The Artist Who Painted Taylor Swift's Butterfly Mural Has More Across the U.S., and They Are Absolutely Gorgeous
Swift says she commissioned Kelsey Montague because she painted one of her "favorite murals in New York."
Taylor Swift‘s favorite street artist painted a butterfly mural in Nashville to celebrate Swift’s new song “ME!” — but she has dozens more wing walls you can visit all over the country.
The “Look What You Made Me Do” singer asked muralist Kelsey Montague to paint a pair of colorful butterfly wings filled with hearts, rainbows, flowers and ladybugs (and lots of secret messages) with the title of her new song in the center.
“We’ve commissioned this butterfly mural to be painted on a wall in Nashville and put clues about the song and the new music in the mural,” Swift told The Tennessean. “Let’s just go see what happens.”
Swift made an appearance at the mural in the Gulch neighborhood on Thursday ahead of her big song reveal and posted a photo of herself in front of it on Instagram, writing, “So… @kelseymontagueart helped me pull off the best surprise clue reveal today in Nashville!! Thank you to everyone who showed up, I’ve never been more proud of your FBI level detective skills.”
When she was assigned the street art project, Montague had no idea who it was for, and initially thought it might be a piece for the NFL Draft, which is taking place in Nashville this weekend.
“I thought they were just being nice, asking me to draw hearts, stars and flowers,” Montague told The Tennessean. “I was like, ‘How do you guys know?’ It’s like my favorite things.”
Swift told the outlet that she chose Montague because she painted one of her “favorite murals in New York,” (She was likely referring to the black and white #whatliftsyou wings that feature New York City’s skyline, which Swift posed in front of in 2014.)
And Swift’s favorites are far from Montague’s only murals. The “ME!” mural was painted over another famed black-and-white set of wings in Nashville that tourists had flocked to (above). Montague also has 77 other large-scale public works around the world.
According to an interactive map of her work, Montague also painted a hot air balloon mural in Nashville, along with sets of wings in Miami; Boulder; Chicago; Detroit; Scottsdale, Arizona; Raleigh, North Carolina; and lots of other locations.
She also reveals the whereabouts of new works on her Instagram.
In a blog post about her inspiration for the “What Lifts You” murals, Montague wrote, “I remember the first time I made a pair of wings. I was at a complete crossroads of my life. I had no money, I was discouraged and I had just moved out of NYC…a city I adored and never planned on leaving. When I made my first pair of wings, the only thing I could think of was that I wanted to make someone happy and feel inspired and feel loved. It didn’t matter if it was only just one person who saw it. That would have been enough for me.”
She continues: “Making wings is not just drawing for me, it’s my way of showing the world love and giving something I love so much to others. Wings have always been a special part of my life. From my Grandpa who used to paint them, to my mom who knows every single type of bird there is. Wings are pure love for me and making them out of love for others has in return given me my own pair of wings.”
The artist is also famous for her portrayals of animals, like giraffes and elephants and other artistic interpretations of waves, cacti and trees.
Her other works can be found in Seattle, Los Angeles, San Diego, Chicago, Pittsburgh, Washington D.C., Boston and beyond.
She also has three murals at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida, which she was commissioned to paint after the tragic school shooting that took place there in 2018.
Montague’s murals have also gone global, with paintings in Australia, Spain, Ireland, Switzerland, England, and South Africa.
Despite the wide reach of her works, Montague credits Swift with helping her hone in on her artistic talent and gain major recognition.
“[Taylor] really helped me start my street art career, helped me find my voice as an artist,” Montague told The Tennessean. “That someone I have so much respect for wants to be part of my work … it’s the biggest compliment. It really comes full circle for me.”
To see where to find every single one of Montague’s murals, check out this interactive map.