Michael Roy, a.k.a. Birdcap, grew up near the bayous of southern Mississippi, on America’s verdant “third coast”, a region battered by hurricanes and scarred by a violent, racist political history. Roy studied painting at Memphis College of Art, but got his start as a muralist when he left the south and moved halfway across the world, where he became a part of the thriving street art scene in Seoul, South Korea. The character of “Birdcap” was born in South Korea. In the past decade, Birdcap’s career as a muralist has spanned continents, but the artist’s work is a product of the south, both a love letter to the region he calls home and a challenge to its problems. Birdcap works in a style equally steeped in Saturday morning cartoons and history paintings. He creates densely colored scenes that slide between references to Jim Henson and the Crossing of the Delaware. Using a vocabulary of fantastic shapes that make a Birdcap mural identifiable across the world, the artist takes up deeply personal subjects such as grief and loss, tackles political anxieties, and traverses a contemporary landscape both absurdly beautiful and troubled.
Birdcap has collaborated with Toms Shoes for the End Gun Violence campaign, with Mana Urban Art for Get Out the Vote, and with Verizon for their Road Show Campaign. He has been a guest artist at Crushwalls in Denver, Colorado since 2016 and a Pow Wow! Festival artist in 2018 and 2019. He has had two solo exhibitions in 2017 and 2019 at Chicago Truborn Gallery, as well as had his work featured at the Brooks Museum of Art. His murals appear on walls around the world, from Nepal to El Salvador to his home state of Mississippi.