At the recent Festival Asalto 2017—an urban art festival in Zaragoza, Spain—self-taught painter and street artist Mantra created a series of building-sized trompe l’oeil murals of butterfly specimens.
The France-based artist used the architectural lines of his canvases—the sides of several multi-story homes—to dictate the size and shape of the butterfly frames. Painted with an expert sense of false shadow and perspective, the whimsical artworks play with the viewer’s sense of scale, nature, and beauty.
Butterflies are a recurring subject of Mantra’s work, featuring prominently in other murals across the globe, in countries ranging from France to Colombia, Argentina, Austria, and the U.S. Some of his butterflies are “displayed” in boxes, while others appear free or in compositions with women.
Mantra’s advice for other artists: “Remind yourself that you are here, alive, and all the small lessons hiding in small things surrounding us feed our imagination.”