I really like these paintings of certain dwindling bird species which are specifically placed in urban settings. I like the combination of detailed bird markings against a plain, bold, coloured background. They are the work of street artist ATM, who grew up in the north surrounded by nature and who's primary artistic influence are birds, their songs, and markings.
One can clearly see the influence of or make links with well-known wild-life artists such as Audubon, Swain and perhaps the more recent avian lino-cuts of Robert Gilmour.
James John Audubon
William John Swainson
ATM also claims to be influenced by Greek and Roman mythology and the folly and consequence of certain human behaviours, and their influence upon the landscape. Like the Ghosts of Gone Birds project, ATM addresses the rapid decline in numbers and disappearance of certain bird species such as lapwings, skylarks and kestrels.
One of ATM’s first commissions was to paint a bird mural for Acton Community Forum which introduced art to the South Acton Estate in the form of a painted snipe. This part of London was once marshland so the intention was to return the spirit of the snipe to one of its traditional habitats.
More murals followed, and this year he began like other well-known street artists, to paint in and around the east end of London.
I really like the results of the paintings. They are an interesting document which bring much needed colour to the housing estates and other locations in which they are situated. I can only hope that the people who live on the estates where they are situated are as appreciative of these artworks. These bird paintings are also a timely and poignant reminder of the beauty that we are in danger of losing as we continue to expand and encroach upon their natural habitats.