Thomas Dambo, an artist from Denmark, is using his sculpting skills to help thousands of urban birds around the world. Fueled by the belief that humans should coexist peacefully with other species, he makes use of scrap wood to build houses for birds everywhere he goes.
“Over the last 7 years I have made more than 3500 birdhouses in various projects all over the world,” Dambo wrote on Bored Panda. “Birds are some of the few animals still living in our cities, and I began this project because I thought that it was important to make sure that they can continue living here. It’s about creating a shelter for birds and also about reminding us that it’s important to leave room for birds in the urban world.”
“I have a graffiti background, but I find it a lot more meaningful to do ‘streetart’ that actually has a purpose and everybody can relate to and understand,” the young artist said in an interview with Streetart Today.
Dambo’s birdhouses are creative and unique, incorporating sophisticated design into reclaimed wood and other junk materials that he regularly collects. “I live in Copenhagen where I have a big workshop filled with different trash I scavenge around the city and bring back to my workshop on my cargo bike,” he said. “All my projects are made from trash – entirely! My mission is to show the world that you can create something beautiful from trash, in this way I hope to inspire other people to waste less of the world’s resources.”
His inspiration for building recycled birdhouses apparently comes from birds themselves, who are known to repurpose twigs, fibers, and various other materials to make nests. “Birds are actually great at recycling and we need to appreciate this,” he told My Modern Met. “They eat old foods, fruits, berries, and nuts lying about. In that way, they help to clean and distribute seeds around our cities, so new plants can grow.”
Dambo describes his own creations as “colorful, positive, childish, and fun.” In fact, many of his birdhouses are actually sculpted to resemble birds like owls or parrots. But he also makes camouflage birdhouses that easily blend into city environments, so the little creatures can feel safe in these dwellings.
One of Dambo’s recent projects involved making a birdhouse decor for the Nordic Council during Copenhagen’s Culture Night. The final piece consisted of several small scrapwood birdhouses, painted in colors matching the flags of the Nordic countries. Dambo is also working on the Happy City Birds project, which consists of 300 birdhouses installed on a tree.
Some of his past projects include a collection of birdhouses made from broken skateboards in 2012, and a boat house for ducks that resembles a mini castle. He also did a heart-shape installation of 600 birdhouses for a festival, and later gave them all away to people, asking only that they hang them up and send him pictures.
Dambo is currently working with a large Danish company on a massive project that utilizes their waste wood for large scale birdhouse production. This way, he hopes to “be able to upscale the project, involve more people and just basically teach more people about recycling and the benefits of taking care of the world.” He dreams of having a big recycle plant next to his workshop someday, so people could just bring him their trash to work with. “If this becomes a reality, I will start a school and give other people the opportunity to work with recycling and understand the opportunities,” he said.
Apart from birdhouses, Dambo has built several other structures from recycled wood, but his main focus for now is creating abundant housing structures for birds. “People ask me if birds use the houses,” he wrote. “My answer is that birds move into the houses if there are birds in the area, so birds will not move into the houses if they are hung on a light pole next to a noisy road. But they will do it in a tree in a park. The project is both about creating a shelter for birds, and also about reminding us that it’s important to leave room for birds in the urban world.”
Dambo is so passionate about birdhouses that he’s also built a large red one for himself!
Photos: Thomas Dambo
via Bored Panda