Insect Art


Written by Kinsey Sullivan
25 Sunday 25th March 2012



Called Biographie because it's a graphic record of life, artist Bernardo Vercelli's exploration of insect habits is elegant and evocative. Vercelli placed an insect on a sheet of paper, and followed its travels for 50 minutes with a pencil. The results are astonishing. Each insect seems to have a personality which these artworks manage to capture. Through Vercelli's work, we almost are able to visualize their mental churnings, or instinctive movements. Each type of insect moves differently, marking the paper with a distinctive morse code of starts and stops. The silkworm's graceful meanderings wander across the page, gracefully and aimlessly. The green shield bug's path is utterly different, compulsive, defensive, territorial. Vercelli's images seem to encapsulate the insects' life, summarise them, but that may say more about the viewer than the bug. Humans are exceptionally good at a few things, and anthropomorphising is one of them. That being said, humans are the viewers, so there's no harm in interpreting it that way. Even the artist had a similar reaction, saying "I guess it would be ridiculous to see the path of all my life, just before I die." 

Green Shield Bug

Roach Brooch

If having a giant, bedazzled cockroach, leashed on a thin silver chain, crawling around your chest sounds like your idea of the perfect accesory, then a roach broach is for you. A low-level craze in the mid-noughties, the trend made an appearance on Tyra Banks' America's Next Top Model, with designer Jarod Gold of now-defunct Black Chandelier designs explaining his work. Though Gold claims to have invented it, the historical precedent for such accessories is fairly well documented. Especially in Mexico, insects like the Maquech scarab were used as jewelry; artisans would decorate their golden backs with paint and small jewels, attach a small leash, and sell them as living jewelry. A local legend about fated love offers one explaination: a prince and a princess from rival Mayan tribes fell in love, but were forbidden to be with one another. The princess refused to eat or drink, prefering to die than to live without her prince. A local shaman, pitying her, transformed her into a Maquech beetle for her prince to wear and keep near his heart. Today, it's essentially impossible to import live animals from South America due to customs restraints, which makes owning a live beetle brooch pretty difficult. 

Pheromone Mosaics

These beautiful technicolor arrangements by Christopher Marley capture both the variation and splendor of beetles' iridescent exoskeletons. He collects insects with exotic, compelling patterns and then arranges them into harmonious mosaics. Marley says he used to be afraid of bugs, but now uses them to showcase the diversity of animal life. He pays special attention to formatting and negative space in order to display the insects most effectively. He also tucks their legs underneath their bodies so that nothing detracts from their pure form, and doesn't color any of the insects. The pieces are striking, and of the insect art we found, among the most traditionally 'fine art'.

Living Jewels

Just because we can't neglect the crafty and homemade in this internet age, we had to cover the Etsy-fied bug creations. These weevil hair clips will set you back only about £17, which is money well spent. The whole collection is called "Living Jewels," and includes necklaces, pendants, earrings and pins, if you're into that sort of thing.

Tech Insects

The blend of organic and mechanic in these steampunk-y creations from Insect Lab Studios is definitely compelling. Their site is organised by collections of species, including arachnids, bees and wasps, butterflies, dragonflies, and beetles, replete with plenty of high-res images. Each species is treated remarkably differently, showing up a dedication to the form of both the mechanisms and the organisms. It's this kind of integrity to medium and method we just can't get enough of. That and the intensely detailed workmanship. The pieces are quite pricey though. Owning this Peekytoe Crab would cost a whopping $5,000 (£3,100).

Is it worth it? The work is impressive and the effect stunning, but we'll settle for ogling the images online.

Are you into wearable bugs, or do they give you the creeps? Share your thoughts, comments, questions and concerns below.

Don't Panic attempt to credit photographers and content owners wherever possible, however due to the sheer size and nature of the internet this is sometimes impractical or impossible. If you see any images on our site which you believe belong to yourself or another and we have incorrectly used it please let us know at and we will respond asap.


  • shawnjoseph
    Fri 15 - Jun - 2012, 10:40
    This is awesome!! Might be difficult as well.
  • shawnjoseph
    Fri 15 - Jun - 2012, 10:39
    This is awesome!! Might be difficult as well. Kitchen Remodeling
  • TaB0nG66
    Fri 30 - Mar - 2012, 03:45