Wendell bee mural is part of larger artist mission
Posted August 7, 2020 12:23 p.m. EDT
Updated August 26, 2020 10:34 a.m. EDT
Wendell, N.C. — For artist Matthew Willey, it all started with bee in his apartment.
"This whole story began for me with an experience with one honeybee on the floor of my apartment in Manhattan, and there he was walking really slowly," Willey said. "I just had this opportunity to get out my magnifying glass and look really closely at a bee for the first time. And. I just noticed how beautiful they were."
Willey started The Good of the Hive, a movement to hand-paint 50,000 honey bees across the globe. He said that the number is the exact amount of bees that are needed for a healthy, thriving hive.
He was recently in Wendell painting a mural in downtown across from the Bearded Bee Brewing Company. While normally his projects involve community involvement, he said the pandemic has changed his approach.
"Wendell was totally open to me just coming, and painting a mural and seeing what would happen in terms of engagement, but erring on the side of social distance," Willey said.
Willey said he has been invited to do murals in London, New Zealand and Australia.
He said he wants the bee murals to be on every continent and in every kind of neighborhood.
"The biggest thing about the Good of the Hive and the bees to me is that there's very few animals in the world that I can think of that are both something we keep, but it's also wild," Willey said. "So, it's this bridge back to nature in a way."
"I paint them and then I leave, but the idea is to put these in the front of everyone's mind so that when they go out into their yard and see a real bee, they're connecting to them in a different way."