Scarab Swap

Digging through my vintage suitcase filled with amazing art from a variety of swaps, I stumbled upon these tiny treasures. These came from a fine arts swap from artists around the world. Each participant chose a theme, and each artist created a 3" square masterpiece for each person involved. It gave us all the chance to flex our creative muscles on subject matter we might not normally tackle ... and resulted in a personalized art collection once all the pieces arrived.

Ink and marker, by Chandra Orr
As you might gather, my theme was beetles and odd insects. I have a strong fondness for all small, skittering creatures. They appear in my art over and over as representations of change, strange beauty and the notion of philosophical absurdity (think Gregor Samsa or The Myth of Sysiphus) ... at left, one of my favorite color experiments involving a beetle-earwig hybrid.

Though I now have my hands full with a cantankerous cat and a rambunctious little pug, for most of my life I've shared my home with all manner of creepy-crawlies, from tarantulas and deadly centipedes to benign tropical cockroaches and millipedes. I gave up my entomological exploration once my Madagascar cockroaches started breeding like ... well, cockroaches. When the population hit the 500 mark and Bill, the African Bullfrog, could no longer keep up with the demand on his population control services, it was time to call it quits.

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