Portsmouth chosen to host huge cuttlefish street mural

© Paul Gonella

UK-renowned street artist ATM is set to paint his first ever marine-themed portrait in Portsmouth, to mark The Wildlife Trusts’ National Marine Week

The UK’s extraordinary marine life is being celebrated with the unveiling of a colossal mural of a cuttlefish to mark the start of National Marine Week, which runs from Saturday July 29th to Sunday 13th August.

The outdoor painting by the artist ATM will decorate a Portsmouth City Museum building, creating a new landmark in the city, and adding to its rich street art offering. Artist ATM is well known for his striking wildlife street art, particularly birds. This is his first marine portrait, which shows a characterful cuttlefish; an arm wrapped around a drainpipe, on a wall donated for the artwork by Portsmouth City Council. The picture will take three days to paint, freehand, from a 2.5 m tall tower scaffold.

A short film about the creation by street artist ATM of a giant cuttlefish on the streets of Portsmouth. Film produced by Strong Island Media.

The cuttlefish is a secretive species that visits the Solent every year to breed. With eight arms around its mouth, two tentacles, and W-shaped eyes, it resembles a mysterious creature from an alien world. Their bodies shimmer and pulse with beautifully-coloured striking patterns. Amazingly, they can see backwards, as well as forwards, have three hearts, and blue-green blood. Cuttlefish also provide a vital link in the food chain for many of our rarer species.

During the spring cuttlefish swim to shallower waters like those in the Solent to breed, often in fragile underwater meadows of sea grass. These important sea grass beds are also home to seahorses and many species of juvenile fish, and are the focus of local campaigns to secure better protection for marine habitats and species.

Cuttlefish © Paul Naylor

Cuttlefish © Paul Naylor

About cuttlefish

Cuttlefish are masters of disguise, which visit the Solent every year to breed.

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Tim Ferrero, marine specialist at Hampshire & Isle of Wight Wildlife Trust said: “It’s fantastic to be hosting this mural to launch National Marine Week right here in Portsmouth. Despite being a city with a rich seafaring heritage, many people don’t know about the amazing sea life on our doorstep. This mural brings the secrets of our Solent’s wildlife right into the heart of the city.” 

Artist ATM said: “Cuttlefish are masters of disguise, changing colour and skin patterns. As an artist I find them fascinating, they’re like living palettes of colour, and show that the waters around our coast are teeming with life as extraordinary as any found in tropical seas.”

National Marine Week 2017

The start of National Marine Week will also be celebrated with a day of free marine-themed Wildlife Trust events at the Museum on Saturday 29th July, including family arts workshops, mud sifting for creatures and an indoor beach.

Hampshire & Isle of Wight Wildlife Trust hopes the event will help inspire local people to learn more about the marine life in our local seas, and get involved in the Wildlife Trust’s upcoming Secrets of the Solent project, supported by the Heritage Lottery Fund.