Street Artist Decorates 115-Foot Water Tower With Portraits of Local Birds

Mural by Taquen in Gien

Nestled along the Loire River in France, the town of Gien has a new landmark thanks to the skills of street artist Taquen. The Spanish artist spent nearly two weeks in July transforming one of the town's three water tanks into a piece of art. The result is a stunning monument that uses the artist's delicate color palette to incorporate a variety of birds into the cement facade.

It's hard to appreciate the enormity of the work from photographs, but standing over 115 feet tall, the tower presented a unique challenge for the muralist. “The most complicated parts of the process and the project were the weather and working on a circular building,” the artist tells My Modern Met. “On the one hand, the weather was very changeable—rain, wind, cold and sun in equal parts. We also had to finish on the indicated date and I had to paint under these conditions. On the other hand, technically and artistically the most complex thing was to design and paint a circular piece—which did not have a beginning or an end—that could be understood from any angle and keep the movement.”

Taquen conceived the project by looking at Gien's natural environment. Inspired by the Loire River and the wildlife it hosts, he focused on a variety of birds found in the area. This included ospreys, common terns, and gray herons that all take advantage of the river's resources.

“Water is essential for the development of the life of all these species,” he shared. “I used these birds to create the final design and provide all the movement that their flight generates to create the piece, which does not stop rotating, like the water cycle. The idea was to talk about the water reservoir's importance with respect to the fauna that inhabits the Loire Valley.”

The result is harmonious, with equal attention paid to all areas of the tower. This makes for a pleasing visual, as there is no bad angle to be had when viewing the work. As Taquen's gift to the citizens of the town, he hopes it imbues them with newfound pride about where they live.

Spanish muralist Taquen painted a 115-foot tall water tower along the Loire River in France.
Painted Water Tower in Gien by Taquen

Taquen Painting Water Tower in France Street Artist Painting a Water Tower Interior of Water Tower in Gien

He was inspired by the osprey, gray herons, and common terns that live in the area.

Painted Water Tower in Gien by Taquen Birds Painted on Water Tower in Gien Birds Painted on Water Tower in Gien

Taquen: Website | Facebook | Instagram

Images by Fabe Collage. My Modern Met granted permission to feature photos by Taquen.

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Jessica Stewart

Jessica Stewart is a Contributing Writer and Digital Media Specialist for My Modern Met, as well as a curator and art historian. Since 2020, she is also one of the co-hosts of the My Modern Met Top Artist Podcast. She earned her MA in Renaissance Studies from University College London and now lives in Rome, Italy. She cultivated expertise in street art which led to the purchase of her photographic archive by the Treccani Italian Encyclopedia in 2014. When she’s not spending time with her three dogs, she also manages the studio of a successful street artist. In 2013, she authored the book 'Street Art Stories Roma' and most recently contributed to 'Crossroads: A Glimpse Into the Life of Alice Pasquini'. You can follow her adventures online at @romephotoblog.
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