Massive Wall of Birds is the first mural depicting all modern bird families (Video)

Shailee Shah
© Shailee Shah

The wonderful world of birds, painted in life size and all together on a huge 2,500-square-foot wall.

Birds are a fascinating bunch: colourfully diverse, entrancingly vocal, and unrivalled migrators over large swaths of this great planet. Now a huge mural over at the Cornell Lab of Ornithology is paying homage to 270 of the world's various feathered species, painted life-size and in brilliant colour.

Done by artist Jane Kim of Ink Dwell, the massive Wall of Birds stretches 100 feet by 40 feet, and took Kim two and a half years to complete. Kim, who originally studied at Rhode Island School of Design, had some experience as a decorative painter. Later on, as she was charting a new career path in science illustration and interning at the Cornell Lab of Ornithology, the director of the lab suggested that she take on the epic project.

Jennifer Campbell-Smith© Jennifer Campbell-Smith

Each bird on the 2,500-square-foot Wall has been painstakingly sketched out, using various references and the details examined by bird experts before a charcoal sketch was transferred onto the wall. According to Fast Company, Kim also made sure that the colours were correct:

To ensure she was getting accurate colors and a uniform palette, Kim created what she calls her Avian Pantone chart with colors like Finch Feet (a peachy mauve), Albatross Light (a light grayish blue) and Saddle-Billed Stork Legs (dark gray). The most frequent color used was Cassowary Neck, a kind of soft ocean blue. “It’s in every single living bird that is painted on that wall,” she says. The mural also includes extinct species that are painted in a ghostly gray scale.

Ink Dwell© Ink Dwell

Ink Dwell© Ink Dwell

Ink Dwell© Ink Dwell

Ink Dwell© Ink Dwell

Ink Dwell© Ink Dwell

It is the only mural in the world that showcases all the modern families of birds in one space. The story behind the Wall's creation is now also being told by Kim and her husband and collaborator Thayer Walker in book form, in addition to offering deeper insights into the evolution of birds, and of the process of balancing scientific accuracy with artistic expression.

Ink Dwell© Ink Dwell

Ink Dwell© Ink Dwell

It's all on the wall: a hugely inspiring work that urges us to not only appreciate the finer details of birds, but to also make the connections between these wondrous forms of life -- and indeed, between all forms of life on earth. To see more, visit Ink Dwell, check out the book, visit the interactive Wall of Birds website and Cornell Lab of Ornithology.

Massive Wall of Birds is the first mural depicting all modern bird families (Video)
The wonderful world of birds, painted in life size and all together on a huge 2,500-square-foot wall.

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