Celebrating 10 Years Of The Manchester Blue Tit

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The Manchester Blue Tit is 10 years old. The giant bird, which adorns the side of a Victorian building in the Northern Quarter, attracts both tourists and locals who come to marvel at its sheer scale and beauty. It was painted over 3 days in November 2011 by street artist Faunagraphic and was originally only mean to stay up for 3 months.

Faunagraphic, aka Sarah Yates, was born in Blackburn in 1987 and spent much of her childhood in the Pennines in Yorkshire. She became interested in art at the age of 13 and at 15 got involved in the skateboarding and snowboarding scene, collecting stickers from urban clothing brands, and painting her skate decks.

Even then, nature and ecology were a big influence on her work with the patterns, shapes, and colours of everything from fungi to birds fascinating her.

In 2008 while she was studying graphic design at Leeds Beckett University she started spray-painting although she was patently aware how few women there were working as street artists in the UK.

In an interview with inews she said, “I could count how many active girls there were at the time – probably only 10, at most”

The male dominated industry didn’t deter her though and she began building her creative portfolio from her Sheffield base. Just 3 years later, Converse got in touch with her having found images of her street art birds online and asked her to work with them as part of their Wall to Wall campaign. The innovative project paired artists with walls in some of the world’s most culturally vibrant cities, including Naples, Barcelona, Chicago, and New York.

Converse selected a listed building overlooking a car park on Newton Street in the heart of the city’s trendy Northern Quarter for the Manchester mural. Originally constructed in the 1870s as a bowler hat factory, the building is now a budget hostel called Hatters Hostel and the company agreed that the mural could stay on the wall for 3 months.

And why did she choose a blue tit? In Faunagraphic’s own words:

“With growing up in the countryside, and being a regular visitor to the city.  I saw seeing how society was becoming more disconnected from nature.  People are not paying enough attention to smaller, rare species of flora and fauna… Who thinks for the blue tit? How many people a day might observe or see one… I think the future will have to allow nature into the city much more. Its happening now… slowly, But everything begins with a vision and hope, planting seeds of thought into upcoming generations…”

Faunagraphic collaborated with her partner Rocket01 and Manchester graffiti artist Ruse to complete the artwork in 3 days, working until midnight under floodlights. A film crew was flown over from Amsterdam to make a video of the team at work, the result of which was the brightly coloured bird perched on a dark green vine that follows the curves of the red brick wall.

Part of the brief from Converse was to include an interpretation of their iconic star or chevron and if you look closely, you can still spot the brand’s logo at the bottom of the mural.

Over the last decade, Faunagraphic has become recognised as one of the world’s most prominent urban nature graffiti artists, and an early influencer of the movement that has developed since then.

As well as nature and animals, her work also incorporates a mix of surrealism, fantasy, and female characters influenced by her childhood. She paints all over the world and in September 2020 painted a kestrel sitting on a magnolia tree on a building in Walthamstow as part of the London Mural Festival.

Kestrel And Magnolia Street Art

Kestrel And Magnolia Street Art

When she’s not painting, Faunagraphic can be found going on adventures and learning about plants. She also teaches spray painting to children in schools alongside Rocket01, aka Chris Butcher, who is now her husband.

To celebrate the 10 year anniversary, Faunagraphic has produced a limited edition print of the famous blue tit, photographed at night lit up by the floodlights under which it was painted. You can buy them over at her website along with other prints of both her street art and studio paintings.

This article was originally published by Birdspot.co.uk. Read the original article here..

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