Decorating for the holidays always makes me recognize the slow changes our home has undergone, as our love for birding has grown. Ten years ago, our tree was covered with ornaments from our childhood and mementos from trips taken together. Now it’s primarily covered in birds from the Cobane Studio bird ornament collection, with a handful of our favorites from the past.
This year it also made me reflect on the expanse or our bird-art wall and the artists Sara and I have enjoyed and been influenced by. Birding is a hobby that we enjoy year-round, but having some or our favorite depictions of our feathered-friends at a glance has been a joy over the many (many, many, many) days at home during 2020.
While our wall features art from several artists, I wanted to highlight a few of these inspiring artists who have held my attention and brightened my indoor-days, throughout the year.
– IG @natalia_rojas_art – Wingspan Artist
Sara and I met Natalia at the 2019 GenCon in Indianapolis. We are huge fans of the game Wingspan (previous blog on that here) and we were excited to meet the game creator, Elizabeth Hargrave, who was absolutely delightful. We were fortunate to spend some time talking with Natalia as well, about how she came to be involved in drawing birds as a self-taught artist. We, of course, shared our love for so many of her renditions of birds we had spent time observing. Little did we know that Natalia would be there along with a large number of, not just prints, but original Wingspan Art.
As of today, we have three original Wingspan pieces from Natalia — one from each of the game’s releases. The Anhinga from the original release; our spark bird. The Common Kingfisher from the European expansion; we have a wonderful memory of our lifer in Torino, Italy while walking along a canal with some good friends. And while we haven’t birded the area yet, we chose the Many-colored Fruit Dove from the latest Oceania expansion. So, it looks like a birding trip to Fiji is in the future, no matter how many days away that may be.
Matt Adrian AKA The Mincing Mockingbird
I stumbled upon The Mincing Mockingbird early in 2020 while scrolling through Instagram. Matt Adrian’s artwork has been featured online, in print, films and television. His wicked wit is clear from the title of his fourth published book of his bird artwork, HAD I BUT HANDS TO PUT ABOUT YOUR THROAT.
I purchased his postcard set from The Mincing Mockingbird shop. The Avocet and Wilson’s Warbler postcards are framed on our wall. It is a collection of 50 postcards with his striking art and seemingly odd titles, which may or may not have deeper meanings. Like a portrait of a Tree Swallow pair, entitled, She Drunkenly Approached Me In A Bar, Asked If I Would “Do Her A Rudeness” – And Your Mother And I Have Been Together Ever Since.”
Also, I highly recommend his “TROUBLED BIRDS” collection. These are are hilarious spins on how birds may think, if anthropomorphizing a bit. For example, the Mothers Day Card that says “I puke in my kids mouths,” or the simplistic depiction of a bird saying, “Eff All Y’all.” These may not be in good taste for everyone (my mom would not approve), but give The Mincing Mockingbird a view.
Mike Mitchell AKA SirMitchell
Based in Austin, TX, this artist caught my eye with his character portraits before I was aware of his bird art. He does phenomenal profiles of fictional characters and many of them are Star Wars. He also has created a whole universe of fun figures which are featured releases from time to time. Some “Mikeland” figures like “Skully”, an adorable nude skull-headed humanoid who causes mischief. And “Boxo II”, who is a smiling Box that typically has puppies or kitties climbing out of the top of it’s head.
And then his birds! Sir Mitchell’s “Fat Bird” collection is rotund interpretations of actual bird species. The Carolina Wren, a regular visitor to our yard, is the one “Fat Bird” we own. We do also have a sweet 3-inch-squared print of a bee that was too adorable not to purchase. One of the most interesting things Sir Mitchell does are his “Bastard” print releases. These are made by Mike tearing one of his prints in half and laying it on top of a different print to create a mash-up. This could be the top of one bird put on top of a different bird. Or, one of his recent releases included the top portion of a Darth Vader portrait on top of a portrait of The Joker.
Many of his pieces are highly sought and sell out shortly after being released. But, being a birder, you know I like a good chase.
Teagan White is self-described as “…an artist and outsider naturalist devoted to the flora and fauna of a planet in decline…influenced by years of living in the bleak Midwest and Great Lakes region.”
The connection to the Midwest is most likely the initial tie I felt to Teagan’s work. The images of plants and animals intertwined felt familiar, even when seeing them for the first time. The vivid depictions they portray evoke feelings of death and life among flora and fauna in a world, not bettered by humans.
I urge you to check out their work on Instagram and shop. Teagan also creates zines dedicated to species that include artwork and poetry. The currently sold-out zine on their website is, “OBITUARY: A ZINE FOR ANIMALS I’VE BURIED.”
Art for craft beer cans has a big influence on the buyer. Indiana City Brewing, in Indianapolis, is tapping into local artists with a team like no other, to supply eye-popping optics for their brews’ outerwear. Let me introduce the Craft Brew Doodle Crew.
The Craft Brew Doodle Crew is a collective of artists who, together, create other worlds filled with unique lifeforms. A “Musical chairs style creative collaboration while imbibing.” As you can imagine, this would be a tough thing to manage during a pandemic. But that is just what these innovative minds have done. With virtual sessions, they are still bringing some beautiful scenes to life.
Their latest collaboration is this month’s pairing. Hop Heros is a New England IPA with just a bit of haze (no lactose). Light and easy to drink, this double dry-hopped beer features Meridian, Amarillo, Mosaic and Eldorado hops which really brings the tropical-citrus aroma. Six super-hero style characters dawn the label. Vibrant colors, and shimmering inking brings vivacity to the scene.
If you would like to watch the doodle crew or join in yourself, check them out on Instagram @craftbrewdoodlecrew.
More information about the artists that worked on this piece, follow these stellar creatives on Instagram-
Beer Info –
Brewery – Indiana City Brewing Co.
Location – Indianapolis, IN
Beer – Hop Heroes
Style – New England IPA
ABV – 7.5%
Untappd Rating – 4.5