Take a good look at the sumptuous wallpaper in this room. Take a really good look. The bright magenta hue itself is inviting, but once you get past that, get right in there and have a look at those details.
When you get close enough, you might want to recoil.
That’s because these designs are all made from dead insects.
Yep. Those are all bugs.
This installation is the work of Jennifer Angus, an artist and professor of apparel and textile design at the University of Wisconsin. She was inspired by the beauty of insects after a trip to Thailand, where she encountered “singing shawls,” which are traditional shawls with tassels made from the iridescent green shells of beetles. Combined with her fascination with textile patterns, the shawls became the foundation of this installation.
The inspiration resulted in several installations, the most recent of which is housed in the Smithsonian’s Renwick Gallery.
In this installation, Angus used the bodies of over 5,000 weevils, cicadas, green stag beetles, and other insects to create the pattern seen here.
So many bugs…
Angus is careful to use farmed insects when possible to avoid damaging ecosystems.
She also reuses as many insects as possible, keeping them carefully pinned and stored between projects.
If they become too damaged to display, Angus also donates them to schools so that kids can explore insect life.
In case you’re wondering, this vibrant pink background also has buggy origins.
It’s created from the cochineal — an insect that produces a vibrant red-purple pigment.
But if you’re worried about the ecological repercussions of using once-living creatures for art, Angus discusses these concerns on her website.
In fact, Angus hopes that educating people about the huge variety of insects on our planet will inspire more people to support the conservation of rainforests around the world.
If you’ve only thought of bugs as being gross, artwork like this is here to change your mind. They might be creepy and crawly, but the insects with which we share a planet can also be strikingly beautiful, and they remind us that there are habitats beyond our own that need to be protected.
You can see more of Angus’ work on her website (which includes some pretty awesome games, too).