young artists whose only exposure or opportunity to paint is in the streets. The group takes these kids and gives them a place where they can create safely. Nassar's art takes him on many ventures, including murals, canvas, body paint, and music. Follow him on Instagram.
The Artist on the Mural: "I chose the owl because it's smart and deadly. It's known for its wisdom but is also one of nature's most impressive, patient hunters. Always thinking. Calculating. Not to mention it's really cool-looking."
Broad-winged Hawk, by Jenevieve
Climate Threat: A staple fall migrant in the Eastern United States, Broad-winged Hawks spend their winters hunkering down in South and Central America. Their summer range, however, is expected to drop by 7 percent by 2080.
Location: Opulence Waxing Spa, 1724 Amsterdam, New York, NY 10032
Painted: September 25, 2016
About the Artist: Jenevieve was born in New York City in July of 1985, where she later received her B.F.A. from the Cooper Union School of Art with an award for Excellence in Painting in 2008. At Cooper, Jenevieve left behind photorealistic portraiture and landscape drawings to further explore dark room photography and abstract expressionistic painting. Seeking to combine the two, silkscreening became her new medium; the immediacy of it allowed her to incoporate elements once isolated to her street art tactics. After studying the process for a decade, a whole new style has emerged in her work, layered with brushstrokes, decoupage, graffiti tags, patterns, and photographic imagery. Jenevieve continues to live and work in New York and explore the world through picture, color, and texture. Follow her on Instagram.
The Artist on the Mural: "I chose the Broad-winged Hawk because it's one of the many birds that we observe throughout the summer season around our home. It makes a beautiful call and has a strong presence and flight. After I saw John James Audubon's brilliant illustration of the hawk, I was inspired to paint one for the project."
Baird's Sparrow, by Ralph Serrano
Climate Threat: Grassland birds are feeling the squeeze from climate change, and the Baird's Sparrow is no different. While the species has a high threshold for adaptibility, its staple prairie habitat is quickly disappearing. By 2080, the sparrow is expected to lose up to 100 percent of its summer range and 22 percent of its winter space. It's one of the focal species in Audubon's climate report.
Location: J&G Wines and Liquors, 3803 Amsterdam, New York, NY 10032
Painted: September 25, 2016
About the Artist: Born in Puerto Rico, Ralph "Artstikz" Serrano has been drawing and painting since he could hold a pencil, pen, crayon, and brush. Further inspired by art classes at the School of Visual Arts, photography and drawing have become his biggest passions. Serrano isn't limited to canvas alone, but also paints on wood, old furniture, empty walls, or whatever else can use some "Artistik" expression.
The Artist on the Mural: "I picked this birds because I love the beauty of them."
Western Bluebird and Rufous-crowned Sparrow, by Shawn Bullen
Climate Threat: Western Bluebirds are a real fan favorite; but they may also be the most climate-endangered of the bluebird species. The bird depends on healthy forests and snags for habitat, which are in short supply with development. Audubon's climate models show a high amount of instability in the species' summer and winter ranges. Meanwhile, the Rufous-crowned Sparrow is completely non-migratory. It's a major problem for the birds, which may see a northern shift in both their summer and winter spaces. While the breeding area is projected to increase by a dramatic 200 percent, it's likely that the species won't be able to fill the new range.
Location: Amsterdam Tobacco, 1614 Amsterdam, New York, NY 10031
Painted: September 4, 2016
About the Artist: Shawn Bullen started painting walls in 2007 in his hometown of Chicago. His work has taken him to cities across North America producing large scale murals everywhere he goes. He spent the last four years living and working in the Bay Area where he created artwork with groups from homeless shelters and public schools, to American Express and Google. Shawn recently moved to New York where he's continuing to create murals while expanding his studio practice. Bullen's work deals with a variety of subject matter, from raising awareness on endangered species to his personal series about gratitude and desire. Follow him on Instagram.
The Artist on the Mural: "I chose the Western Bluebird and the Rufous-crowned Sparrow because the regions they inhabit are places I have spent a lot of time in, specifically California and Mexico. I've seen both birds and they are extremely stunning."
Ovenbird, by Cern
Climate Threat: Ovenbirds have a wide range across the states. But with climate change encroaching, they're expected to spread farther north and gain more suitable breeding grounds on the tundra. Ultimately, they may see a 26 percent increase in wintering range, and an 11 percent increase in the summering range.
Location: Hamilton Discount Wine & Liquor, 3607 Broadway, New York, NY 10031
Painted: August 24, 2016
About the Artist: Cern, a native New Yorker currently based in Brooklyn, got started with street art by graffiti-ing his way through the early 1990s. He continues to develop his skills as a visual artist and musician by painting murals and exhibiting works throughout South America, Europe and South Africa. Cern’s work has also been featured at the San Diego Museum of Art, Museu Brasileiro De Escultura in Sao Paulo, and Los Angeles MOCA.
The Artist on the Mural: "The use of the Ovenbird for my mural was drawn from visual and sonic inspiration. The abstract, organic forms developed from graffiti infused with shapes of invertebrates and the ovenbirds' home, and what I think the species' unheard song joining the noise of the urban world."
