Painted: June 19, 2016
(This mural has since been removed.)
About the Bird: A noisy and gregarious nester, the Boat-tailed Grackle can be commonly found along the coast of the southeastern United States, where it tends to hang out in marshes and along beaches. In Florida it also lives much further inland. Although its range has expanded northward recently, with climate change the grackle is poised to lose as much habitat as it gains during the winter—and with 3 degrees Celsius of warming, lose 60 percent of its summer habitat, period. Given its coastal lifestyle, sea-level rise will also erode potential habitat.
About the Artist: Originally from New York City, Ezo Wippler was raised on the cusp of Puerto Rican spiritual culture contrasted against the cynicism and spectacle of modern American city life. He studied comic books with The Ramones, 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. He enjoyed painting the elegant grackle with its feldspar feathers, he says, and added context he felt appropriately reflected its dilemma. “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," he says. "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.”