For those with a fear of creepy crawlies, the thought of using live insects to create art might send shivers up their spine. However, artist Iantha Naicker finds the idea enjoyable and does so by incorporating real, live ants into her animal illustrations.
Naicker bribes the ants with sugar, coaxing them to gather on her artwork in certain areas. She explains, “[I leave] tiny amounts of sugar on a piece of paper to lure them into my drawings.” From a lion’s mane to rhino tusks, the insects scurry around the page, creating the missing animal elements. However, this unconventional medium doesn’t stay in one place for long, so Naicker quickly snaps photos of her work to capture the ants at the right moment. She reveals, “It gets tricky because they move around quickly and I have to record as fast as I can.”
In addition to using real insects, Naicker also creates nature-inspired illustrations, featuring hundreds of hand-drawn ants. Similar to pointillism or dot art, each tiny, incredibly realistic ant joins to create a full image. This concept illustrates the insect’s mentality to work as a team to achieve better results.
You can find more of Naicker’s ant art on Instagram.