Golden-fronted Woodpecker, by Juan Travieso
Climate Threat: The Golden-fronted Woodpecker prefers the dry, less densely forested areas of Texas as opposed to its cousin, the Red-bellied Woodpecker. Audubon's climate model shows a shift northward, where it can captitalize on more suitable living areas during the summer, but may still face a loss of ideal wintering grounds. The model predicts that only 38 percent of both summer and winter habitats will remain stable for the species.
Location: 3740 Broadway, New York, NY 10031
Painted: August 23, 2016
About the Artist: Juan Travieso is an artist based in Miami and New York. Travieso transposes his work on endangered animal species with works relating to his own childhood and experiences growing up in Havana, Cuba. His art explores notions of impermanence and decay. Figures, be them humans or animals, are broken up into spaces and forms much like 3-D models, speaking to both their temporality and transition into the digital age. Follow him on Instagram.
The Artist on the Mural: "I chose this particular bird because of the awesome color patterns, and I love the incredible natural sounds that woodpeckers make."
Ferruginous Hawk, by Ben Angotti
Climate Threat: Common to the plains of western North America, Ferruginous Hawk populations are being threatened as prairies are converted into grasslands for cattle grazing and farmland. This has disrupted a main source of food for the hawks, the parairie dog. Audubon's climate model predicts an 84 percent reduction of the species' summer range by 2080.
Location: GNC, 3551 Broadway, New York, NY 10031
Painted: June 12, 2016
About the Artist: Brooklyn artist Ben Angotti works in dualities. A classically trained artist, he juxtaposes high Romantic themes and symbolism, with urban street art and graffiti to create powerful commentaries on sensuality and the dark recesses of the human soul. He works in oils, acrylic, and spray paint to create works that are at once temporal and timeless. Eros and Thanatos ground his work thematically. His female forms are ethereal, and carry a sense of the fleeting moment that they convey. Follow him on Instagram.
The Artist on the Mural: "I've always loved raptors and always marveled at how they can be both beautiful and deadly. I picked this hawk because of it's resemblance to the Red-tailed Hawk. I used to have one living outside my old apartment, and saw it take out a squirrel once. Badass."
Laughing Gull, by Simon Aredondo
Climate Threat: Despite its name and proclivity to humans (and their trash cans), Laughing Gulls breed in isolation along the Atlantic and Gulf Coast salt marshes. Smaller flocks of the species have begun to move farther inland, as they're forecasted to see a 58 percent lose of their summer range along the coast by 2080
Location: Monkey Cup, 1728 Amsterdam, New York, NY 10031
Painted: June 12, 2016
About the Artist: Simon (sfa) Aredondo, Dominican-American street artist, writer and jack-of-all-trades, is a New York-based artist with 20 years of creating. He was raised in Washington Heights and Inwood. Follow him on Instagram.
The Artist on the Mural: "My son loves seagulls, so I wanted to paint a gull!"
Yellow-headed Blackbird, Don Rimx
Climate Threat: The Yellow-headed Blackbird lays claim to the cattail marshes of western North America as its breeding grounds. Audubon's climate model forecasts a 68 percent loss of its summer range by 2080, with its winter range already suffering a 64 perecent decrease. Because winter populations of the Yellow-headed Blackbird are scattered throughout Mexico, with highly localized flocks in the southwest, it makes it difficult to project their non-seasonal living space.
Location: Aure Multi Services, 1732 Amsterdam, New York, NY 10031
Painted: June 6, 2016
About the Artist: Don Rimx’s unparalleled artistry sets him apart from the rest. As a classically trained fine artist, graffiti purist, grand scale muralist and new school tattoo artist, he does it all. Born and raised on the beautiful island of Puerto Rico, he made the move to Brooklyn in 2009. Life in the big city had a profound effect on his works of art. Through the use of intricate lines, wood and brick elements, and rich color treatments, Rimx comprises breathtaking skeletal structures exploring the synthesis of man and his city.
Horned Grebe, by Giannina Gutierrez
Climate Threat: Horned Grebes nest along lakes and ponds across the Great Plains, and into the Boreal Forest of western Canada. According to Audubon's climate model projections. the Horned Grebe could see a devastating 100 percent loss of its current summer range by 2080. The species also spends its winters at sea where climate change has already affected food quality and availability.
Location: Kim Tong Wireless, 1722 Amsterdam, New York, NY 10031
Painted: June 19, 2016
About the Artist: Giannina Gutierrez is an NYC-based artist residing in East Harlem, New York. She is of Colombian origin, raised in Queens, New York. An artists since an early age, Gutierrez went on to study in various arts programs: Cooper Union Saturday Program, The Art Students League of New York. She majored in Fine Art at Pratt Institute. Her work has been part of several group exhibits in New York, D.C., Chicago, and Miami; she's currently working on several public art projects, in addition to being a teaching artist in the Bronx and Upper Manhattan. Her love of environment and form is evident through her bold shapes and treatment of media. Through her work, she explores the dynamics of universal, spiritual, and human experience, using vibrant palettes & textures. Follow her on Instagram.
The Artist on the Mural: "I chose the Horned Grebe for its striking appearance; with it's fiery eyes and mohawk-like feathers, this bird strikes me as a rebel. He refuses to be endangered."
