Let’s Bug Out! As far back as 650 A.D. artists have been using insects as inspiration for their artwork or even using real insects as part of their artwork. No kidding! For example, the iridescent metallic green wings of beetles have been used to decorate shrines, give panache to paintings and add beauty to hand-held fans, figurines, jewelry, book covers and textiles. Contemporary Texas-based textile artist Michael Cook takes great pride in his magnificent hand-embroidered creations accented with shimmering beetle wings. And Cuban artist Fabian Pena creates gorgeous mosaics out of (this might make you gag) cockroach wings on wine glasses and things! (Yuck! I warned ya!) And I must also mention, for a complete gross-out effect, the hysterical drawings of Magnus Muhr and his carefully positioned flies — yes, real dead flies. Also, high on the list of wicked cool projects with bugs, where the artists use entire insect bodies, is Mike Libby’s Robo-insect Menagerie, in which he upcycles old watch parts and adds them to beetle bodies to make them look like you could operate them with a remote control! My students and I think it would be really cool to make them fly into the work of Tessa Farmer, an artist based in London. She makes hanging miniature macabre battle scenes between insect carcasses and tiny winged skeletal humanoids, leaving you to wonder which side is good and which side is evil. Oh, and I can’t leave out an artist who uses live insects to create art! Steven Kutcher paints the feet of his pet Picasso Insects and lets them walk around on paper to create interesting abstract designs!
All of this insect art introduction leads up to my fave artist of all- Joan Danziger and her mixed-media beetle sculptures! My next blog will include more info and photos about her work and a fun mixed-media art project you can do, based on her work.
Hands Create Fine Arts Studio is excited to announce the opening of our brand new art studio offering fine arts classes, programs, and events for emerging and experienced artists. Summer classes are available. Sign up now!