Artist Grows Crystals On Dead Bugs To Create One-Of-A-Kind Art

Tyler Thrasher would’ve been a computer animator after earning a college degree in computer animation, but this career had lost all appeal for him. It was the latent artist in him that had started asserting itself and prompted him to pursue art. So, he decided to become a freelance artist.

However, this native from Oklahoma, USA wasn’t content with becoming any run-of-the-mill artist. He wanted to pursue something unique. This is when his love for high school chemistry came to his rescue. He re-discovered his fascination for sparkling minerals.

In an interview with, Thrasher reveals how he chose this line of art, “I know how to grow crystals. It’s simple chemistry; I remember that from high school. And I was like, could I possibly grow crystals on bugs?” This set him on the path to producing crystal drawings of monochromatic insects.

Thrasher’s research on the internet did not reveal any information. So, he started experimenting with himself. He picked up some cicada shells and put them in a solution of copper sulfate and left them overnight. The next day he found crystals growing out of a shell. This unique phenomenon had him hooked.

He soon compiled a list of substances he could use to grow crystals. He then went on to experiment with growing crystals on tiny dead hosts, such as beetles, moths, scorpions, and skulls of small animals. The crystal hues he chose ranged from delicate pinks to intense deep violets. Thus, the tiny dead hosts and other objects became his artistic medium.

Thrasher has some favorite crystals, such as zinc sulfate monohydrate and ammonium sulfate. Mixing the two gets zinc ammonium sulfate, a Tutton’s salt, that has clear crystals. One seed crystal of this can fill the entire container in crystals in a matter of hours and can also be used to cover toxic crystals.

Thrasher considers himself a part chemist and part artist. His latest series is a selection of crystallized works with some graphite drawings. His works have received critical acclaim from Beautiful Bizarre, Haute Macabre, Juxtapoz, and Venison Magazine. He enjoys a following of over 186,000 fans on Instagram alone.

Tyler Thrasher

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