Jewels Encrust Ornamental Insects in Sasha Vinogradova’s Digital Illustrations
July 8, 2022

Los Angeles-based artist Sasha Vinogradova merges her fascination with nature and ornate design in a series of jewel-coated specimens. Sculptural in form to evoke a brooch or other piece of wearable art, the digitally illustrated insects encase gems and vibrant, iridescent body parts within a metallic structure. Symmetrical motifs adorn the wings and shells, adding an extra layer of ornamentation to the otherwise natural subject matter.
With a background in motion design and key art, Vinogradova works with various clients on illustrations and art direction. More Continue reading

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In ‘Extinct and Endangered,’ Photographer Levon Biss Magnifies the Potential Loss of Insects Around the Globe
June 28, 2022

Despite existing on separate continents thousands of miles apart, the Madeira brimstone and giant Patagonian bumblebee are experiencing similar hardships. The former, which inhabits the islands it inherits its name from, is dealing with an invasive species decimating the trees its caterpillars require pre-metamorphosis, while the latter has been struggling to survive in its native Chile after farmers introduced domesticated European bees to aid in crop pollination. Both species are in danger and are part of an ongoing exhibition at the American Museum of Natural History conveying what’s at stake if their species are lost entirely. More Continue reading

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Billions of Fireflies Light Up an Indian Wildlife Reserve in Rare Footage Captured by Sriram Murali
May 23, 2022

In many parts of the world, a warm summer evening sets the stage for a familiar sight: the lightning bug. Through a phenomenon called bioluminescence, these winged beetles are able to generate chemical reactions in a part of their abdomen known as the lantern. Of more than 2,000 species found throughout the world, only a handful coordinate their flashes into patterns and are known as synchronous fireflies. Photographer Sriram Murali captured a rare gathering of billions of these insects at the Anamali Tiger Reserve in western Tamil Nadu, India. More Continue reading

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Repurposed Stained Glass Comprises a Disorienting Illuminated Greenhouse by Heywood & Condie
May 16, 2022

A brilliant greenhouse suffused with a rich spectrum of color stands at 25 Porchester Place in London. Bathed in sunlight by day and illuminated by LED bulbs at night, the translucent structure is lined with a disorienting collage of Christian iconography and folkloric imagery: saintly figures sprout insect wings and wildlife occupies spaces usually dominated by humans in a melange of spiritual symbols.
Titled “Sacré blur,” the greenhouse is a 2015 project by horticultural artists Tony Heywood and Alison Condie, who originally created the piece to house psychedelic plants at the Oxford Botanic Gardens—this part of the project never materialized over fears that students might misuse the hallucinatory specimens. More Continue reading

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Five Prehistoric Cave Drawings Uncovered in Alabama Are the Largest Discovered in North America
May 13, 2022

Hidden in a narrow cavern extending less than two feet from floor to ceiling, five cave drawings are the largest of their kind discovered so far in North America. Three anthropomorphic figures and two rattlesnakes are etched into the mud surface of 19th Unnamed Cave in Alabama—the name is intentionally vague to protect the exact location—with the most sizable glyph measuring nearly 11 feet. The renderings are thought to be from the Early and Middle Woodland prehistoric periods, or between 133 and 433 CE when populations began to shift from primarily nomadic hunting and gathering to settling and establishing agricultural production. More Continue reading

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Vintage Tapestries Cloak the Wings of Larysa Bernhardt’s Plush Moths
January 23, 2022

In a cozy studio overlooking a garden in Blackwell, Missouri, artist Larysa Bernhardt creates colorful moth sculptures with a needle and thread. Her fabric creatures are embroidered with old tapestries, often portraying historical people, animals, and delicate botanical forms on their wings: one specimen with a rusty orange abdomen depicts a little bird taking flight, while another is blue with a Medieval woman looking at a flower.
Able to stand on their own or hang from the wall, the handmade moths feature eyes made from Czech glass beads and bodies of cotton velvet and Belgian linen. More Continue reading