The Almighty Boat-tailed Grackle, by Ezo Wippler
Climate Threat: The Boat-tailed Grackle, a native of Florida, has seen a 95 percent loss of breeding range and a 93 percent decrease in suitable climate areas according to Audubon's model. Farther up the East Coast, the state of the species may be less dire, where the birds can fill out more tempered climates. But given that the grackle is a non-migratory coastal bird, travelling further inland is highly unlikely for it.
Location: Buena Vista Vision Center, 3777 Broadway, New York, NY 10031
Painted: June 19, 2016
About the Artist: Ezo Wippler has been exhibiting his work since 1983. Originally from New York City, he was raised on the cusp of Puerto Rican spiritual culture contrasted against the cynicism and spectacle of modern American city life. He studied American comic books with The Ramones, with The Clash and disco as a soundtrack, while decorating his first subway car with cans of spray paint. He continues on that journey, exploring the world through the artistic filter of his vision. Follow him on Instagram.
The Artist on the Mural: "Looking like a very cool, extra-large, electric blue-tinged crow. I enjoyed painting the elegant grackle with its feldspar feathers. I chose to paint a pair with a hazy industrial landscape in the distance, imagining a loving couple under threat and in intense debate over their next move. I picked this scenario in order to show not only their beauty but also their intelligence; hopefully this can also serve to educate their ultimate frenemy: ourselves."
Love Is in the Air; Calliope Hummingbird, by Kristy McCarthy
Climate Threat: The smallest bird in North America, measuring about 3 inches long and weighing about one-tenth of an ounce, the Calliope Hummingbird is able to survive cold summer nights at high elevations in the northern Rockies. Some migrate every year from Canada all the way to southern Mexico. Audubon’s climate model forecasts an expansion of areas with suitable climate, mainly north and east—but only 22 percent of the current summer range remains stable by 2080.
Location: Apollo Pharmacy, 3569 Broadway (at 146th St.), New York, NY 10031
Painted: May 29, 2016
About the Artist: Born and raised in Wisconsin, by way of Atlanta, Kristy McCarthy is a self-taught painter, hair braider, community organizer, and the founder of the Harlem Art Collective. Based in New York City, she has spent the past four years organizing public art projects and painting murals in her neighborhood of East Harlem, as well as in Ecuador, Peru, Panama, Guatemala, and Mexico. Her work often questions human’s relationships with each other and with nature, dealing with the concepts of love, exploitation, and interconnectedness.
The Artist on the Mural: “Hummingbirds have always fascinated me. They are the smallest birds on the planet, yet some of the most fearless, they can hover and fly backwards, and have the very important job of pollinating. They symbolize resilience, adaptability, joy, and playfulness, and their wings, rather than flap up and down, move in the pattern of the infinity symbol. With the audubon report focusing on population decrease due to the loss of nesting habitat, I chose to do a mural depicting the mating rituals of these adaptable little long-distance migrating love birds, the calliope hummingbird. This mural is the love story of two that became one and then there were three."
Brewer's Blackbird, by Klone
About the Artist: Klone was born in Harkov, Ukraine, and currently lives and works in Tel Aviv, Israel. Influenced by his childhood emigration from the Ukraine to Israel, Klone’s initial practice of tagging and graffiti were personal challenges to themes of diaspora. This urban tradition allowed him to take ownership of his surroundings and localize an often hostile and alienating environment, making his foreign settings more familiar.
Using characters, symbols, and regional iconography, Klone’s work borrows from existing linguistic traditions in hope of providing a bridge to communicate. This organic approach appeals in its attempt at universality without erasure, without requiring a blank slate mentality. Each installation and drawing attempts to create an environment that will connect with the observer's primal feeling, placing him or her as part of the setting and context of the work. Whether created inside the studio or in in the public sphere, his work speaks to the exploration of what combinations are available to us with and also outside of a given discourse of belonging.
The Artist on the Mural: “I’m curious about birds that are common to cities and how they’ve adopted to the existence of men; Brewer’s Blackbird is one of those. Besides that I always found interesting the bird kinds that have such a big difference between the male and the female, especially the fact that the male is the one that’s supposed to compete for the attention of the female with its colorful feathers—something that’s so opposite in western culture.
Osprey, by Soten
Location: 3663 Broadway, New York, NY 10031
About the Artist: The name Soten is synonymous with a visual artist and graffiti writer from Copenhagen, Denmark. In the past 15 years he has grown from a young, local writer to an established international artist through his determination, hard work, skill, and dedication. His works are known for trademark letterforms, funky color combinations, and the use of classic illustration elements. Follow him on Instagram.
The Artist on the Mural: “I painted the Osprey because I thought [the Hog Island nest cam] was pretty cool.”
Roseate Spoonbill, by Danielle Mastrion
Climate Threat: The 19th century plume trade almost wiped out these brilliantly colored birds. Today their future is once again cast into uncertainty as climate change reshapes the Roseate Spoonbill's summer and winter habitat. Learn more about how climate change could affect this species at climate.audubon.org.
Location: 3531 Broadway, New York, NY 10032—on the corner of W 156 St. and Broadway
Painted: May 22, 2015
About the Artist: Danielle Mastrion is a Brooklyn-born muralist and painter based in New York City. She's been a painter all her life and has spent the past three years working locally and internationally on murals & public art. Danielle often combines realism and street-feel in her art. Her work ranges from large-scale bright and bold portraits to gritty cityscapes and street scenes, often depicting the disappearing face of a city. She earned her BFA from Parsons School of Design. Follow her on Instagram.
