1979 Birds

The Birds of Manhattan was my first large scale street art project. I painted over 40 hummingbirds in lower Manhattan below fourteenth street. Except Soho. There was enough art there.

I used acrylic paint and tiny brushes, layering and scumbling the paint, impressionist style, weaving bright complementary colors, trying to get the color to scintillate and glow like a real hummingbird. My birds weren’t specific types of hummingbirds: instead, like hummingbirds in real life, I let their plumage and anatomy adapt to their environment.

Each bird took about 2 hours. It seems difficult to believe now but when cops or supers caught me I never got in trouble. In fact, usually when they saw I was painting a hummingbird they’d let me finish.

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