#Whatliftsyou This hashtag has over 194K posts on Instagram. I am sure many of you have seen these famous interactive mural angel wings in numerous photos, or if you are lucky, in numerous places. Today, some of the faraway places they can be seen are Sydney, Hong Kong, Galway, Cape Town, and London. The first ever of these murals was done in New York City. One of the most famous shots of these wings was taken with Taylor Swift “wearing” them in Nolita. That photo was taken over five years ago, one week after the mural went up. As soon as Swift posted it on Instagram, it went viral. It had been on the wall just one week when Swift posed in front of it. And instantly, street artist, Kelsey Montague became famous. Swift became a huge fan, commissioning Montague to create a piece for her that included hidden clues to a new song.
Montague grew up in a family of artists. Her mom was a watercolorist and her grandfather was a painter and a jewelry maker. In his paintings, as a spiritual representation, her grandfather would include hidden birds. Montague grew up searching out these birds in his paintings. As a connection to her grandfather, in the first large scale piece of street art that she was commissioned to do, Montague knew immediately that she wanted it to be interactive wings.
Montague studied art in Florence then attended Richmond American University in London, where she received American and British degrees in Art, Design and Media. But it was Taylor Swift’s post that really put her on the map.
I have been following her on Instagram since I signed up for Instagram, and I find her posts to be so beautiful and inspiring. Follow her at: @kelseymontagueart
Photos—Top: Taylor Swift in front of Montague’s mural in NYC five years ago. Middle: The Instagram post for mural Swift commissioned Montague to paint in Nashville to reveal clues about a new song in 2019. Bottom: Montague and Swift in front of the completed mural.
By Mary Ellen