These colorful sculptures are actually painted spider webs

Artist Michael Anthony Simon employs some unusual helpers in creating his gauzy, brightly-hued sculptures: spiders. To create these unique pieces, Simon invites industrious arachnids into his studio and sets them to doing that thing they do best.

Simon came up with these idea for these spider web sculptures while working on another sort of unnatural coloring of nature. While working in Korea, Simon had the idea to "highlight" leaves on trees by painting them in bright pinks and blues, a process that allowed him to create art with nature without harming the living trees in the process. He decided to explore a similar type of highlighting with spider webs. Simon would collect local spiders and house them in his studio where the spiders would build webs between plastic rods. When he was finished with the spiders, he would return them to the area where he found them. As for the webs, he sprays them with layer upon layer of misted lacquer, making them permanent enough to color and display. They lack the ethereal quality of the unadulterated webs, but here they look more like a material ready to be crafted into textiles, which seems rather appropriate given the way Simon has harnessed the natural abilities of these spiders for his somewhat unnatural creations.

Beautiful/Decay has more on Simon and his spider web and non-spider web art.

Michael Anthony Simon: Redefining Boundaries [Beautiful/Decay via My Modern Met]

These colorful sculptures are actually painted spider webs

These colorful sculptures are actually painted spider webs

These colorful sculptures are actually painted spider webs