Made in utah
natural selection From posing sculptural skulls to framing colorful insects, Jean-Michel Arrigona passionately makes art from some of nature’s most arresting creatures. For Utah artisan Jean-Michel Arrigona, converting insects and countless creatures into art is not a dramatic change from his 23-year former profession of making furniture. “Furniture had beauty, and this is a natural beauty,” he says. Arrigona started posing bugs 13 years ago after buying one while traveling, and today he sells his fascinating art creations from his Midvale showroom Natur.
Arrigona obtains the subjects from across the globe. From Jewel Beetles from Thailand to Giant Blue Morpho butterflies from Peru, all insects are obtained legally, often from sustainable bug-rich preserves.
From selecting and rehydrating insects, to staging them in real-life positions, Arrigona loves the posing process most. “It’s not just about selling a bug, but about presenting it as art,” he says.
Butterflies in acrylic boxes, bats in glass domes, bird-sized beetles in frames— Arrigona sells displayed pieces and also customizes clients’ creations. Got a net? You can even bring in your own bugs.
“There is a bug for everyone,” says Arrigona, who focuses on the form, color and texture of each piece—even the creepiest crawler—to elevate it as art. He also shares their stories. Creations range from $7 to $1,800 each.
TAKE A FIELD TRIP
Big on bugs? Head to the Natural History Museum of Utah to see its Entomology collection or attend the “Bug Brigade,” where you’ll learn about, observe and even handle live insects. nhmu.utah.edu/bug-brigade –Sage Singleton
U TA H S T Y L E A N D D E S I G N . C O M
Jean-Michel Arrigona in his showroom Natur, naturshowroom.com
The Natural History Museum of Utah woos bug buffs