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Note: This article is from Conservation Magazine, the precursor to Anthropocene Magazine. The full 14-year Conservation Magazine archive is now available here.

Bug Art

October 24, 2014

Steven Kutcher is an artist, an entomologist, a teacher—and a Hollywood bug wrangler. Kutcher got his start in bug art in the 1980s when he was asked to figure out how to make a fly walk through ink and leave footprints for a Steven Spielberg–directed TV project. From there he went on to work with carpenter ants in Copycat, giant mosquitoes in Jurassic Park, and stampeding spiders in Arachnophobia—of course.

Today, Kutcher uses insects as his paintbrushes to create colorful works of abstract art. He applies nontoxic, water-based paints to bugs’ legs—each insect is like a different brush—and guides them across the paper. Sometimes he puts both paper and insect on a lazy Susan to produce the desired effects. To create the work shown here, he used a hissing cockroach, which drags its abdomen as it moves. See how Kutcher turned the behaviors of darkling beetles, monarch butterflies, bees, and more into imaginative images at


Images: “Starry Night” and hissing cockroach ©Steven Kutcher

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