Wednesday 17 January 2018

Meet Spike: The artistic stag beetle taking over the internet

The young beetle’s art is getting quite a lot of attention.


By Kameron Virk

A stag beetle is winning legions of fans for his hugely popular artwork.

Spike, who lives in Japan, became an internet sensation after his owner Mandy posted pictures of him hard at work.

The pen strokes are definitely gestural, and it wouldn’t be surprising to find out young Spike had taken an interest in the abstract expressionist movement.

Mmm, yes, definitely art there.

Mandy has four beetles and first became interested in them when she went to a summer festival in Japan in 2014.

Beetles are popular pets there because they are low maintenance, and it appears Spike might just have become the most famous of them all. King of the beetles!

His personal Twitter account was set up this week and already has 14,000 people following his every move intently.

Mandy first discovered Spike’s talent when taking pictures of him holding random things to show her friends. When she put a marker in his mandibles he started jerking around and an artist was born.

His first piece of work is now proudly framed in Mandy’s home.

It’s not just marker pens he’s strong enough to handle either – just look how good this beetle is.

For such a prolific artist, Spike doesn’t have a particular colour he prefers working with.

Instead, it’s just “the one he’s holding – he won’t give it back,” according to Mandy.

So what else can you do with a stag beetle?

Mandy said: “Spike likes to explore any and everything. When I’m home, I let him out to wander the living room. He climbs the sofa, the curtains, the walls … and me. If I leave bags out, he’ll hide in them.

“Getting pinched hurts – he dents both skin and art supplies. But as with most animals, if I get grabbed, it’s my own fault for startling him. He’s quite relaxed most of the time.”

In the wild, Mandy said, stag beetles eat rotting fruit and tree sap – but Spike eats out of a little jelly cup and is particularly fond of banana. They generally live around two-and-a-half years.

Mandy also has two rainbow stag beetles, Julius and Cleo, as well as Sally who is paired with Spike.

“My other beetles have their unique charms, but none have had the gumption to hold a pen!” she said. “My rainbow stags often fly, something Spike can technically do, but has never tried.

“The rainbow stags are calm and slow, while the dorcus alcides (Spike) are quite energetic. My very first beetle, a dorcus curvidens named Chunk, was so gentle that he never tried to pinch.”

Spike now has his own Instagram and Twitter and, in further good news for his fans, some of his work will be going up for auction – so keep an eye on his social pages.

Press Association

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