RIVERDALE PARK, MD., October 25, 2019 – Kelsey Montague has hit the wall. It’s all beautiful from here on out. The Denver-based urban wall artist is in the midst of a three-day paint-a-thon applying her trademark butterfly wings to the north-facing wall of MOD Pizza at Riverdale Park Station. She can be found at 4401 Woodberry St., Riverdale Park, MD. through Saturday.
The “canvas” is actually a 19-foot square of brick painted black and then the bright Sherwin-Williams exterior paint colors are being added in the form of a lepidopteran wingspan. Let’s call it a butterfly.
“We want it to be whimsical,” Courtney Montague told The Biz. And she prefers to think of the design as “angel wings.” She’s the sister of the artist who is fast gaining an international reputation for creating eye-catching, crowd-pleasing butterfly murals in such places as New York, Los Angeles, Denver, Minneapolis, Miami, Portland, and Scottsdale. But the sisters’ work is closer and farther than that. In the past two-plus years they’ve had local brush-ups in Bethesda, Annapolis and Hunt Valley, and have also traveled abroad to Ireland, England, Germany, Poland, Dubai, Laos, and South Africa to spread the painted word.
Cushman & Wakefield, the company that manages Riverdale Park Station, hired Kelsey Montague to add zest to an otherwise blank wall facing the Federal Express Office Print & Ship Center. And it’s a great place to do it since it replaces the imaginary sign: Please add zest here! The three-day painting project should be completed Saturday morning.
“We’ve become very busy,” Courtney said. She’s the trail boss for what’s fast-become an artists-on-the-run show. She did all the talking as she applied the first coat of bright yellow to a ground lever portion of a wing. Kelsey was high atop a mechanical scaffold, brushing away. In fact, they “need to be done on Saturday morning to catch a plane to Denver,” Courtney said, adding that these days “we only have about three days off a month.” The sisters intend to go home, pick up their mother, and head off to Manhattan on Wednesday where they have at least two more mural projects awaiting them.
Kelsey has art pedigree of sorts. She says on her website that after studying art in Florence and graduating from Richmond University in London with a degree in Art, Design & Media, she “spent four years in New York City “embracing and battling the Big Apple while developing my pen and ink style.”
Courtney studied literature in Paris and graduated from The American University of Paris. She spent six years in International Development in New Zealand where she traveled to countries throughout Africa, Asia and Central America. She then moved to New York to attend NYU’s Wagner School of Public Service where she was a Reynolds Fellow in Social Entrepreneurship.
Earlier this year, ABC Networks commissioned Kelsey Montague to paint a mural in Nashville. The sisters thought the wall was to be in conjunction with the NFL spring draft and they were prepared to paint footballs into the wings. Nope, not that. They were soon surprised by pop music recording artist Taylor Swift who had spotted one of Kelsey’s murals in the Big Apple and used ABC as a cover. The mural was to introduce “Me!” It is Swift’s lead single from her seventh studio album, “Lover.” The cut immediately soared on the Billboard charts and Swift’s Instagram of herself in front of the mural (left) sped around the globe.