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Artist bitten by the bug

By Wang Qian | China Daily | Updated: 2023-02-22 08:24
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Combining mechanical components with specimens of insects or marine animals, Tan Yan'ge creates fantastic sculptures with a steampunk theme.[Photo provided to China Daily]

Turning insects into steampunk-themed characters has given rise to a swarm of admirers, Wang Qian reports.

You could say his passion for art is bugging him. At Tan Yan'ge's studio in Changsha, Hunan province, there is a retro-futuristic world of insects, which seems to come straight out of a sci-fi movie.

Combining bug bodies with metal gears, mainly retrieved from watches, Tan has built an army of bizarre hybrid creatures, from scorpions and beetles to spiders, all with a touch of steampunk.

In his eyes, every insect "wearing mechanical armor" is a soldier with its own personality. Behind each piece, Tan tries to unfold a story. In his imagination, a bush-cricket is a fully equipped war machine when the world is on the brink of apocalypse, and a giant lobster cricket is a knight in the desert.

"The bush-cricket is my favorite design, which is inspired by the adventure film Mad Max: Fury Road. Set in a postapocalyptic future, it is like a character walking out of a film scene," Tan says.

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