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Learn to Paint Magical Scenes in Thread in a New Book by Embroidery Artist Emillie Ferris
January 13, 2022

U.K.-based artist Emillie Ferris (previously) has spent nearly a decade refining her distinct embroidery technique, which involves staggering long and short stitches to create textured portrayals of flora and fauna. She’s crafted magical butterflies in smooth gradients, bees that appear as fuzzy as their real-life counterparts, and a variety of realistic portraits that use sweeping, layered passes associated with brushstrokes to render images in fiber.
Now her work culminates in a forthcoming book published by David & Charles titled Paint with Thread: A Step-By-Step Guide to Embroidery Through the Seasons. More Continue reading

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Elaborate Designs by Mitsuru Nikaido Transform Animals and Insects into Complex LEGO Robots
December 28, 2021

Kurashiki-based builder Mitsuru Nikaido reimagines marine life, insects, and land animals as mechanical, robot-like characters built entirely with LEGO. Using his signature palette of gray and white bricks and unique parts, Nikaido creates spring-loaded limbs for walruses, a gecko tail capable of swinging toward its body, and spiders that appear like they could scurry away on hinged legs. The semi-articulate specimens shown here are just a few of the designer’s elaborate mecha sculptures, more of which you can find on Flickr and Instagram. More Continue reading

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Felted Fibers Are Rolled into Adorable Bread Bugs, Pastry Snails, and Mushrooms with Legs
December 21, 2021

Atelier Hatena’s bread bugs are the only critters we’d gladly snuggle up with at night. The whimsical, fiber-rich characters are part of the Hiroshima-based artist’s growing troupe of felt creatures: there are four-legged rolls, tiny insects sprouting mushrooms, and pastries with eyes poking from their crusts. Atelier Hatena’s shop is currently stocked with the adorable critters, although they sell out quickly, so keep an eye on Twitter for updates. More Continue reading

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Exceptionally Slow-Motion Footage Documents Tropical Butterflies Bursting from Their Chrysalises and Taking Flight
December 15, 2021


In an extravagant display of evolutionary tricks and mating rituals, new footage by Adrian Smith of the wildly popular Ant Lab YouTube channel focuses on six tropical butterflies. The extremely slow-motion montage zeroes in on a trio of tropical creatures as they crack open and emerge from their chrysalises and others like the striking Blue Morpho as they take flight. Smith paired the spectacular clips with behind-the-scenes footage of the North Carolina Museum of Natural Sciences Living Conservatory, which fosters a climate-controlled environment that hundreds of butterflies hatch from every few weeks. More Continue reading

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Meticulous Sculptures by Artist Carol Long Highlight the Curved Lines and Colorful Embellishments Found in Nature
November 30, 2021

Honoring the humble shape of the vessel is at the center of Carol Long’s practice. From her studio in rural Kansas, the artist throws simple ceramic cylinders that she contorts into supple butterfly wings,  curved chrysalises, or vases with embellished handles.“When it comes off the potter’s wheel, that’s just the beginning,” she tells Colossal. “I usually sit for a second and look at the piece and see which way I can push it out or in.”
The resulting forms are evocative of both flora and fauna and traditional pottery, although Long’s sculptures emphasize smooth, sinuous walls and squiggly bases rather than angled edges. More Continue reading

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Evoking Dutch Genre Paintings, Intimate Scenes Peer into the Lives of Mushroom Characters
September 27, 2021

In her ongoing series Human Nature, Dutch artist Bella Ormseth paints lavish domestic scenes inhabited by central mushroom characters and a cohort of plants and oversized insects. The evocative subjects stem from those the artist encounters around her home in Puget Sound off the coast of Washington and are human-like in their gestures and poses, whether draped over a chair during a nap, embracing over wine and oysters, or staring out the window. More Continue reading

