With all the anxiety we have over pandemics and superbugs, it always stirs up a feeling of dread to see images of microorganisms pop up on your news feed. But in this case, we suggest you meet your germophobia head-on, and take a closer look at the ones seen here.

Don”t worry, it”s not contagious.


Cut Microbe, 44 inches long.

You”re actually looking at cut paper sculptures created by artist Rogan Brown, who uses white paper, a knife, and an incredible capacity for detail and delicacy to create these impossibly intricate pieces. Each one seems like an entire galaxy, and the lack of color allows the tiniest of details to seem all the more evident.

Details from Cut Microbe, which is based on the forms of salmonella and E. coli.

Details from <em>Cut Microbe, </em>which is based on the forms of salmonella and E. coli.

This is a model of a real type of bacteria, but enlarged about a million times. Brown has faithfully recreated the microbe”s features down to the tiny hairs and the texture.

Layers and layers of paper turn this into a three-dimensional model.

An in-progress image of the microbe.

Brown is fascinated with the intricacies of nature on both the micro and the macro scale, and finds his inspiration in everything from cells and pathogens to the human body to geological forms. He”s long been fascinated with the way that nature and natural forms defy categorization and artificial recreation (as in drawings or models) by humans time and again, and often embody seemingly contradictory characteristics.

Cut Stem

<em>Cut Stem</em>

Sometimes, for extremely small detail work, Brown will use a laser cutting technique. The laser cutting follows his hand drawn design, and then the layers of paper are assembled and mounted. This piece shows a cross section of a stem.

A detail from the large installation Outbreak.

A detail from the large installation <em>Outbreak</em>.

This piece was a study of and an homage to the many diverse types of bacteria that live inside the human body, and the unease many people have about the concept of millions of life forms living inside us.

Outbreak, in it”s entirety.

<em>Outbreak</em>, in it

This installation took four months to complete.

(via Sploid, Colossal)

Brown uses paper for his work, feeling that it reflects the complexities and paradoxes of nature, being simultaneously durable and fragile, delicate and strong. His process, as he describes it, is scientific as well as artistic, in that he uses a scalpel to meticulously dissect the paper and arrange the sliced pieces into an understandable model.

You can see more of Brown”s amazing work on his website, and keep up with his latest work on his Facebook page.