The Artist on the Mural: “I chose the Roseate Spoonbill because of its incredible colors. I was originally going to paint a few separate gates for the Roseate but decided to do one big wraparound, dedicating an entire gate to the flight feathers in order to really express the Roseate's colors & incorporate the full breadth and space of the corner. The corner of 156th and Broadway is such a lively, active part of the neighborhood; it's a meeting place, a hang out, an office, and a news station all on one corner. I wanted to make sure the whole corner got love, hence the wraparound painting.”
Black-billed Magpie, by Andre Trenier
Location: 3640 Broadway, New York, NY 10031—New Happiness Chinese Restaurant
About the Artist: Andre Trenier is currently an Artist in Residence at the Andrew Freedman Home in the Bronx and participates in community service programming for local residents while continuing to push the envelope of artistic expression. Since 2013 Trenier has painted over a dozen murals in the Bronx and Washington Heights areas alone. Every month, he paints the gate of the chic Lower East Side ice cream shop “Mikey Likes It” to coincide with the release of the parlor’s popular Flavor of the Month. Follow Trenier on Instagram.
The Artist on the Mural: “I chose the Black-billed Magpie because of its distinctive colors, its high intelligence, and its obsession with shiny objects. They have often been used to symbolise people’s facination with false perception and materialism.”
Tricolored Heron, by Iena Cruz
Climate Threat: Less than half of the coastal Tricolored Heron's summer range is projected to still be stable by 2080, according to Audubon’s Birds and Climate Change Report. Learn more about how climate change could affect this species at climate.audubon.org.
Location: 432 West 163rd St., New York, NY 10032 — on 163rd between Amsterdam and Edgecombe Avenues.
Painted: November 3, 2015
About the Artist: New York artist Federico Massa (known in the global street art world as Iena Cruz) is a university-trained fine artist from
Milan who has called Brooklyn his home for the past five years. Since his arrival, he has received the EB-1—the coveted U.S. Visa for Extraordinary Ability—and a number of gallery shows in New York City, Baltimore, and Miami, as well as commissions for wall murals in Mexico City, Ibiza, Manhattan, Barcelona, Milan, and Brooklyn. Since his teen years in 1990s Milan, Massa forged a solid reputation as a renegade street-art painter. At the Academy of Fine Arts of Brera in Milan he developed a unique signature layered style of spray paint stenciling mixed with finely calibrated brush work on a range of textured surfaces. This layering technique became the foundation for a series called “Homages” that was exhibited in his first solo show at the Graphite Gallery in Brooklyn. Large-scale commissions include the rear facade of the Williamsburg Cinemas, a 40’ X 100’ mural of comic book heroes in the Iena Cruz style; it was among the BuzzFeed top 10 best worldwide street art murals of 2013. See more at his website, or follow him on Instagram.
The Artist on the Mural: “Climate change and the animals and plant life affected by climate change has been the focus of my large-scale works for the past few years. In my current work I cast the climate-threatened Tricolored Heron in a melting glacier tableau inspired by 18th century British naturalist Mark Catesby, whose detailed plates set a standard for documenting nature. I created a vivid natural environment in layers of spray paint and stenciling that, while dream-like and fantastical, hide a sad message of extinction. I am proud to have been included in this project and to have the opportunity to create a mural with these important birds whose future in the current ecosystem is uncertain. It is projects like this that can help record the species for the future, and increase awareness that can hopefully hinder their extinction.”
Watch a video of this mural being painted:
Endangered Harlem, by Gaia
Climate Threat: Passerines, more commonly known as songbirds, comprise the majority of the climate-threated species in Audubon's Birds and Climate Change Report. The Magnolia Warbler is expected to lose 91 percent of its summer range by 2080, according to Audubon's climate models. The Scarlet Tanager could see 26 percent decrease in its current summer range, and the Tree Swallow, 61 percent. And only 17 percent of the Black-and-white Warbler's summer range could remain stable.
Location: 1883, 1885, and 1887 Amsterdam, New York, NY, 10032—between W. 153rd and W. 154th streets.
Painted: Mural was completed October 29, 2015.
About the Artist: Gaia grew up in New York City and is a recent graduate of the Maryland Institute College of Art in Baltimore. His studio work, installations, and gallery projects have been exhibited throughout the world—notably The Baltimore Museum of Art, Rice Gallery, and Palazzo Collicola Arti Visive. His street work has been documented and featured in several books on urban art, including, most recently, Beyond the Street: The 100 Leading Figures in Urban Art (Berlin, 2010). Gaia lives and works in Baltimore, but spends a majority of his time traveling and painting murals across the world. Gaia was just listed in the Forbes “30 Under 30” list in Art and Style. Follow Gaia on Instagram, or visit his website.
