Evelyn Bracklow Paints Frighteningly Realistic Ants on Antique Glazed China

The German artist answers our questions about inspiration, disgust, and creativity.

  • LA PHILIE for Rijksstudio_Nr 3_ picture_Evelyn Bracklow
  • Chitins Glanz_cup_picture_Uwe Fröhlich
  • Chitins Glanz_picture_Evelyn Bracklow und Ingrid Raab
  • Chitins Glanz_detail_picture_Uwe Fröhlich
  • Chitins Glanz_sugar bowl_picture Uwe Fröhlich
  • LA PHILIE for Rijksstudio_Nr 2_picture Evelyn Bracklow
  • Chitins Glanz_teacup_picture Uwe Fröhlich
  • LA PHILIE for Rijksstudio_Nr1_pictue Evelyn Bracklow

Evelyn Bracklow is creating a warped world of china and insects out of her studio, La Philie. Depending on your taste, you may want to eat dinner off these plates or throw them against a wall and jump on a chair screaming. Her series, titled “chitins gloss,” has been featured everywhere from Colossal to TIME Magazine. We chatted with the artist about her inspirations and influence.

How did you come up with the idea to put ants on china?

Some pictures I see or imagine have a strong impact on me. They attract, scare, or even disgust me—but it has to be in a strong way. So the idea for this work resulted from pure chance, when the sight of a carelessly placed plate—by then taken over by ants—fascinated me so much that I felt the urge to simply conserve this image. It shocked me and attracted me at the same time. While painting, I try to recreate this first fascination.

How do you create the piece? What kind of tools do you use, and how much time does it take?

I create the pieces by looking at the china carefully and imagining where to place the ants. The only tool I use to paint the ants is a fine brush. How much time it takes to paint a piece depends on the china and on the amount of ants. It takes severals hours to create a piece, at the minimum 3 hours (only for painting). Some pieces takes so much time that I lose track. But that is the sense, because I don’t want to work on mass quantities.

What inspired you want to become an artist?

I became an artist because I didn’t want to become anything else. I found art to be something that I’m good at, and I feel good while doing it.

What do you think this series represents or suggests?

Fear, disgust, fascination, and admiration—this very interplay of feelings constitutes the charm of the work. Furthermore, to me, the ants symbolize all the stories that any formerly discarded piece of porcelain carries with it. Where one once dined and drank, today ants bustle in new formations.

chitins Evelyn Bracklow Paints Frighteningly Realistic Ants on Antique Glazed China

All photos courtesy of Evelyn Bracklow.

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