"From Doom to Boom" - Collin van der Sluijs

Image courtesy of the artist, Collin van der Sluijs. "From Doom to Boom". 2016.

Image courtesy of the artist, Collin van der Sluijs. "From Doom to Boom". 2016.

Collin was seeking information on endangered/threatened Chicago birds for his upcoming mural in Chicago located on a 9 story building on 1006 S. Michigan Avenue.  

I personally never knew how many incredible birds were migrating through Chicago until I did Migratory Bird Building Strike Rescue + Recovery a few years ago.  On 15 May 2013 a male Northern Parula that my trainer and I rescued from a building collision on Wacker Drive was treated and released later that day.  That little bird (approx 4.5 in long, 0.2–0.4 oz) was able to survive and to hopefully breed.  Some of the birds that migrate to and through Chicago travel from as far away as South America, but can continue to migrate all the way up to the Arctic Circle (and back again - every Spring and Fall)!  The experience became the catalyst for a whole body work exploring their beauty and patterning (bird who loves birds).  This is perhaps a backwards way to start birding...but I'm so grateful to be a part of their journey.  I started my research for Collin by reviewing articles and looking at my own existing fieldwork.  I also asked expert birders for their feedback on endangered/threatened birds and requested accounts of successful rebounds of Chicago birds.  

Collins powerful mural tells the story of a bird that was once common, but has now disappeared from Chicago, the Yellow-headed Blackbird.  His piece also highlights that the Red-headed Woodpecker is in need of conservation too - before it disappears from Chicago.  In recent years the numbers for Red-headed Woodpeckers have been better, especially in surrounding counties, which is promising.  Ultimately, Collin’s mural is very much about hope – “From Doom to Boom”.  Through awareness and conservation we can turn things around.  Look at the success of the Peregrine Falcon in Chicago.  Overall - there are record numbers of Peregrines in Illinois, which is amazing considering there were "no Peregrines by the 1960's because the species had been extirpated (wiped out regionally)".  Sadly though, we must never forget one of the most cautionary tales of extinction - the Passenger Pigeon.  At one time the Passenger Pigeon was the most most abundant bird in North America…however, they became extinct within 100 years.  Street art is truly artwork for the people because of its nature of accessibility. Collins work encourages connection because it is available for anyone to see.  And if you look up and around, especially during migration, there are also many different species of birds among us too. 

Thank you to Collin for creating an inspiring mural and for the wonderful experience of getting to know him and his work!

Jennifer

 

Big thank you's to Josh Engel + John Bates from the bird department at The Field Museum for showing us their collection!

Field Museum.jpg
Jennifer Hoffman + Collin van der Sluijs.

Jennifer Hoffman + Collin van der Sluijs.