The Artist on the Bird: “I’m grateful to be able to be a part of the Audubon Mural Project and to have had the opportunity to push this photoshop method of arranging history visually. In the composition are four endangered species of migratory birds: the Black-and-white Warbler, the Magnolia Warbler, the Scarlet Tanager, and the Tree Swallow. Above in the top right corner is a portrait of Audubon as a young man, to the bottom right of the composition is a photo by Russell Lee taken in the South Side of Chicago in 1941 during the swell of the second great migration. To the bottom left is the white hand of James Lancaster, who led the East India Company’s first fleet in 1600, resting on a globe. These three patterns of migration run parallel to one another. But the greatest irony of it all is raising ecological awareness whilst the people of Harlem are endangered of significant gentrification.”
Fish Crow, by Hitnes
Climate Threat: The Fish Crow is an opportunist that once only inhabitated the Atlantic and Gulf Coast plains, but now can be found further inland, all the way up to the Ohio River Valley. Climate change, however, could lead to a 26 percent decrease in its winter range by 2080. See more on the Fish Crow's shifting range at climate.audubon.org.
Location: 3750 Broadway, New York, NY, 10032—Broadway between 155th and 156th streets.
Painted: October 21, 2015.
About the Artist: Hitnes hails from Rome, and his work spans genres, including graffiti, illustration, and fine art. Since 2012 he has taught screen-printing courses at Rome’s European Institute of Design (IED), as well as workshops in muralism, including a masterclass in Adelaide, Australia. His work can be found in publications in Italy, France, Spain, Germany, Belgium, England, and Australia; in the past 10 years he has participated in group shows and art events across Europe, Australia, Mexico, and China. His work with the Audubon Mural Project capped a three-month odyssey called The Image Hunter, where he retraced John James Audubon’s steps around America and completed 15 murals across the country. See all of them here.
The Artist on the Bird: “I was hunting American Crows, but they aren’t a species in danger, even if they are really similar to their Fish Crow cousins. Fish Crows are just a little bit smaller and the only way to identify them is to hear their ‘cow cow cow’ instead of the ‘caw caw caw.’ I spotted the Fish Crow in Florida early this summer, and thought it would fit on a mural so close to John James Audubon’s grave.”
Watch one of the recent murals be painted, across the street from John James Audubon's final resting place:
Swallow-tailed Kite (and others), by Lunar New Year
Climate Threat: The outline of the mural depicts the Swallow-tailed Kite, a bird that is projected to lose 70 percent of its summer habitat, according to the Audubon Birds and Climate Change Report. Depicted inside the kite is a composite of 12 other birds, each threatened by climate change: Scarlet Tanager, American Kestrel, Black-and-white Warbler, Tree Swallow, Northern Harrier, Magnolia Warbler, Yellow-bellied Sapsucker, Golden Eagle, White-throated Sparrow, Ring-billed Gull, Common Raven, and Baltimore Oriole. Learn more about the threats these species face at climate.audubon.org.
Location: 575 W. 155th St., New York, NY 10032, just east of the northeast corner of 155th St. and Broadway. The mural is painted on the entire west side of The Stella, a pioneering low-income housing building owned and operated by Broadway Housing Communities, and it is across the street from John James Audubon’s grave site, which is in the Trinity Church Cemetery at 155th Street, between Broadway and Amsterdam.
Painted: September 25th - October 2, 2015.
About the Artist: Lunar New Year is an artist, muralist, and interloper defined by borders and hybridity. His artwork and murals question politics, injustice, and cross-cultural identity by making visible the stories that are often left invisible and silenced. His iconography spans a wide combination of mythology, portraiture, and secular signifiers. LNY is also an educator, organizer, and public speaker for such projects as Young New Yorkers in Brooklyn, Yollocalli Arts Reach in Chicago, and City Without Walls in Newark.
He was raised within the duality of Ecuador and the USA, currently living and working in Newark, N.J., as well as worldwide. You can learn more on his website, or follow him on Instagram.
The Artist on the Mural: “It’s a depiction of urgency, showing 12 bird species under threat of extinction due to climate change. The composition plays homage to Audubon’s work by replicating his Swallow-Tailed Kite painting that encapsulates the flock of endangered birds.”
Black-throated Blue Warbler, by minusbaby
Climate Threat: None of the Black-throated Blue Warbler’s summer range is expected to remain stable by 2080, according to Audubon’s Birds and Climate Change Report. Learn more about the threats these species face at climate.audubon.org.
Painted: October 11, 2015
Location: 3637 Broadway, New York, NY, 10031 — on Broadway between 149th and 150th.
About the Artist: Richard Alexander Caraballo, a.k.a. minusbaby, was born in New York City in 1975 and raised in its Lower East Side and Spanish Harlem neighborhoods. He studied at and dropped out of the Cooper Union’s art school in the mid-1990s. In the years since, he has built a strong reputation as an influential and exhibiting pixel artist, internationally recognized lo-fi electronic musician, and medium-defying collaborator. He lives in the Bronx with his wife and their two cats, Mista Lou and Pilot Supreme.
The Artist on the Bird: “I chose a Black-throated Blue Warbler because they travel from the northeastern United States to the Caribbean once the weather gets a bit too cold; a parallel to my grandmother’s trips from NYC to her native Puerto Rico and back in the 1970s though the 1980s. The symbols—at once familiar, but essentially indecipherable—reference its calls and song. I have a thing for black, white and blue, too.”
