“I want to inspire real change in the way we treat our environment. Making people aware that these birds exist is the first step. I like to paint birds that have a connection to the place where I paint them.”
ATM is a London-based street artist whose work has been spreading across the UK and Europe for several years, appearing initially on the walls of buildings on run-down housing estates. His first piece, a snipe painted in South Acton, highlighted the decline of this bird in southern England where it was once common in areas of marshland that would have existed in Acton before the spread of urban housing engulfed the landscape. Many of his pieces show birds that have vanished from the areas in which they are painted. Other projects include a painting of a male hen harrier at Shellness on the Isle of Sheppey to bring attention to the illegal killing of these birds on the many grouse moors across the country by moor owners. ATM is part of the Human Nature Art Show collective which, in 2015, created “Darwin’s Wonderland” at Leonard Lane in Bristol, a run down alleyway which had been popular with taggers. ATM was recently named one of the UK’s most influential conservationists by BBC Wildlife Magazine.
“Evolution tells us that birds aren’t designed but the process of creation came up with all this incredible beauty as well as functionality. I wonder why they appear to be so beautiful to our eyes. One of the reasons they develop that plumage is sexual selection but the question is, why do those subtle colours and contrast and touches of another colour look so beautiful and harmonious to us? They are invariably beautiful to human eyes as well as the eyes of other birds because we’re part of the same process. If they were as separate as we like to think then we wouldn’t recognize them as being so beautiful.”
The header image of a griffon vulture was painted in an Occupy movement community garden: Jardin Miravillas, Malasana, Madrid.