Xenz – Hummingbird
Estimated number: 34 species (10%) threatened with extinction
Population trend: Decreasing
Location: North, South,and Central America; and islands of the Caribbean
Why are they under threat?
Historically hummingbirds were killed for their feathers, today they face different but equally devastating problems. Habitat loss and destruction are the hummingbird’s main threats. As hummingbirds are often specially adapted to each unique habitat, each species of hummingbird currently listed as vulnerable or endangered on the IUCN red list are all threatened due to habitat destruction and loss.
Climate change is affecting hummingbird migratory patterns, causing different species to be spotted in locations well outside their normal range, where it may be harder for them to find food.
What can you do?
Support the conservation efforts of the World Land Trust.
Interview with Xenz
A few years ago, I did an exhibition about the most critically endangered birds, I was saddened by how many were hummingbirds. How do you decipher which species you reference and do you ever research the species itself?
I really enjoy the journey of discovery that birds have lead me on, it relates heavily to graffiti in my world. When I see a tag or a piece I like to find out more about who did it and this is the same when I see a bird or flower or tree I want to find out what it is where it comes from. I’m a rubbish bird spotter and I rarely correctly identify a piece or a tag. Sometimes the details can kill the fun. I like to think that my art is a response and an expression that encompasses all aspects of the world we inhabit and beyond. It’s not just about nature or just about birds. Occasionally I may feature a specific species in my paintings but more often the bird is made up with the colours I have at hand. It’s not so important to me that its exact, I want it to convey imagination and beauty leaving the viewer to derive what they want from the picture. This I suppose is similar to bird spotting when at first glance you’re never quite sure what you’re seeing.
I have this vision that if a client knows that the painting they have just bought depicts an endangered animal that they will tell the animals story when they are showing their friends the art. What are your thoughts on this?
Art as a way of life or a career is both a challenge and a blessing. It’s always amazing when my art can give something back with charity or in this respect just to convey the plight of an endangered species to an audience who wouldn’t necessarily be aware. Although a picture can be interpreted in many ways which is why I enjoy painting. I never think my art can save the world I just do what I love and experiment crossing different disciplines. Hopefully people who encounter my paintings may learn something about street art or nature that they never knew or expected to find. Saying that, I do think it’s important not to just preach to the converted, an artist should push the boundaries.
You haven’t been painting outside so much recently, do you miss it? Do you think that painting outdoors helps to raise an artist’s profile?
I paint outside as much as possible so I don’t miss it, it’s not like I have made a decision to only paint inside. I always have the urge to do something big on a wall I do it because I enjoy it. I think painting in the streets is great if that’s how the artist wants to present their work. I really enjoy working with many different mediums, as long as I’m creating something and my ideas are getting me up in the morning that’s all that matters to me.