Allen’s Hummingbird, by Socky
Climate Threat: By 2080, the Allen’s Hummingbird is expected to lose 90 percent of its current range, according to Audubon’s Birds and Climate Change Report. Learn more about the threats these species face at climate.audubon.org.
Location: 101 Edgecombe Ave, New York, NY 10030 — on Edgecombe between 139th and 140th streets.
Painted: May 30, 2015
About the Artist: Socky, born Joshua Goody Garcia, is a Sunset Park, Brooklyn, native. He is an artist inspired by dreams of American Folk Art, Jesus, and Elvis. His artistic dialog takes place through drawing, acrylic painting, and wood carving. Socky is influenced by the work of Howard Finster, Pablo Picasso, Tattoo Artist Little Joe, and many others. By trade Socky is a professional silk screen printer in Red Hook, Brooklyn. When he is not making art, he is submerged in the ultimate fishing story, Moby Dick, as well as Western films, Game Of Thrones, and the poetry of Bob Dylan. Ultimately, Socky strives for peace and prosperity. Follow him on Instagram.
The Artist on the Bird: “The courtship flight of the male Allen’s Hummingbird is a frantic back-and-forth flight arc of about 25 ft (7.6 m) similar to the motion of a swinging pendulum, followed by a high-speed dive from about 100 ft (30 m).”
Purple Finches, by Max Kauffman
Climate Threat: The Purple Finch is predicted to have to move north, away from its current habitat, thanks to climate change. By 2080, only 11 percent of its current summer range and 41 percent of its winter range is predicted to stay stable. (Learn more about how climate change threatens this bird.)
Mural Location: 130 Hamilton Place, New York, NY, 10031 — on Hamilton Place between 142nd and 143rd streets.
Painted: May 13, 2015
About the Artist: Max Kauffman is an artist currently residing in Oakland, California. He grew up “going between the woods of South Bend, Indiana, and the best city in the world, Chicago,” he writes. “This back and forth continues in my work with conscious, realized line work coupling with abstract mark making. That moment of potential, that feeling of the unknown, is the foundation of my work thanks to years of traveling—staying open to possibility while maintaining a plan, a dystopian harmony between what is and what could be.”
The Artist on the Bird: “I used to draw small finches years ago so it was fun to revisit. I’d never painted on a roll down—fun challenge! My work went more textural than normal, and it was a great night to paint and see Harlem.”
Common Tern, by Laura Ramón Frontelo
Climate Threat: By 2080, the Common Tern’s summer range could shrink by up to 80 percent, the climate report predicts. (Learn more about how climate change threatens this bird.)
Mural Location: 3632 Broadway, New York, NY, 10031 — on Broadway between 149th and 150th.
Painted: May 6, 2015
About the Artist: Laura Ramón Frontelo is a Spanish artist whose works are exhibited in both private and corporate collections. A graduate of the Central Saint Martins School of Arts in London, she has exhibited internationally in renowned galleries such as the Royal Academy of Arts (London), the Horta Gallery (Brussels), Herbert Read Gallery (Canterbury), the Horsebridge Gallery (Whitstable), Granary Building (London), Candids Arts Gallery (London), and Bermondsey Gallery (London) among others. For more information, check out her website.
The Artist on the Mural: “I like adding color to things. So I just took the black tern and gave it my colorful touch.”
House Finch, by Mr. Mustart
Climate Threat: The House Finch’s summer range could shrink by as much as 69 percent by 2080, according to the climate report. (Learn more about how climate change threatens this bird.)
Mural Location: 3764 Broadway, New York, NY, 10032 — between 156th and 157th
Painted: October 18, 2016
About the Artist: Mr. Mustart, originally from Russia, has been working out of northern New Jersey for the past 15 years. He graduated from New Jersey City University with a BFA in painting and drawing. Mustart has been gracing the walls of the New York tri-state area with murals, in addition to showing in group and solo shows. Though he works primarily in an urban environment, Mustart never fails to notice the natural world around him and incorporates that into his work. Follow him on Instagram.
The Artist on the Bird: “The bird I picked was mainly chosen for aesthetic reasons—I like the way the House Finch looks. However, in painting the mural, I was educated by the members of the Society about the troubled future this bird is facing. It’s a beautiful bird, and I wish I could help it. For now, raising awareness is the least I can do.”
Black-chinned Hummingbird, by Ashli Sisk
Climate Threat: The Black-chinned Hummingbird is thought to already be moving north and east in response to climate change. Only 27 percent of the bird’s current summer range is expected to stay stable by 2080, the climate report predicts. (Learn more about how climate change threatens this bird.)
Mural Location: 601 W. 149th Street, New York, NY — 149th Street between Broadway and Riverside Drive
Painted: May 16, 2015
About the Artist: Ashli is a recent transplant to New York City from San Francisco. Her background is in anthropology and metaphysics, and veterinary medicine. She has exhibited in San Francisco, New Jersey, New York, Brooklyn, and London. Recently, she has been working on The Odd Toe and Horn Project, which is largely concerned with Sumatran Rhinos and the rainforests in which they live. She received her bachelor’s degree from the San Francisco Art Institute, where she earned The Partnership Scholarship, The Ivan Majdrakoff grant, and the Gamblin Paint Prize. In 2013 she completed a six-month residency at Brooklyn Art Space. Follow Ashli on Tumblr, Facebook, or her website.
