The adaptations of stories derived from ancient tales and contorted to contemporary means are all around us. “It’s why we can watch eight iterations of the Batman in theaters. It’s why a Bart Simpson painting is always a hot commodity. Its why tomorrow is the start of something. It’s why we’ll go and fall in love again,” said artist and muralist Birdcap.
Birdcap’s first solo show Echo delves into the concept of repetition through the mythology. “As an artist in a genre where repetition is almost necessary for brand awareness, and even further, as yet another artist going to the well of Ancient Greece for content, I thought it an appropriate title,” said Birdcap.
Chicago Truborn’s owner Sara Dulkin was thrilled to showcase Echo at the gallery. “His work has a certain level of academic depth that can’t be overlooked. He puts a lot of time and effort into crafting the stories around his pieces. From ancient roman gods to Korean folklore and everything in between, Birdcap’s work is laced with meaning and historical context,” said Sara.
Sara was blown away by the overall result, “From pottery to masks to wood cutouts to prints and canvas originals, Birdcap has proven that he takes his career, and his debut solo show, seriously. Chicago Truborn is beyond honored to showcase this high caliber of artwork.”
Originally from Escatawpa, Mississippi, Birdcap and his destiny of street art met while he was teaching English in Seoul, South Korea. Since then he has traveled the globe creating distinct murals. I was able to interview him, and he graciously went into his show "Echo", his inspirations, his journey as a nomadic muralist, and more!
GXM: You’ve expressed your continuous appreciation/love for Chicago, making it a logical place for your first show. What about Chicago tugs at your heartstrings? Do you have favorite things to do or places to go when in Chicago?
BIRDCAP: I do love Chicago. It feels comfortable for some reason, and people show me a lot of love and that means a lot to me. I go see the Neofuturists perform every time I’m in town. Bother Sentrock a bit. And for sure, I couldn’t pick a better city to have a solo show.
GXM: You’ve stated that your work is inspired by Saturday morning cartoons. Favorite cartoon?
BIRDCAP: Ninja Turtles all the way.
GXM: You’re originally from a small town in Mississippi named Escatawpa. Your journey to explore new places/meet new people and be challenged by the exciting unknown seems self-explanatory. But what was your experience of growing up in a small town like?
BIRDCAP: It’s the only way I ever grew up, so it’s hard to describe other than normal.
Most people my age grew up during the debut of the household internet, so I’d say I was equally impacted by its cultural impact on my childhood, and probably more so in terms of how it influences the way I expect my art to reach people. We lost our home during Hurricane Katrina - I think losing everything makes it easier for you to uproot and move around so that maybe helped start the travel thing.
GXM: What influenced you in falling in love with traveling?
BIRDCAP: Murals sort of advocate that you travel. You don’t wanna get to the point that your side busting yourself, and if you stay in one place long enough, you sort of saturate the market. It’s fun to travel. Meeting people from all over the globe has an ability to give you hope in the world - and that’s tough to do sometimes.
GXM: Some of your major early influences being Mott, Dimz, 4blk, Sixcoin, Artime, and Junkhouse (who initiated you into the club by collaborating on a wall with you). What were the major elements of this scene that drew you in? And of the artists’ work?
BIRDCAP: It was in unexpected places, it was high quality, and it was mostly character-based. It was exciting to find a new piece from one of them somewhere or see the path they walked the night before with a can or a mop - I wasn’t seeing the fun in making art at a certain point after college, and their work reignited that fun. Painting outside in abandoned buildings just made it all worth it again.
GXM: What are 3 places you love returning to? What are 3 places on your wish list?
BIRDCAP: Chicago, Denver, Seoul. Want to paint in: Toronto, Mexico City, Athens.
GXM: You seem to have a preference for creating your work outside on huge, spanning walls with vivid colors and an irresistible joy. Why do you prefer creating murals and artwork outside in public spaces? Was it challenging to switch up from that to do a show entirely of your own in an enclosed gallery?
BIRDCAP: I’m a muralist first and foremost. Murals go in public spaces mostly - I don’t really think about doing anything else. I like spray paint. I like waking up and being outside and talking to people who are painting nearby. I like driving lifts and feeling like I know how to use big machines even though I’m not super confident on how to change a tire on my van.
I never knew people bought paintings. Where I’m from gallery shows are little birthday parties for yourself where your friends come and high five you and then you take all your work back home. Chicago Truborn sold a good bit of work from me over the years, and sort of got me on board to thinking gallery shows could be more than what I’d experienced down South.
GXM: Are there any other upcoming shows, murals, projects, or announcements we should look out for?
BIRDCAP: Designer Con with Sentrock and Lillipore - El Salvador for a mural - Art Basel in Miami - then Nepal with the Goof Troop (Max Sansing, Sydney James, Imagine876 and myself).
Thank you to Birdcap for his time and insight into his work.