News Animals Artist's Flowing Murals Of Wildlife Energize City Walls Inspired by nature, Fio Silva's dynamic artworks are larger than life. By Kimberley Mok Kimberley Mok Twitter Writer McGill University Cornell University Kimberley Mok is a former architect who has been covering architecture and the arts for Treehugger since 2007. Learn about our editorial process Updated May 17, 2021 12:01PM EDT Fact checked by Haley Mast Fact checked by Haley Mast LinkedIn Harvard University Extension School Haley Mast is a freelance writer, fact-checker, and small organic farmer in the Columbia River Gorge. She enjoys gardening, reporting on environmental topics, and spending her time outside snowboarding or foraging. Topics of expertise and interest include agriculture, conservation, ecology, and climate science. Learn about our fact checking process Fio Silva Share Twitter Pinterest Email News Environment Business & Policy Science Animals Home & Design Current Events Treehugger Voices News Archive The overwhelming drabness and grittiness of cities can make a lot of urban dwellers yearn for more green spaces and more nature—or at least, an artistic semblance of it. Maybe that's why many cities around the world are beautifying their cheerless walls covering them with large-scale murals. These enormous works of urban art run the gamut from depicting themes about politics or local communities to others that might recall time-honored traditions or those that use recycled materials or engage the public physically in some way. Hailing from Villa Tesei, one of the agglomerated neighborhoods in the greater urban region of Buenos Aires, Argentina, muralist and illustrator Fio Silva adds transformative punches of vibrant color and movement to the walls that she touches—much of it inspired by nature. Fio Silva Adorning walls in Argentina, Albania, Germany, Greece, the United Kingdom, and beyond, Silva's vivid avian and floral forms are often embued with bold colors, and further defined with flowing lines to create a sense of dynamic movement. The result is a rainbow-like burst of motion that animates what would otherwise be a dismally flat wall. Fio Silva As Silva explains to Treehugger, the message in her art can be found in its free-flowing character, which can be transmitted to the viewer: "I think the idea that interests me the most is that of movement and strength. I like working with animals, especially birds, and mixing them with organic figures. I try to make it something that beyond attracting attention for its colors or scale, it also does it for something that can 'be read', that tells you something or provokes that movement. Many times I use birds, which due to their physiognomy or behavior in their habitat, I can assimilate them as states of mind. I am interested in painting something that mixes the figurative and the realistic with something more fanciful or exaggerated." Fio Silva Having won an international street art talent competition some years ago, then touring Europe and taking part in the women street artists' festival Femme Fierce, Silva nevertheless says that she came upon her large-scale vocation almost by accident: "I started painting murals because a friend gave me some spray cans for my birthday. And with that, I went to paint on the street for the first time, out of curiosity and to try to paint something on a new scale. At that time I was drawing a little too, but I was also studying audiovisual design, so I went to try. Then I started looking for walls in my neighborhood and started painting with brushes and rollers. People in my neighborhood, Villa Tesei, enthusiastically gave up their walls to paint them and there I fell in love with painting in the public space." Fio Silva Silva is particularly careful with the colors that she chooses to include in an artwork, as certain colors will either help to "intensify" or "subdue" the mood that she wants to convey, channeling a power that can transport the viewer from the humdrum surroundings of the city and into the natural realm as manifested by this artist's vision. Fio Silva Silva's murals are at once both depictions of a stylized and re-imagined version of nature, yet they also skilfully bring the essential forces of nature alive in the big city. As Silva says: "There is no place that I love to paint more than the streets. I think it is the best place to express what I do, because it’s public and everyone has access to see what you do. To change the colour, shape and the content of a wall is mind-blowing." Fio Silva Beautiful art that enlivens cities should be a public good, and it's heartening to see artists that passionately believe in this idea and are actively working to make it a reality. To see more and to follow up on her future murals, paintings and illustrations, visit Fio Silva on Instagram.