A young biology graduate and former taxidermist from Ghent, Belgium, has created warrior figurines out of hundreds of dead insect body parts.
It is usual for 28-year-old Joos Habraken to dedicate 20 and 30 hours to work on each of his ‘Frankenstein bugs’. He gives them names and assigns stories to them too. He only uses body parts from already dead bugs and never from killing the insects himself.
Habraken was a biology student in college and went to the Royal Belgian Institute of Natural Sciences for his master’s.
“We had a behind-the-scenes tour of the collections and were told volunteers could take some material home to mount the insects and bring it back – it all started from there,” Joos said. “I had a lot of free time, so I started doing a lot of work for the museum and got to keep some broken butterflies.”
“You start with nothing, just a steel rod and then you start looking for mythological names and places where they could live. And then you use all of these different parts of insects to create something beautiful.”
After graduation, the Belgian had an impressive collection of insects and he started to sell them to his fellow bug enthusiasts.
He started with simple concepts, without names or stories. After the Hero with A Thousand Faces, his first complex figurine, things took a more dedicated turn. For this, he used 70 body parts, including 26 insect heads.
He uses superglue to piece hundreds of insect body parts together and generously spends tens of hours designing and experimenting with each creation. His latest piece took a total of 40 hours – spread over several weeks – to finish.