Many birds are known for their fantastic plumage, while others remain underappreciated. Los Angeles-based artist Adele Renault uses city-dwelling pigeons as the muse for kaleidoscopic murals of detailed feathers. The ongoing series, called Gutter Paradise, decorates building façades across the globe with joyous colors and shapes.
Renault is originally from Ardennes, Belgium, where she grew up on a farm. “I was raised in a family of musicians and was drawing for as long as I can remember,” Renault tells My Modern Met. “I’ve always been interested in painting and in graffiti. Murals are what comes in the middle I guess. It’s a natural evolution if you come from a graffiti background and spend most of your time creating paintings.” During her early travels, the artist experimented with various mediums, such as oil and spray cans. She uses the former to create her striking outdoor designs.
“The inspiration [for Gutter Paradise] comes from pigeon feathers,” she continues. “I started painting pigeons because I am always interested in showing beauty where you least expect it. I wanted to emphasize the peacock-like iridescence of pigeon feathers, of those flying rats living in the gutter. Hence the name for the series.” Each mural is “zoomed-in” on the detail of plumage, capturing the subtle transition of different colors, textured lines, and light and shadow. “I started zooming in more and more on the neck feathers until a ‘detail' became the main subject. That’s how this series was born,” Renault adds.
While at first, Gutter Paradise included more realistic representations of pigeon feathers, the series went through a change during the COVID-19 pandemic. “The more colorful rainbow palette evolved during the second lockdown I think,” Renault explains. “It was maybe a subconscious way to bring colors and joy into a winter that was looking very grim for many. It is also me having fun with moving away from reality.” Many of her newest murals can be seen in different areas of LA.
Belgian artist Adele Renault paints kaleidoscopic murals of feathers.
The series—entitled Gutter Paradise—shines a light on the underappreciated beauty of pigeon plumage.