We often look to nature for ways to improve our built world and our human behaviors, and much of the time these examples can help us realize our interdependency, help us live more holistically and use our resources wisely.
However, there are some behaviors we should not emulate if we want our corner of the world to flourish.
Both these creatures are parasitic, causing only harm to the host. Hydnora africana does not perform photosynthesis or disperse seeds to pollinate. It leaches nutrients from the roots of another plant, and attracts insects with the smell of rotting meat. It traps the insects, coats them in pollen, and releases them. The tarantula hawk wasp plants an egg on its host, which, when it hatches, slowly eats the tarantula alive.
Not all examples of resourcefulness are worth following*
*unless you’re talking about forced participation in a harmful system, in which case, parasite and subvert to your heart’s content. Eat it alive.
Dracula anthracina/Trimereserus vogeli
Pen and marker
11 x 17
We think of the natural world as the epitome of efficiency and practicality: survival of the fittest, etc. While nature does display inspiring intelligence and complexity, there are some parts that are just...extra.
Both these creatures are over the top, and they’re ok with that. Vogel’s pit viper has a bewildering array of colors and patterns, every little scale a perfect entity. Monkey-face orchids look like….monkeys, just because. They get their scientific name, Dracula anthracina, from the two long tendrils hanging down, like fangs.
“Nature is, above all, profligate. Don't believe them when they tell you how economical and thrifty nature is, whose leaves return to the soil. Wouldn't it be cheaper to leave them on the tree in the first place? This deciduous business alone is a radical scheme….extravagance! Nature will try anything once.”
Stemonitis fungi/Octopus vulgaris
Pen and marker
11 x 17
Both these creatures display impressive flexibility. Single-celled slime mold has been observed to behave like a hivemind, despite not actually having a brain. Its colonies can problem-solve, creating tiny highway networks between nutrient sources, matching or surpassing human engineers in efficiency and simplicity.
Octopi are schemers and escape artists, climbing out of their tanks to eat fish in other tanks, squeezing through impossibly small holes, and occasionally escaping down drains to the sea.
Be like the slime and the octopi, finding the possible in the impossible, finding a way out when you’re stuck in a glass cage.
Promotional art for "Off With Their Heads", gallery show, 2017, with collective "A Conspiracy of Strange Girls."
Design and linework by Lucie Biros, color by Reime Jahr.
Promotional illustration for Covenant art show with collective "A Conspiracy of Strange Girls."
"The earth hath bubbles, as does the air"
Macbeth,to the Weird Sisters: “Live you? Or are you aught that man may question?”
Banquo, to Macbeth: “The earth hath bubbles as does the air, and these are of them.”
-Macbeth, Act 1, Scene 3
Photos by Alex Butterfield and Gregg Jiracek
Makeup by Annie Shurson
Hair by Melissa Cable
Do you have a piece of paper I can draw on?
Drawing Tolkien's Middle-Earth since 1998.
(I was not born in 1998. Obviously. Not even the masters started drawing that quickly.)
Eol, the Dark Elf.
"In Angband Morgoth forged for himself a great iron crown, and he called himself King of the World...That crown he never took from his head, though the weight became a deadly weariness."
Caranthir, son of Feanor.
Maedhros, in color.
Witchking of Angmar.
Turgon and Elenwe on the Helcaraxe.
Sauron and Glaurung.
Fingon and Maedhros.
Grishnakh the orc.
Creatures, characters, friends, and everything in between.
Captain James Flint, of HBO’s Black Sails.
Alexander Ovechkin, of the NHL’s Washington Capitals.
can't see me bleed
Photos, illustrations, sketches and inspiration from 2015 RAW Splendor runway show.