Beautiful Bug Art

Looking at insects through a dissecting scope is one of my favorite activities. I love seeing the gorgeous textures and colors up close–it’s like entering a secret sci-fi wonderland, where you can get intimate with the alien without it eating your head. I especially like this “fantasy” world because it’s real–and because human lives are entwined with these marvelous tiny beings, even if we aren’t generally aware of it.

Not everyone has the equipment or inclination to gaze at insects through a scope, however. For them, artists can provide an accessible aesthetic for enjoying insect beauty. Mielle Harvey is my latest find. (Actually, she found me on this blog–thanks Mielle!) Her HEXAPODA collection is both artistically sophisticated and scientifically accurate enough to suit both art aficionados and entomology buffs. Check it out!

http://www.mielleharvey.com/the-hexapoda-collection

CicadaeGoldenEgg400 Cicadae and Golden Egg

Cicadae and Golden Egg, by Mielle Harvey

Arts: Swiss Artist Catalogs Mutant Insects Around Nuke Plants

Illustrations by Cornelia Hesse-Honegger

Arts: Swiss Artist Catalogs Mutant Insects Around Nuke Plants

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Make your own gummi insects!

gummi dung beetleKids of all ages like gross-out food, especially if it’s sweet. A Japanese company, Megahouse, aims to please with a DIY insect kit: the Gummi-X kit. It’s sure to up the ick factor at your next slumber party or Halloween get-together.

For  around 4,300 yen (just under $50.00), you can order the kit from Amazon Japan. The “mother center” gives you a base mold, beakers, tweezers, and a measuring spoon.

pillbugs

The molds allow you to create two different beetles, pillbugs and crayfish. Expansion kits include molds for a tree frog and another beetle, going for 1,529 yen (about $17.00) each.  If only it had botflies!!!

Check out this Japanese TV commercial for the kit – even the young actors can’t hide their “Eeeeeew!”

More pictures of the kit in use are available at this Japanese blog.

One for the kid in all of us: Origami Insects

From origami-pics.blogspot.com

After evaluating the heck out of a paper on gene expression in bird beaks, I feel like a creativity break. As a fan of all things handmade, I have chosen to explore insect origami. Here are a few resources.

What I found ranges from the easy to the mind-bogglingly complex. Here are a couple of kid-friendly folding diagrams for a butterfly (page 1 and page 2). Here’s the link for a simple fly project.

Here are several instructional videos showing how to fold various insects. And this site hosts some PDFs for super-complex insect origami, for the obsessive kids among us.

Catherine Chalmers: artist of small things

Catherine Chalmers

Catherine Chalmers

Catherine Chalmers rocks, in my book. She takes the artist’s approach to insects and other “less desirable” organisms, and as a result shines a spotlight on all of the preconceptions (anthropomorphism) that color our ideas about insects and other small things. Cockroaches are a major theme, and she also uses flies, mantises, and geckos–CUTE geckos licking their eyes!

So, to supplement the cockroach-robots news I just posted, I’ll share a little of her work. There’s more than one way to be inspired by nature!

Here’s a link to one of her art videos. The cinematography is wonderful–breathtaking in spots.

Here is an interview in which she explains her approach. Enjoy!


Insects as living paintbrushes

Alright. It’s a little weird. And the art itself? Well, let’s just say it’s an acquired taste. But it’s worth a few words here because it’s all about insects!

Steven Kutcher–a die-hard environmentalist who apparently wouldn’t hurt a fly–has made his splash in the art world by enlisting the help of our favorite arthropods. He dips their tarsi into Gouache paint and sets them loose on paper to create artwork. Continue reading

Caddisfly art

Duprat2

I have been waiting for a blog to create this post. I first heard about the jeweled cases created by caddisflies (Order Trichoptera) a couple of years ago and thought it was brilliant. French artist Herbert Duprat uses caddisfly naiads (juveniles) to turn the concepts of art and artist on their head by providing the larvae gold flakes and precious stones with which to create beautiful cases. The cases are then used as jewelry. Continue reading