'Birds Not Words' mural

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3. "Birds Not Words" by Stevo Sadvary, 1300 Federal St., North Side.

Pittsburgh: City Of Murals

Click image above for an enlarged version of the locator map for the murals explored in detailed reports below.

Stevo Sadvary wanted to bring nature to the city.

He did this by constructing a 151/2-foot mosaic on Federal Street showing two giant cardinals resting back-to-back on a telephone wire above the trees, their bodies forming a V-shape.

Mr. Sadvary, 55, of Stowe, said he wanted a clear and simple design, something "not jam packed with stuff.

"My pet peeve about murals is that artists often try to cram in so many images and people are driving by," he said. "I wanted something really recognizable and appealing."

He designed the mural as part of a Sprout Fund project geared toward fighting graffiti in the city. He said he wanted to demonstrate the beauty that can result if you put time and thought into a mural, instead of defacing a wall with graffiti. As for the title? "It rhymed and it seemed to fit," he said.

As an artist, he trained in weaving and textiles at Edinboro University, but when he bought a house in Highland Park, he discovered that the former owner had left a bunch of Mexican tiles and coffee cans in the basement. He started tinkering and "it just kind of spiraled," he said.

Since then, tiles have featured prominently in his work. His other public art pieces include a series of animal mosaics at Phillips Elementary School on the South Side, a fish mosaic in a playground at Olympia Park in Mount Washington and a mosaic designed in the shape of a birdhouse at a playground in Natrona.


First Published August 17, 2013 4:00 AM


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