Collaborating With Insects to Make Art

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Some of the most hated creatures on earth are bugs. These small scurry things invade our home and private spaces, spoil our food, get into our beds, drop out of the ceiling and crawl over our feet. Some of them also bite and sting. They are disgusting, annoying and scary. It’s almost funny how a creature so small can bring out so many different emotions in humans. But can we develop bonding with insects? These three artists from across the globe are trying to do that —collaborating with insects in order to create an unusual kind of art.

Hubert Duprat

Our first artist is France-born Hubert Duprat, who has been collaborating with the caddisfly larvae since the early 1980s. The caddisfly larvae live in fresh water and is known to construct elaborate protective cases or cocoons by collecting fragments of wood, sand, small stones and other debris and incorporating them into their cases which they spin out of silk. Duprat collects the larvae from their natural environment and transports them to his studio, where he carefully removes their protective casing and puts them in tanks filled with his own materials from which they can recreate their protective sheaths. Instead of debris, Dupart offers them flakes of gold and various semi-precious and precious stones, including turquoise, coral, sapphires, pearls, rubies, and diamonds. Within a few weeks tiny bejeweled cocoons are formed.

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Aganetha Dyck

Aganetha Dyck, a Canadian, is our second artist. Dyck works with live honeybees, introducing various man-made objects into their hives and allows the insects to build honeycomb over the objects. The process can take weeks, months and sometimes years until Dyck decides the sculpture is done. Her work has been drawing accolades from all over the world.

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Steven Kutcher

California-based entomologist, teacher and artist, Steven Kutcher employs an entirely different approach. He takes bugs such as beetles, flies, cockroaches and more, and applies paint to their legs and then sets them free on a blank canvas. The insects scrawl across the surface leaving a trail of paint. By carefully manipulating their movements by applying external stimuli that the insects react to such as light, Kutcher and his insects create strange abstract paintings.

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A darkling beetle at work.

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“Eleven Steps”, by Hissing Cockroach

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From top-left, in a clockwise direction: “Butterflies in the Garden”, “Sunrise”, “Olympic”, “Dancing Beetle”.

via SciArt in America

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