Arachnid Art

Anna McKenna, Staff Writer

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The artwork has come in many forms throughout the years from using a single pencil for shading, painting canvas with a brush, or big blocks of wood being carved into masterpieces. But have you ever heard of an artist that used an arachnid for art? Yes, I do mean a creepy crawly arachnid (as in a spider).

Michael Anthony Simon an infamous 2009 artist in his thirties created a unique technetate for the history of art. He found that technetate in backyards of South Korea. Michael Anthony Simon was living in Chicago, when he started getting bored of the town and needed a deep search of creativity so, he moved to a studio in the city of Gwangju South Korea to spark some thoughts. Quoted by Simon “I wanted to isolate myself, close the studio doors, see what happened,” he said the day after moving. After adapting to the Korea lifestyle Simon found himself wandering around the woods of his backyard. He had brought paint traveling his long distances. Arachnid artist then would start painting leaves and spider webs using them as his blank canvas. He’d then take a photograph of his work to remember, head back to studio try to paint what he found. According to Pinar of My Modern Met.

Still, Simon wanted his art to be seen in person while he also wanted to do more of what sparked him that first day he moved to South Korea. Crazy enough Simon began to collect spiders throughout the woods and exam them in his studio. Experimenting with many Korean species of arachnid Simon finally chose the female Golden Silk Orb-weaver because it had around circular web shaping. He would put a silky fabric on triangular pedestals on the top rods facing vertical from the point. Simon said, “I’d get them started, and then I leave for the night.” Placing a single 2 spiders on all 3 rods to complete one triangle shape point. “After that, the spider was on her own.” Quoted Simon.

In the morning he wakes up and smells the fresh coffee head to his studio to find elaborate newer lattices webs. After that, he would capture all the Golden Silk Orb-weavers and let them all out in woods where he’d found them. Not harming the spider, only using it for its webs. Michael would spray paint the webs bright colors still on rods sometimes. After few years the webs would collapse but Simon would pick them up and put them in a plastic baggie if he could. Sometimes he would even remove the webs from the rods and frame them to the wall or make collages out of the broken loose web. “I like the ridiculous nature of the project,” Simon always said.

Simon went on a Spring spree in Seoul, banged and hurt his head in the forest. Afterwards, his vision started to fade. “The world looked bleached or if lights were turning up,” Simon said. He lost most of his focus though he could see things in the periphery. Sometime around September Simon got results he had Leber’s hereditary optic neuropathy, a condition caused by rare genetic mutation. He’d had been told in three weeks he would be illegally blind. According to Nick Paumgarten of The New Yorker. In just a few months he moved out of Korea to the U.S, into his brother’s apartment. Simon didn’t stop art there he kept doing what he loved even though he was blind. Shipping his web artworks to Colorado, suburbs of Denver and New York, Apex Art a SoHo gallery. Today he doesn’t work with many live spiders instead his painting of no color, recently polar bear in the snow and what looks like a man running with cobwebs. How would it be to make transcendent art and then lose all sight? According to Simon “I’m an independent guy, but I know need help. I’m Still figuring things out.” As for making art “It just takes longer. Its alleviated a lot of bullshit because I can’t see it!” Micahel Anthony Simon is truly a courageous artist.

Works Cited
Easton. Beautifuldecay,
Paumgarten, Nick. “Michael Anthony Simon’s Spiderweb Paintings.” The New Yorker, The New Yorker, 18 June 2017,
Shovova, Talia. “Spiderwebs Transformed into Colorful Works of Art.” My Modern Met, 16 June 2016,

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