The Artist on the Bird: “The Black-chinned Hummingbird lives on the edge, flower to flower, at a breakneck speed much like the people of New York. They also perform the important role of pollinator, and I wanted to call attention to that role, and how the diversity of blooming plants hinges on birds, bees, butterflies, and bats.”
American Redstart, by James Alicea
Climate Threat: The climate report predicts that just 11 percent of the American Redstart’s summer range will remain the same by 2080. The highly migratory bird may be able to adapt, but only if the plants and insects they rely on move north, too. (Learn more about how climate change threatens this bird.)
Mural Location: 3612 Broadway, New York, NY, 10031 — on Broadway between 148th and 149th streets.
Painted: March 28, 2014
About the Artist: James Alicea is a born and bred New York City graphic designer and artist. Alicea, who also paints under the name BlusterOne, is a graduate of the acclaimed High School of Art & Design (NYC graffiti Mecca) and received a BFA from the Columbus College of Art & Design in Columbus, Ohio. He has co-founded the successful graffiti-inspired clothing brand PNB Nation and the Japanese clothing brand AndSuns, and is a long-time member of the art collective The Barnstormers. In 2011 he co-founded the private art studio and community art hub 596ArtistUnion.
The Artist on the Bird: “I chose this bird initially because of its high contrast flat graphic color blocks, but as I looked further I discovered this bird is a superb migratory bird, almost nomadic and goes where the food is. I relate to this bird because, like it, I am always on the move.”
Brown Pelicans, by Jason Covert
Climate Threat: Much of the bird’s winter range is projected to move north by 2080, away from the coastline on which the bird relies. The Brown Pelican’s winter range may shrink by as much as 54 percent by then. (Learn more about how climate change threatens this bird.)
Mural Location: 601 W 149th Street, New York, NY, 10031 — on 149th between Broadway and Riverside.
Installed: March 16, 2015
About the Artist: Brooklyn-based artist Jason Covert was born in 1974 between a harbor and a marsh on Cape Cod. Having lived in Boston, San Francisco, Tasmania, and Portugal, Jason landed in New York City in the year 2000. Striving to become a recognized artist, Covert found himself sleeping in doorways, his car, and on the couches of friends and acquaintances. After years of considerable struggle, Covert has come to enjoy a sizable clientele of collectors that literally span the globe. For more, please visit: www.jasoncovert.com, or follow the artist on Instagram @jhcovert.
The Artist on the Bird: “One has but to watch the Brown Pelican (or its species mates) perform its graceful feeding dives to understand how poetic an animal it truly is. As a Cape Codder, I have spent countless hours sitting by the sea, and as such, have long been a fan. It was an honor to work with this bird’s image.”
Black Vultures, by Marthalicia Matarrita
Climate Threat: Audubon’s climate model projects that only 41 percent of the Black Vulture’s current breeding range will remain stable by 2080. Cold winter temperatures may prevent the bird from heading north. (Learn more about how climate change threatens this bird.)
Mural Location: 3627 Broadway, New York, NY, 10031 — on Broadway between 149th and 150th streets.
Painted: November 22, 2014
About the Artist: Born and raised in Harlem, Marthalicia Matarrita studied Fine Art at the State University of New York at New Paltz. Matarrita is well known in the New York City street art scene, painting murals around the city and participating in many live art performances. For more, follow the artist on Instagram @marthalicia.
The Artist on the Bird: “I found that this particular bird gets many negative reactions from people. Not many people understand that its natural survival methods are not predatory—they’re scavengers. They are ones that have the leftovers. Every animal has a role to play and the vulture plays an intricate role in the cycle of life. Helps me sympathize to other beings that struggle daily to live.”
Wild Turkey, by N. Soala
Climate Threat: This bird is already moving northward—and thanks to climate change, it may have to move faster. The Wild Turkey may lose 87 percent of its current winter range by 2080. (Learn more about how climate change threatens this bird.)
Mural Location: 3629 Broadway, New York, NY, 10031 — on Broadway between 149th and 150th streets.
Painted: November 25, 2014
About the Artist: N. Soala cut his teeth in the capital of weird, Tucson, Arizona, and strengthened and solidified in the capital of capitals, New York, New York. N. Soala seeks to create an orderly visual diagnosis of chaotic city life. Follow him @theblorstoftimes.
The Artist on the Mural: “The mural is based on a short story by Roald Dahl called ‘The Magic Finger,’ which stresses our effect on the planet, and that we need to be more empathetic. How would we feel if we were on the other side of the food chain?”
Check out another one of N. Soala’s NYC bird murals:
Common Loon, by Kristian Glynn
Climate Threat: Audubon’s climate model predicts that by the turn of the century, the Common Loon could summer north of Minnesota, thanks to a shifting range. (Learn more about how climate change threatens this bird.)
Mural Location: 601 West 149th Street, New York, NY, 10031 — on 149th Street between Broadway and Riverside Drive.
