I painted this fun and quick mural for the awesome Calle Libre in Vienna. Thank you so much to the organisers for inviting me and for taking care of everything, it's been really nice to be part of the festival, make new friends and meet amazing artists. Thanks my assistant Michi for the help, and Jolly Schwarz for the photos.
Here's a text about the inspiration and meaning of the mural, for anyone who cares to read. This year’s Calle Libre theme being Cinco (5), and having just read Elizabeth Kolbert’s The Sixth Extinction a few months ago, I decided to illustrate the so called Big Five, the main mass extinctions in Earth’s history, through one representative species that found their demise in each of the five events.
So, for the Ordovician-Silurian Extinction I chose the graptolites, sea creatures whose demise was caused by an ice age that lowered sea levels.
For the Late Devonian, the most representative species are the trilobites, the most diverse and abundant of the animals that appeared in the Cambrian life explosion. The reason for their near demise was most likely the newly evolved land plants, that released nutrients in the ocean through their deep roots, which led to algal blooms that sucked the oxygen out of the water.
The Permian-Triassic extinction was the worst extinction event ever, and is known as The Great Dying. The Earth warmed, the oceans became acidic, and only 4% of all the species survived. One of the species that were lost in this period are the tabulate corals.
For the Triassic-Jurassic extinction, the exact cause remains enigmatic, but the most likely reasons were an asteroid impact, climate change, or flood basalt eruptions. The conodont is one of the species representative for this extinction event.
And the most famous one, The Cretaceous-Paleogene extinction, the one that brought the extinction of dinosaurs, through a combination of volcanic eruption, asteroid impact and climate change.
Thus the mural is about the fragility and randomness of life, and a reminder and warning that at the moment we are arguably living a sixth, man-made, extinction.