Artist Corie Mattie paints “Keep L.A. Wild” in bright yellow letters on her mural in West Hollywood in July. (Photo by Nathalie Cruz / L.A. Times High School Insider)


How two L.A. street artists inspire hope throughout the city through angel wings and mountain lion murals

Corie Mattie's and Colette Miller’s artwork aim to bring positivity to passersby.
<a href="" target="_self">Nathalie Cruz</a>

Nathalie Cruz

August 4, 2023

When Corie Mattie came face-to-face with a ninety pound mountain lion in 2022, she found inspiration for her lifelong artistic journey. Mattie felt moved by the encounter and said she felt a strong spiritual connection to this wild lion. Mattie now has three murals of the mountain lion across Los Angeles. 

The mountain lion, named P-22, first gained attention across L.A. in 2012 for crossing freeways and avoiding being hit by speeding cars.

“I think people can resonate with him being lonely and feeling so alone but he still survived against all odds,” Mattie said.

Outside a dry cleaner in West Hollywood on the corner of North Doheny Drive and Dorrington Ave, P-22 stands tall in Mattie’s mural. Against a white background, the black mountain lion is surrounded by hidden illustrations of endangered animals like a jackrabbit, the wolf, a frog, turtles and hawks that blend into his frame. Beside the mountain lion, a vibrant yellow sign reads “Keep LA Wild,” surrounded with black leaves.

 P-22 resided in Griffith Park for more than a decade, mostly undetected. In 2022, he journeyed toward the city of L.A. and crossed the 101 and 405 freeways. He was first caught by an NPS biologist in March 2012 in Los Feliz. After spending 10 years in Griffith Park, P-22 was euthanized on Dec. 17, 2022 after state wildlife officials captured him and discovered he was suffering from multiple long-term health issues, including a skull fracture from being struck by a vehicle.

Mattie painted the P-22 mural on July 4, hoping to reflect the message of P-22’s legacy and spread awareness about conservation in urban environments.In Los Angeles, many street artists like Mattie aim to spread positive messages through their art. Through her P-22 murals, she aims to bring positivity by raising awareness about endangered animals, encouraging people to come together and work toward helping these animals. 

Street artist Corie Mattie paints mural to pay pay tribute to the spirit P-22, a mountain lion who was well known in 2012 for crossing the 101 and 405 freeways. (Photo by Nathalie Cruz / L.A. Times High School Insider)

For artist Colette Miller, yoga meditation and a drive through L.A. inspired images of giant white wings splattered with purple and pink paint, which decorate blank walls throughout the city. 

“I just kept thinking a lot about humanity and the conundrum we all face as humans on this planet and I kept seeing these big wings, they popped in my head on the walls around LA,” Miller said.

One night, Miller displayed her art across the American Hotel in the arts district illegally, in what she called a “bold step.” 

This was her first pair of angel wings. She would go on to paint 112 angel wing murals worldwide, including 30 across L.A. Miller said her idea was to create these wings so people could put them on and be part of the mural even for a moment.

From Kenya to Australia, from France to Cuba, from Mexico to Dubai, Millers’ wings are on display in many countries. 

Artist Colette Miller poses with her angel wing mural in Italy. (Photo courtesy of Colette Miller)

“One of the original visions I had when I was doing this was about trying to put them in areas that really needed to be uplifted or to have some hope,” Miller said.

Artist Colette Miller admires one of her angel wing murals. (Photo courtesy of Colette Miller)

For Mattie, street art was her calling, as it provided her with a platform to express her views and opinion, she said. Incorporating her ideas with her art allows her to communicate her thoughts. 

“​​It was more of almost a way for me to sugarcoat my opinion. You know, using it through art versus me just saying it out loud,” Mattie said.

Miller said she wishes to inspire people to find their inner peace within themselves. She believes when individuals attain inner tranquility, they become more composed, kinder, and are better able to radiate positivity to those around them. 

“I just wanted to remind us that we are the angels of this earth, even for a moment,” Miller said.

Both artists, Mattie and Miller, express opinions and positivity through street art. Through their creativity and artistic expression, Mattie and Miller strive to showcase the importance of wildlife conservation and positivity. 

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