Installed: November 9, 2014
About the Artist: Australian artist Kristian Glynn has become adept at making work with readily available materials. He paints, draws, sculpts, and integrates text, continuing to push the boundaries of expressing his own emotional vulnerabilities. Glynn has had seven solo and numerous group shows, and has been employed as both an art teacher and an art therapist. He is currently living in Melbourne, Australia, after many years spent in the UK and Japan. For more, please visit: www.kristianglynn.com, or follow the artist @kristianglynn.
The Artist on the Bird: “I had been looking for a flightless bird, but the Common Loon was a perfect fit for me, as I often incorporate text into my work, and I just loved the somewhat oxymoronic name.”
Mallard, by Graham Preston
Climate Threat: By 2080, the Mallard could lose up to 75 percent of its current summer range. (Learn more about how climate change threatens this bird.)
Mural Location: 601 West 149th Street, New York, NY 10031 — on 149th Street between Broadway and Riverside Drive.
Installed: October 28, 2014
About the Artist: Graham Preston was formerly a master surfboard shaper and avid East Coast surfer who abandoned his craft and became a full-time artist. He studied under Tom Sanford and Julie Heffernan at Montclair State University, where he received his BFA, and is a proud grad-school dropout of the Brooklyn College MFA program. For more, please visit: hasartenterprises.artspan.com.
The Artist on the Bird: “Being born on the Delaware River, Mallards were like my wild pets—I used to dangle my feet off the edge of my grandfather’s dock and throw feed to the ducks. When I discovered that these plentiful and gorgeous animals were in real danger of losing important segments of their habitat, I was shocked. When they see it, I hope folks say ‘Even the Mallard?! Really?!’”
Cerulean Warbler, by Tom Sanford
Climate Threat: Perched on John James Audubon's shoulder is a Cerulean Warbler, a small bird that is projected to lose 98 percent of its current breeding range by 2080. (Learn more about how climate change threatens this bird.)
Mural Location: 601 West 149th Street, New York, NY 10031 — on 149th Street between Broadway and Riverside Drive.
Installed: October 28, 2014
About the Artist: Tom Sanford is a Harlem-based artist whose work is exhibited extensively in museums and galleries around the world. Sanford was born in Bronxville, New York, in 1975. He received a BA from Columbia University and a MFA from Hunter College. He is currently preparing for an exhibition at Galleri S.E in Bergen, Norway, while trying to raise his two children with his wife, Alexsandra Lloyd. For more, please visit tomsanford.com or newmaoseum.com, or follow him @uberkunst.
Rusty Blackbird, by Taylor McKimens
Climate Threat: The Rusty Blackbird needs bogs to survive, but climate change may push the bird northward, away from its preferred conditions. (Learn more about how climate change threatens this bird.)
Mural Location: 3621 Broadway, New York, NY 10031 — on Broadway between 149th and 150th streets.
Painted: November 2, 2014
About the Artist: Taylor McKimens was born in 1976 in Winterhaven, California, and lives and works in New York. He studied at Art Center College of Design in Pasadena, California. McKimens has exhibited extensively, notably at Deitch Projects, New York; Macro Museum, Rome; The Watari Museum of Art, Tokyo; The Hole, New York. For more, please visit: www.mckimens.com, or follow him @taylormckimens.
Watch a time-lapse of the next two murals being painted:
Bald Eagle, by Peter Daverington
Climate Threat: The national symbol of the United States is projected to lose 73 percent of its current breeding range by 2080. (Learn more about how climate change threatens this bird.)
Mural Location: 3623 Broadway, New York, NY 10031 — on Broadway between 149th and 150th streets.
Painted: October 19, 2014
About the Artist: Peter Daverington is a painter and musician from Melbourne, Australia, currently living and working in Beacon, New York. He completed an MFA at the Victorian College of the Arts, University of Melbourne, and has held 13 solo exhibitions since 2004. Daverington has been commissioned to paint public murals in Argentina, Australia, China, Egypt, Germany, Guatemala, and Turkey. For more, please visit www.peterdaverington.com.
The Artist on the Bird: “I chose the Bald Eagle because they have such powerful, wise, and enigmatic heads. It’s also the symbol for America—my new adopted home—and represents freedom, strength, truth, and justice. When the Bald Eagle became the national symbol in 1782, there were 100,000 breeding pairs in the United States. That dipped to just 417 in 1963, thanks to hunting, deforestation, and DDT. Today, thanks to conservation efforts, there are 7,066 breeding pairs. Thankfully, this great bird lives on.”
Tundra Swan, by Boy Kong
Climate Threat: The Tundra Swan is expected to lose 61 percent of its current winter range by 2080, thanks to climate change. (Learn more about how climate change threatens this bird.
Mural Location: 3631 Broadway, New York, NY 10031 — on Broadway between 149th and 150th streets. 'Painted: October 19, 2014
About the Artist: Making art described as “eye candy” by one critic, Boy Kong (b. 1993, Orlando, Florida) is one of the rising stars of the growing art scene in Florida. A self-taught artist, Boy is often inspired by Asian folklore and traditions, and his works are fused with a surrealistic sensibility. Some of his recent work includes a solo show at Gitler &_____ (New York), and murals created for Rag & Bone, and Secret Walls/The L.I.S.A. Project. For more, please visit boykongart.com or follow him @boykong.
The Artist on the Bird: “Swans don’t seem like they have enough attitude, and I wanted to give the bird some flare and color!”