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While it doesn't rank on par with killing an endangered animal like a tiger or bluefin tuna in the name of art, killing 200,000 ants to create a piece of art is still falls on the odd, and cruel side. Chris Trueman from California bought batches of ants at a cost of $500 per 40,000. After killing them with cotton balls soaked in nail polish remover, he used them to create a picture. What might be more jaw-dropping is that the 48-inch-by-42-inch work was priced at $35,000 when he completed it. The Telegraph shows the completed image of, interestingly enough, someone with a gun. The paper reports that the 32-year-old used tweezers to place the dead ants to form the picture.
Trueman's inspiration for the piece was a childhood experience of when he first knowingly tried to kill something, which was a hill of red ants when he was five years old. Apparently he figured he'd kill a bunch more to make the memory into an artistic statement. Luckily, Trueman does feel some remorse for his work of corpses.
He said: "It took several years, not because of the actual labour, but because at one point I started to feel bad about killing all of the ants and I stopped the project for over a year.
"Then I decided that the first ants would have died in vain if I didn't finish the work so I decided to continue.
"It was also quite an expensive work to produce each shipment of ants would cost $500."
Considering most people have used a can of Raid at least once in their life to get rid of a trail of ants streaming through their kitchen, it's understandable to blow off this strange art piece as a rather eccentric medium. But also considering we're working hard to make the planet a thriving and healthy place for all species, knocking off 200,000 ants for an artistic statement is a very sad waste of life. Could he have explored the same moment in life without actually killing 200,000 ants?
If anything, the piece makes viewers consider why they value some lifeforms more than others. And, of course, "What would PETA say?"
Oh, and the most recent buyer of the work? You could probably guess...
Ripley's Believe It or Not.