If you’ve been following TAE for a while, you’ll know how much we love street art. We also love nature. When the two collide, we just simply go over the moon! Enter artist Matthew Willey and you’ve got us a jackpot.
Through a project called “The Good of the Hive,” Matthew spreads word about something that probably has gone under the radar for a lot of us. Honeybees have been going through an alarming decline in population! “Through art and imagination, The Good of the Hive Initiative raises awareness about the current struggles of honeybees,” the organization writes.
Matthew’s goal is to personally see it through that 50,000 bees are painted worldwide. Why this specific number? It’s because a healthy beehive needs just that – 50,000 bees to thrive, survive, and be alive. “Through art and imagination, (we raise) awareness about the current struggle and population decline of honeybees while celebrating their incredible behaviors.”
The project’s mission is “To create art, multi-platform content and digital media engagement inspired by the powerful connection between honeybee hives and human societies.” The 50,000 bees in the project will be spread throughout 50 murals around the world – 7 of which have been completed, including a piece painted at the headquarters of Burt’s Bees located in Durham, North Carolina.
(For those unaware, Burt’s Bees is a personal care products company. They describe themselves as “Earth friendly, Natural Personal Care Company” using natural ingredients and minimal processing.)
“The Good of the Hive is never about any one man or woman. It is about all of us connecting around the issue of a declining bee population and doing what we can to repair it,” Matthew writes on the website. At the time of writing, the artist is somewhere in bees number 892 onwards – yes, he has been tracking each bee in all his massive paintings as a commitment.
Impressive, to say the least, Matthew’s bees numbered 1 to 891 are currently present in 7 completed paintings in the following locations so far:
1-16 at Harold P. Curtis Honey Co. in LaBelle, Florida
17-48 at Douglas Schantz’s home in Washington DC
49-244 at Paul and Buzz’s Landscape (canvas painting) in Asheville, North Carolina
245-601 titled “The Small Swarm” at Broadstone Sky Building in Seattle, Washington
602-778 at Estes Hills Elementary School, Chapel Hill, North Carolina
779-792 at Burners and BBQ at The River Arts District, Asheville, North Carolina
800-891 at Burt’s Bees in Durham, North Carolina
892-currently unknown number at Fire Station in Carrboro, North Carolina (in progress)
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Bonus: The working, moving trucks painted by Matthew are being used – if you spot them, feel free to photograph and tag The Good of the Hive!
Just got word that these trucks we painted this weekend actually get used! I thought they were abandoned! So if you see these bees careening down the highway (and you are a passenger in the car behind them, not the driver) please take a photo! If I'd known, I would have written #thegoodofthehive a heck of a lot bigger! Lol! #honeybees #Bees #havebeeswilltravel
The North Carolina born, New York based artist has been painting murals for about 24 years. With a very clever imagination and undeniable artistic talent, Matthew has been spreading good vibes and sharing his amazing pieces all while creating awareness for something that seems to have been going unnoticed by many of us.
All art are owned by Matthew Willey. For more information about the project, you can visit the following:
Thanks so much for reading!