Hedgehogs are quite literally the talk of the town in Ipswich at the moment. In a plea to raise awareness about wildlife welfare in the area, an artist has been commissioned to paint a mural of this shy, often overlooked mammal.
Street Artist, ATM, has painted a vast mural of a hedgehog in profile on the gable end of an Ipswich pub. His work, a mural which can’t be missed, has received much acclaim from both local residents and individuals from further afield (if you’ll excuse the pun).
The mural may look sweet, however the message is strong. The work is meant to signify the importance of these small but significant animals to Ipswich and the UK’s wider wildlife and ecosystems. On their website, the Suffolk Wildlife Trust confirms that the recently unveiled image both honours “Ipswich as a Hedgehog Hotspot” and also publicises “Hedgehog Awareness Week”.
ATM has reportedly developed a name for himself within the art community for depicting images of endangered species in urbanised city or town settings. In their article on the project, the BBC reference ATM’s aspiration that the works encourage individuals to think more about their ever-threatened natural environment and in this instance, the humble hedgehog. He hopes it will urge people to “not use weed killers on their plants, not use slug pellets… think about hedgehogs’ needs,” the BBC article confirms.
The mural is part of a large scale project to help hedgehogs more generally. In 2016, the Suffolk Wildlife Trust created a new role, that of Hedgehog Officer, to be based in Ipswich to respond to the increased numbers of sightings of the animals in and around the area.
According to a BBC article on the subject, the Suffolk Wildlife Trust’s appointment of the Hedgehog Officer, was no small or easy task. The Trust was apparently inundated with applications from individuals from around the world. They finally settled, however, on Ms Alexandra North who studied Zoology and has been central to Ipswich’s hedgehog mural project.
Commissioning public art, such as this mural can have benefits that go far beyond adding to the artistic and visual landscape within a community, they can pack a serious message and raise awareness about significant issues and also act as a call to action. In the great graffiti art tradition, an important message can conveyed as well as being a fun and interactive medium.
To find out more about commissioning public art works by contemporary artists please contact us at Jessica@vedocorporateart.com.