Huge cuttlefish mural to be artist ATM’s first ever marine portrait

Friday 28th July 2017

Cuttlefish muralCredit:James Sheehy

The UK’s extraordinary marine life is being celebrated with a colossal mural of a cuttlefish to mark the start of National Marine Week which runs from Saturday July 29th to Sunday 13th August.

The outdoor painting will create a landmark in the historic seaside city of Portsmouth.

My painted walls call attention to the beauty and importance of living creatures that are so often overlooked, and whose needs are so often ignored

Artist ATM, who is creating the mural, is already well known for his striking wildlife street art, particularly birds. This is his first marine portrait, which will show a characterful cuttlefish on a wall donated for the artwork by Portsmouth City Council. The picture will take three days to paint, freehand, from a tall tower scaffold.

Aiming to highlight the exotic and unusual creatures found close to our coasts ATM says:
“Cuttlefish are masters of disguise, changing colour and skin patterns. 

As an artist I find them fascinating, they’re like living palettes of colour, and show that the waters around our coast are teeming with life as extraordinary as any found in tropical seas.”

The painting marks the beginning of National Marine Week during which The Wildlife Trusts are asking people to help the sea by pledging to:

  • Reduce, reuse, recycle! Say no to single-use plastics like straws, bags, cups and bottles which could end up in the sea. Think reusable instead!
  • Shop smart! Buy eco-friendly detergents and watch out for microbeads.
  • Pick it up! Pick up and bin five pieces of litter a day to stop it heading downstream to the sea. Think of the impact if everyone did the same.

Joan Edwards, Head of Living Seas at The Wildlife Trusts says:
“Cuttlefish remind us that diversity of marine life is precious; although some of our waters are protected, we need a network of ecologically coherent sites creating a ‘blue belt’ around the entire UK to support nationally important habitats and species.”

With eight arms around their face, two tentacles, and W-shaped eyes, cuttlefish resemble magical, mysterious creatures from an alien world. Their bodies shimmer and pulse with beautifully-coloured striking patterns. They can see backwards, as well as forwards, have three hearts, and blue-green blood

Artist ATM says:
“My painted walls call attention to the beauty and importance of living creatures that are so often overlooked, and whose needs are so often ignored. By bringing colour and beauty to neglected parts of our cities I hope to inspire people to get involved actively creating a better environment; transforming our cities, countryside and seas for the benefit of nature and wildlife, which will in turn benefit all of us.” 

Growing up in a northern mill town, ATM spent his childhood exploring moors, wooded river valleys and steep gorges around his home. Spellbound by birdsong and wildlife, those early experiences create the fusion of industrial, urban and nature in his art today.

National Marine Week celebrates the UK's seas and marine wildlife. This year’s theme is The Sea & Me and is exploring individual relationships with the sea, whether you live inland or on the coast. Spread across two weeks in order to take advantage of the tides Wildlife Trusts are running a host of fantastic marine events.