Ant farms have come and gone as a fad, but so has traditional framed wall painting as decor to some extent. You’re more likely to see some boring baskets or corny signs spelling “EAT” on people’s walls than actual art. Perhaps both would have made a comeback sooner had someone thought to combine the two. Just imagine their reaction when guests catch what appears, at first glance, to be ordinary wall art moving out of the corners of their eyes.
It’s no trick or optical illusion. These landscapes are literally alive. The natural activity of ants as they tunnel into the sand creates its own kind of sculptural element that’s only enhanced by a pictorial background.
FRAMEicariums may be an awkward name, but so too is the odd juxtaposition of chipped and faded vintage paintings with ants and sand trapped between them on a glass cover. Reusing retro artwork that would otherwise be discarded, these designs play on a combination of classic ideas of art, modern found objects and dynamic natural forces.
Some of these are simple, single-colored canvasses with lights to enhance the ants at work and a vintage frame to encase them (and layer of monochrome glass for added interest). Others are antique landscape paintings forgotten by the world and re-purposed to new ends.
Unlike most art, you can watch these pieces move and evolve over time as the ants build and burrow, creating tunnels and paths in their thin layer of occupied space. Meanwhile, the background landscapes naturally change with the front-end construction. Not bad for a novelty, so long as cleaning is not too complex a task.
Just don’t forget to feed the ants. They can’t exactly be self-sustaining when they’re trapped in a picture frame like the protagonist of The Truman Show.