Adaptation – close ups

Vicky Russell



Mixed Media: wire, silk, aluminum, beads and found objects

various sizes

adaptation |adəpˈteɪʃ(ə)n|

noun [ mass noun ]
the action or process of adapting or being adapted:
In Biology, it is the process of change by which an organism or species becomes better suited to its environment.

My intentions in this brief were to highlight the fact, that if humans continue to neglect the needs of the Earth, and fail to live sustainably, all ecosystems and earths creatures, large and small would cease to exist.

They may be small, but insects make up 80% of animal species on earth and play vital roles in maintaining the balance of the ecological web. I set about imaginings what insects would evolve into, assuming they could adapt to a world deficient of their natural environments. My project outcome ‘Adaptation’ is a result of my conceptual developments.



Sustainable Art Practice

collection of insects

Adaptation by Vicky Russell

Insects make up 80% of all known animals present on Earth, making them an integral part to ensuring the survival of animal and plant species on the planet, hence maintaining the balance of nature itself.  In short, In my final project this year, I am bringing to awareness the fragility of the ecological web, by a designing and making a series of sculptured insects. To visually portray this concept I have displayed the insects inside frames much like one would see in a museum collection, except I have made them from cardboard boxes (reusing cardboard packaging). It amuses me to think of myself as the discoverer and collector of insects (entomologist) in my native country New Zealand, having imagined ‘newly discovered’ mutant native insects.  My aim in this project is to highlight the potential extinction of our native insects and the surreal possibility of a mutated species, as a result of our increased technological age and throwaway consumer mentality. As art practitioner, I was mindful of how I can make only ecological friendly footprints and I made conscious choices to primarily use found objects that would have otherwise been thrown away. The wire used in construction was the only thing I purchased to create this work. I mostly used hand tools, rather than the machine counterparts, which certainly gave my works a handcrafted appeal.  I believe this mindfulness is crucial in considering what type of media and art forms I pursue next year. The world needs artists and designers who practice sustainability. It’s the only way forward in creating a huge positive impact on our global ecosystem and the creatures who live within, great and small.

What good are Bugs?

We shriek about them, slap and spray them, and generally think of insects (when we think of them at all) as pests. Yet if all insects, or even a critical few, were to disappear – if there were none to pollinate plants, serve as food for other animals, dispose of dead organisms, and perform other ecologically essential tasks – virtually all terrestrial ecosystems on Earth, the webs of life, would unravel.

There is no way to predict what would replace them. But there is no doubt that without insects the world would be radically different and far less friendly to us humans, assuming that we could survive at all.

Waldbauer, G. (2003) What Good are Bugs? Insects in the Web of Life. London, UK. Harvard University Press

With small object sculpture in mind, can you imagine where I am heading with this?