spiders

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Art Design

Fire Erupts From a Gigantic Fantastical Dragon-Horse Designed and Operated by La Machine

April 20, 2022

Grace Ebert

Photo © Emmanuel Bourgeau. All images courtesy of La Machine, shared with permission

The street theater group known as La Machine revived one of its legendary beasts for an ongoing show in Toulouse. “Long Ma,” an enormous dragon-horse hybrid weighing 45 tons and standing 11 meters tall, was originally unleashed in Beijing in 2014 and now joins a minotaur and gigantic spider for an ongoing exhibition at La Halle in the French city. Each day through May 8, a team of artists animates the mechanical creature, which can be seen trotting, galloping, and rearing upward through the streets while she greets her similarly massive companions.

Capable of spitting smoke and water, the fire-breathing “Long Ma” is made from a combination of steel, wood, leather, blown glass, golden leaves, horsehair, and textiles. She also cradles a Chinese temple inspired by the Forbidden City on her back, which is big enough for 35 people to join her on her daily adventures.

Tickets to encounter the explosive character are available on the exhibition site, and you can see more of La Machine’s puppet-like creations in action on Instagram.

 

Photo © Emmanuel Bourgeau

Photo © Jordi Bover

 

 



Photography Science

Macro Photos Frame an Ant-Mimicking Jumping Spider that Radiates an Iridescent Sheen

August 30, 2021

Grace Ebert

All images © Kevin Wiener, shared with permission

The diverse taxonomic order of spiders is brimming with strange biological phenomena: black widows have been known to cannibalize their mates, tarantulas are covered in barbed urticating hairs that they fling in defense similar to porcupines, and others have evolved to mimic the shape and pheromones of an ant to avoid predators.

On a recent trip to a wooded area in Santa Claus, Indiana, photographer Kevin Wiener uncovered one of the latter species, the tutelina similis, and snapped a few macro shots of the 6-millimeter creature. Each of the striking photos catches the arthropod’s iridescent exoskeleton in a manner that highlights its rainbow luster and reveals its ant-like appearance. Similar gleaming color schemes are widespread in the world of insects, including on the microscopic scales that cover butterflies.

The radiant jumping spider is part of Wiener’s vast archive of insect images, which he shares on Instagram and in his online group called All Bugs Go to Kevin. He launched the resource in the spring of 2019 as a way to offer insight into the micro-world of insects, and it now boasts more than 42,000 members, including scientists, macro photographers, and other arthropod enthusiasts.

 

Currently based in Evansville, Indiana, Wiener fuses his background in both wedding photography and pest management into a practice that highlights striking and bizarre organisms. “I try to photograph my subjects in a way that gives the appearance of a personality which makes them appear less scary and helps those with fears to see them differently. I want to showcase the beauty of arthropods and show people the things they don’t see with the naked eye,” he tells Colossal. “Basically, if it’s little and moving, it’s probably gonna have a photoshoot.”

In addition to uncovering the diverse world of insects, Wiener also teaches an Indiana Master Naturalist course and has presented to the Entomological Society of America as part of a symposium. You can follow his work that falls at the intersection of science and photography on Instagram and Twitter.

 

 

 



Amazing Photography Science

A Caterpillar in the Amazon Rainforest Camouflages Itself as an 8-Legged Tarantula Spider

December 18, 2020

Christopher Jobson

In an exquisite if not terrifying act of self-preservation, the Monkey Slug Caterpillar has evolved to disguise itself as a predator, mimicking the form and color of a Tarantula Spider on its back. Nature photographer David Weiller captured this particular specimen while in the Amazon Rainforest of Puyo, Ecuador. He shares:

This mesmerizing caterpillar mimics a hairy tarantula spider with its oddly long hairy arms curling out. When looking at the underside, it looks like a slug with its suction cups prolegs and its tiny legs. This caterpillar is the larvae of the hag moth.

Weiller shares incredible animal and insect discoveries from rainforests in Ecuador, Malaysia, Madacascar and elsewhere on his YouTube channel. Start with the “Walking Soft Ice Cream Bug” or the Lichen Katydid. (via Laughing Squid)

 

 

 



Art

Antique Watches, Cameras, and Medical Equipment Morph Into Meticulous Steampunk Spiders

November 10, 2020

Grace Ebert

All images © Peter Szucsy, shared with permission

For 25 years, art director and artist Peter Szucsy has filled his days with rendering the bizarre, sinister beasts that run rampant through video games. “I have made many creatures, monsters in the virtual world… but a few years ago I felt it is about time to create something different,” he says of his time working in the industry. “So I left my computer and made lots of my ideas come alive in the real world.”

The result is a curious menagerie of steampunk spiders that the Budapest-based artist assembles with parts of vintage watches, cameras, and medical equipment. Each week, Szucsy scours a flea market near his home to find materials that include rare, pricey timepieces, although the artist notes he avoids dismantling anything that a museum or institution would value. In his studio, he parses the found metals and meticulously crafts the articulate eight-legged creatures.

Szucsy holds a degree in illustration from Moholy-Nagy University of Art and Design and plans to launch an online shop to sell some of the spiders in the coming days. You can follow his latest creatures, which he hopes to include dragonflies and praying mantises, on Instagram.

 

 

 



Art Craft

Oversized Spiders by Mister Finch Transform Vintage Textiles into Fairytale Sculptures

October 22, 2020

Grace Ebert

All images © Mister Finch, shared with permission

Leeds-based artist Mister Finch (previously) thrifts scraps of brocades and cottons to shape into fantastical creatures that are both whimsical and slightly unnerving. His recent pieces include a series of oversized spiders that the artist photographs suspended from the ceiling or scaling his workshop wall. “The past few years my work has become more sculpture-based with my creatures pretty much all stood up and attached to bases.” Finch writes. “I love the way this looks and enables me to dress and humanize them, which is something I’ve always wanted to do.”

Although the ongoing pandemic has stifled the artist’s foraging of fabrics and other materials in recent months, Finch notes that he’s been pulling textiles from his home stash and occasionally visiting fairs and markets. He’s also been scaling down his sculptures so that they’re easier to handle without assistance.

Finch published two books filled with his fairytale-style sculptures and settings in recent years—and currently is working on a third—which you can purchase in his shop along with cards and totes. Dive further into his eccentric projects on Instagram.

 

 

 



Craft

Colorful Spider Embroideries by Adam Pritchett

January 1, 2017

Christopher Jobson

Adam Pritchett is an embroidery artist based in Lake District, England, a countryside famous for its forests, lakes, and mountains. From these bucolic surroundings he draws inspiration for his minimalist botanical embroideries that usually feature flowers, vines, and tiny insect inhabitants. For a particularly ingenious series, Pritchett stitched a variety of spiders into the canvas, turning gaping holes in the fabric into spider webs. You can follow more of Pritchett’s needlework on Instagram and he sells many of his original pieces in his online shop. (via Colossal Submissions)