Butterflies are one of nature’s most beautiful creatures, but with a lifespan ranging from a few days to a year (for migrating Monarch), but on average a few weeks, their beauty is ephemeral. Russian artist Vadim Zaritsky immortalizes the magnificence of butterflies by using their wings in his paintings. No butterflies are harmed in this process, for he only uses the wings of those that are already dead, which he gathers on the roads in his hometown of Lipetsk or gets from collectors (if the wings are imperfect). A former police officer, Zaritsky has created over 100 butterfly pieces in the last five years. Each work can take anywhere from a week to several months to complete.
Though many butterfly activists have given him criticism, Zaritsky insists that no harm was done in the creation of his art. He has collected butterflies his whole life and always been impressed with their ability to retain their color for decades. His paintings honor the lives of the butterflies by allowing them to be a part of something just as beautiful as they were before their death.