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Watercolor Illustrations by Steeven Salvat Cloak Natural Specimens with Elaborate Metallic Motifs
August 6, 2021

History, science, and nature converge in the watercolor and ink drawings of French artist Steeven Salvat (previously). Whether encasing beetles in ornate armor, rotational gears, and antique dials or rendering vast entanglements of flora and fauna, Salvat’s works exquisitely apply a fanciful veil to wildlife and insects. Each piece, which is the result of hundreds of hours of painstaking linework, stems from biological studies and 18th-century engravings, two themes the artist returns to as a way to allude to the precious qualities of the natural world. More Continue reading

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Spectacular Footage Records Seven Moths as They Take Flight in Stunningly Slow Motion
August 4, 2021


Almost a year after releasing his wildly popular footage of muppet-like insects, Dr. Adrian Smith is back with another montage in incredibly slow motion. This similarly spectacular follow-up—which is shot at 6,000 frames per second with a macro lens—documents the unique flight maneuvers of seven moth species as they slowly lift into the air. Capturing both graceful wing movements and ungainly leg flailing, Smith records rare glimpses of the yellow underbelly of the Virginian tiger moth, the spiky mohawk of the white-dotted prominent, and the beautiful wood-nymph’s habit of scattering microscopic scales all with extraordinary detail. More Continue reading

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Found Silverware and Scrap Metal Are Welded into Lively Sculptural Creatures by Matt Wilson
July 2, 2021

Wide spoons become muscular hind legs, pointed handles fan out into wings, and fork prongs curl around a branch like talons in Matt Wilson’s wildlife assemblages. Using found flatware and other metal objects, the Charleston-based artist (previously) welds sculptural renditions of birds, insects, and other small animals that appear lifelike and primed for movementt. He mounts the metallic sculptures on pieces of driftwood or smooth plaques—many of which are handcrafted by his friend Jacob Kent—that contrast the shining metal with the natural, grainy material. More Continue reading

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Macro Photos Spotlight the Colorful, Whimsical Plant Growths Caused by Cynipid Wasps
June 30, 2021

When an herbivorous insect like an aphid or mite needs a place to feed and reproduce, it sometimes seizes a tiny section of a plant where it creates an abnormal growth or gall. These tissue pockets provide shelter and nutrition for the maker, and although some can be unsightly blemishes on the host, others, like these brightly colored growths of cynipid wasps, are bizarrely beautiful additions to the otherwise green leaves. Photographed by Timothy Boomer, the macro images capture the imperceptible details of the galls, which appear like fairytale-style mushroom houses, prickly sea urchins, and fuzzy, striped domes. More Continue reading

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Lush Tufted Tapestries Document Ecological Changes in Argentina’s Landscapes
March 25, 2021

Designer Alexandra Kehayoglou (previously) creates exquisite pieces of flowing textiles that reference the rugged landscapes of her homeland, Argentina. In the creation of each tapestry, Kehayoglou transforms surplus carpet fabric into natural elements that range from a spectrum of Earth-colored mosses to clusters of trees and serpentine rivers that cut through the heart of her weaves. Entwined within each piece are fragments of the artist’s own memories, including witnessing waterways slowly recede and the alterations to Argentina’s grasslands. More Continue reading

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Art and Activism Collide Throughout Montréal in Playful Street Interventions by Roadsworth
February 9, 2021

Crosswalks become perches and bike lanes morph into a monkey’s ropes in Roadsworth’s lively street interventions. For decades, the Montréal-based artist (previously) has been altering sidewalks, alleyways, and other public spots with largely nature-based projects that are informed by social issues and environmental crises. Whether a trippy koi pond or a simple yellow spider, the additions transform otherwise drab streets into unexpected commentary.
In recent years, Roadsworth has created large-scale projects for a variety of organizations, including revitalizing a basketball court for a social housing complex and another for Amnesty International that comments on the horrors of the refugee crisis. More Continue reading

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