Painter Chris Trueman, from Claremont, California, has created a unique painting by using 200,000 dead ants instead of paint.
The painting Chris calls “Self Portrait With a Gun” actually features his younger brother, dressed as a cowboy, holding his dad’s rifle. From afar this unusual artwork looks more like an old yellowed photo, but as you approach it, you realize it’s actually something completely different – a painting made of ants.
To the artist, this bizarre ant painting represents how humans learn about things abstractly, only to have their impressions changed as they get closer to them. But actually completing his masterpiece wasn’t the simplest task, mostly because he hated killing the creatures he perceives to be ” right on the line of what I consider intelligent life.” When he first began the project, he decided to catch the ants himself, but the ants in San Francisco, where he was living at the time, were too small. So he decided to order them online, from a guy who was breeding and selling them as food for lizards.
First he ordered just 1,000 ants, because he didn’t know how many he would need for the right density, but then he started ordering 40,000. They came in peanut-butter jars, and seeing them moving around in there, it was hard for Chris to make a decision. He couldn’t release them, because they weren’t native to that area, and they could start biting people. So he decided to kill the ants himself. It wasn’t easy, and he even took a 1-year-break, but decided to complete his ant masterpiece, because he didn’t want the first batch to have died in vain.
Some of the ants dried up and were torn to pieces, so Chris Trueman used them in the large parts of the painting, where details weren’t important, saving the full-sized ants for the detailed parts. he would handle them with tweezers, placing them on the Plexiglass canvas and coat them in a painting resin called galkyd.
Chris Trueman‘s ant painting is on display, at an art gallery in San Diego, and is priced at $35,000.