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The Atlantic Selects

The Hidden Artists in Bugs

Sep 21, 2018 | 831 videos
Video by Iqbal Ahmed

Steven Kutcher has never felt much at ease around people. In fact, his preferred companions are most people’s greatest adversaries, if not merely the bane of their existence—bugs. Kutcher has made a living studying, befriending, and creating art with arthropods. Rather than fear them, he reveres them.

In Iqbal Ahmed’s short documentary, Bug Man, Kutcher explains how he has derived inspiration from bugs for a career in entomology, as a Hollywood “bug wrangler,” and now, as an artist. He details his process, which involves using insect trails to create unique abstract paintings.

Like Kutcher’s art itself, Bug Man is visually striking. “I wanted to make a strong visual and tonal piece,” Ahmed told The Atlantic. “I wanted to have striking images that would reflect Steven’s solitude and emotional state, and I wanted those images to tell as much about his character as his own dialogue.”

Perhaps just as interesting as Kutcher’s art is his reclusive persona. Behind his reticent veneer, as Ahmed demonstrates in the film, is a rich interior life.

“I’ve noticed this about people—they’ll walk down a pathway and they won’t see anything,” Kutcher told Ahmed. “But when I’m walking with another biologist, we’ll spend the whole day walking 50 feet because there’s so much to see. People just don’t see what’s right in front of them.”

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Author: Emily Buder

About This Series

A showcase of cinematic short documentary films, curated by The Atlantic.