Hi there, fellow human! I’m Rankin (rank-in), the creator of, ‘the Huxley Collection.’ First and foremost, thank you for taking the time to cruise my creations. I mainly focus on insect art with the hope it encourages others to be curious with compassion.
Throughout my site I do my best to not only showcase my work, but tell the story of how and why I do it. A metamorphosis always begins somewhere, and my story is no different.
A few years ago, the Huxley Collection was born out of a literal and figurative butterfly effect. While on a walk in North Austin, I happened to cross paths with a local butterfly who had recently taken its last breath. It was in perfect form; I knew I had to make something to honor it. With some curiosity, research, and inspiration I made my 1st lantern which quickly turned into an apartment filled with insect oddities. Thanks to the Austin artist community I was invited to share my work at a coffee shop which morphed into my fellow Collectors being able to find me at art markets around Austin, on Etsy, and at our neighborhood apiary, Two Hives Honey. I hope my terrariums remind you to,
Feel free to scroll through some of my favorite displays and please enjoy the story of my artwork.
This was the 1st display I ever made. The OG design that started it all : )
Yellow African Swallowtail
1. What are these? - I refer to them as Insect Displays but they have been called Fairy Gardens or Critter Terrariums.
2. Are the insects you use real? - Yes! They are also unaltered besides positioning.
3. Do you kill your bugs? - NO! My art is meant to celebrate life. All of the insects I use have lived out their natural born bug lives.
4. Is shipping available? - Yes, within the US. Thankfully they are very sturdy which makes shipping easy (and kid friendly!)
5. Do you create custom orders? - Yes! I love making personalized designs and can always be reached at email@example.com
More information is available under the ‘FAQ’ tab
I absolutely love creating a pairing between 2 critters that you normally don’t get to see, but truly enjoy.
I like to think of it as that odd couple at every New Years Eve house party who you originally didn’t imagine together but when combined, truly make sense.
Each piece is designed and decorated with hand picked faux and natural elements. Whether I am on a walk through Michael’s or my neighborhood park, I am constantly on the look for items with size, texture, and color that can add dimension as well as character to every design.
And sometimes, the supplies are as beautiful as the butterflies.
In the insect world, size truly doesn’t matter. That’s why I like to create varying options to meet the diversity of critters and human alike.
Take a moment to scroll through. You’ll see the celebration of mini moments in the form of tiny totems with bugs as well as varying crystals, all-natural essential oil insect repellent, and the result of a ‘Pollinator Pack’ I offer which includes a full kit to create a perfect pollination station for local insects.
One of my favorite moments vending at an art market was when a man, probably in his 60’s, walked up to my table without saying a word. He seems to be captivated by 1 particular piece that displayed a large red wasp. At first he just stared at it but a moments passed then he hesitantly picked up the wasp for a closer inspection. The next thing I knew, out of the corner of my eye, I saw his hand raise and start waving to someone across the grassy lot. He then joyfully exclaimed, “HEY HONEY! Look at me! I’m holding a wasp!!” He later explained that he was allergic to wasps and has been deathly afraid of them since he was a child. With a glean in his eye and a smile on his face, he looked at me and and said, “This is the closest I’ve ever been able to get to a wasp without having a panic attack….they’re actually quite beautiful.”
That story is just 1 of many wonderful interactions I am honored to have each time I share my work. Since the beginning I have found that my art seems to inspire people to share their opinions, thoughts, or memories of insects. With that, I find myself having more in depth and intimate conversations than the average artist. For that, I am extremely grateful.
If you’re interested you can find my list of upcoming markets under the ‘Events’ tab. Below is a brief breakdown of the opportunities I have been invited to in order to share my work.
Oddities and Curiosities Expo 2018 and 2019, San Marcos Mermaid Festival 2018 and 2019, Featured Artist at Method Hair Salon 2018 and The Cavalier 2019, and West Austin Studio Tour 2019.
I have also been a guest artist for numerous creative collectives including: Eastside PopUp, ATX Art Market, Poco A Poco Mercado, and Soco Farmers Market.
Currently you can find my designs in stores Two Hives Honey and Politix of Pwerple.
I knew my life had taken a weird turn when I arrived at my front door, saw a bag full of dead bugs attached to my door clip, as was excited. Much hasn’t changes since that 1st experience except now I have my regular bunch of collectors who donate to my work as well as strangers who surprise me at art markets with jars full of dead insects.
In addition to my incredible collection of donations, I find myself constantly looking at the ground or scanning bushes for hidden treasures. Mostly I am with my dog on those adventure, but for quite a while I was working as a professional and would often be asked why I was riffling around in the dirt while wearing a suit. I would then have to expose my intentions and my art which would only ever lead to more and more questions.
Each one had a life and served a purpose and were collected only AFTER that purpose has been served.
All are appreciated.
Each display is crafted with hours of love, intention, and attention to to detail.
A fellow insect enthusiast aptly described by process as building a ship in a bottle has been the best way to communicate the level of precision required for this work. Every flora accent, millimeter of moss, or butterfly wing is precisely placed. Depending on the size and intricacies it can take anywhere from 4 to 40+ hours to complete, not including dry time.
The tools I use include an expansive and varying amount of tweezers and glue. I believe my tweezer collection in up to about 10 sets that I regularly swap between depending on the task. And I have gone through the painstaking process of determining which kind of glue is required for each step. I use a combination of Elmers Glue, E600, Well Bond, hot glue, and super glue within each display.
Why not be adorned with green, blue, or copper Jewel Beetle wing covers and raw real quartz crystals?
Displays may cause spontaneous conversation and curiosity. Artist cannot be held responsible for potential positive interactions in the presence of your one-of-a-kind terrarium. Please display out of reach of boring humans.
Five Fun Facts About Butterflies
It’s believed that butterflies were originally named ‘Flutterbys’ but the name got mixed up by a wealthy Englishman and ‘Butterfly’ eventually stuck
One story claims that the origin of ‘Butterfly’ stems from the folk lore that butterflies were actually witches who would take form to steal milk and butter from their unsuspecting neighbors.
A group of butterflies is called, A Kaleidescope
Butterflies can generally be deciphered from moths because moths are usually nocturnal, large in body size, and have furry antennae.
There are over 17, 500 different species of butterflies around the world, 750 types can be found in the United States
These insects found themselves framed…but in the best way possible.
When you work on each display with as much love and intent as I do, it can be bittersweet to see them go to a new home. Thankfully my fellow Collectors are some of the warmest humans I’ve ever met who truly have a deep connection with their individual piece. I wouldn’t have it any other way.