Scientific illustrator Jane Kim (of Ink Dwell) spent over 16 months painting one member from each of the world’s 243 modern bird families. To make this feat even more impressive, Kim painted the individual birds to scale in her 40-foot by 70-foot mural. It all began when she was interning at the Cornell Lab of Ornithology and the program’s director approached her with this in-depth idea. Immediately, the artist agreed to take on this exhaustive venture and, along the way, she developed a unique relationship with each bird she painted. Kim explains, “When starting a bird, I begin with the eye. Not only does it anchor the animal and inform the rest of the shape–it gives the bird life, a personality.”
In addition to painting all the birds we can see flying today, Kim also included 26 extinct species by depicting them as ghosted imagery. The disappearing technique adds a thought-provoking element to her mural, causing viewers to reflect on why and how these environmental changes have occurred. “Climate change, ocean acidification, deforestation, these are all huge issues, but really they’re just symptoms of a much larger problem: a flawed philosophy about our relationship with the natural world,” Kim told Juxtapoz. “Art can’t change the amount of carbon we’re putting into the atmosphere, but it can challenge and inspire us to change the way we think and behave–which is the only way we can begin to solve these massive problems.”
All photos via Ink Dwell.