Graffiti artist Mantra is livening up cities with magnificent nature murals. The France-based self-taught painter adorns the sides of buildings and walls with huge murals, and butterflies are a common motif in his work — which has brightened up spaces in France, Colombia, and Austria, to name a few. He unveiled the multi-story butterfly murals seen above at the recent Festival Asalto 2017 in Zaragoza, Spain.
Nature, butterflies, and books often take center stage in Mantra’s lifelike artwork. He’s painted several butterfly murals where the insects appear as three-dimensional mounted specimens surrounded by frames as might be seen in a museum. Other murals feature women with butterfly tattoos, holding butterflies, or wearing blouses with a butterfly print.
La Reina del Rio (lost tape) #Bogotá Nov 2015 Drone : @kozmo_films Music : @roccaeloriginal – Con la Luna Album Bogotá/Paris Illustrated from a picture of @juliatrotti Model : @kristinasrzich Gracias a mis hermanos @ospeninkcrew @dexsink y @oxmesoleuno . #freehand #graffiti #spraycanart #noprojector #nojoke
Butterflies aren’t the only creatures Mantra brings to life. He’s painted a snake, a bird, a grasshopper, an owl, and a cat. He often paints women outside in nature, but one striking mural features a woman reading among dozens of books on shelves. What appear to be stingrays and an owl keep her company in the piece entitled “Curiosity feeds Imagination.”
Earlier this year, Street Art United States spoke with Mantra, who’s been creating street art since 2008. They reported he doesn’t use a projector or grid, but sketches out his work freehand. Mantra said he spent as much time as he could outside as a kid, and that frogs, owls, foxes, and reptiles were his superheros. He said he found “a sense of belonging, and a way of self-expression” in graffiti.
Mantra also gave advice for aspiring artists in the interview, saying, “Remind yourself that you are here, alive, and all the small lessons hiding in small things surrounding us feed our imagination.”
Images via Mantra on Facebook