The creator of Taylor Swift’s butterfly mural had no idea that she was creating an iconic Swiftie symbol.
On Thursday, Taylor Swift fans flocked to a mural in Nashville where they hoped that the reputation singer would appear. At around noon, she did — and revealed that her countdown to April 26, which appeared earlier this month on her Instagram story and official website, was a countdown to brand-new music.
In her Instagram story on Thursday, Swift revealed that the art was painted by Kelsey Montague, who painted one of her favorite murals in New York. That mural is an interactive art piece of angel wings in NoLita, which Swift posted a photo of herself in front of in 2014.
"Five years ago, when Swift stood with my first pair of wings in New York, it just filled me with so much hope," Montague tells Refinery29 over the phone. "It was such a huge opportunity. It was like something clicked and I thought, 'I'm going to be known as an interactive street artist. I'm going to pursue this as my career.' Five years later, I'm on the road constantly I work and travel with my sister. So this is just such a beautiful full circle. To get to meet [Taylor Swift] and be a part of this, it's awesome."
At first, Montague had no idea she was working on something for Swift. ABC commissioned her for the mural which they told her was a project in celebration of the NFL draft, which is also happening on Thursday.
"It was pretty last minute," Montague tells me. "ABC said they wanted butterfly wings, stars, rainbows, hearts, cats, flowers. That was kind of the direction I had and then I just went from there."
Though Montague said she was tagged in many Swiftie theories about the mural, Montague had no idea that Swift was officially involved until the singer walked up.
"It was cool to be in a big crowd of people like that that also love Taylor Swift," she says. "There's just a lot of positive energy."
As for what's next, Montague is currently working around the country on her art.
"I just want to keep creating a positive energy and also just really impacting other artists," Montague explains. "I want to show that you can make this happen and you can live your dreams and you can make a living from this. You can work with awesome people like Taylor Swift. I want to be able to pay it forward in our community and highlight that anything's possible."