A new feather butterfly wall art trend is sweeping the nation!
January 23, 2019
Clients with empty walls around the UK are beginning to clamour for Michael Olsen’s stunning butterfly wall art installations. He creates his Butterfly Art installations using hand painted feather butterflies. These delicate items come in many shapes, sizes and colours and are fitted within transparent acrylic boxes.
A beautiful addition to any wall, Michael has been creating these works of art for the past 6 years. As well as standard sized boxes ranging from 50 x 50 cm to 100 x 100 cm, he also creates bespoke designs to match particular wall colours, a client’s own design or theme, a style of wallpaper or to fit a specific size of wall space. A single installation can take anything from 4 to 6 weeks to complete.
Michael says: “I’ve always been fascinated by nature and in particular butterflies. To me, there is something captivating about that moment when a butterfly stops to let an onlooker admire its form. Using this as my stimulus, I wanted to see if I could create something that was both contemporary, visually stimulating and which could be displayed on the wall in the home. I decided to create a “flight of butterflies”. I love the idea of bringing nature indoors and made a conscious decision to make a piece large enough and intricate enough to be looked at daily, but always offer something new to see.”
Since he started creating these works, a growing following in the UK and abroad have discovered and show appreciation for his Butterfly Art. As his style develops, interest in Michaels work is growing too. He adds: “The design, content and layout of my works have evolved and matured over the years. The art I created 6 years ago is quite different to what is finding its way into my clients’ homes now. The choice of butterfly colours is more vibrant and the layouts have more substance. In addition, I have streamlined the acrylic boxes from an original depth of 20cm to 15cm and now to 10cm.”
As his art has become more widely regarded and word has started to spread, Michael is being asked to undertake an increasing number of bespoke commissions. The largest and most challenging piece of Butterfly Art that he has created so far measured 2m x 1.5m. This work featured at a charity auction last year, which took place at the Dorchester Hotel and raised £13,000.
Another stunning piece that he recently completed was a display measuring 1.2 metres square. This was a commemorative work for a private client, which incorporated over 600 feather butterflies. It was a very moving memorial and gave him unfettered pleasure during its creation and presentation to the client.
From a standing start in 2012 and then represented solely by Taylor Smith Gallery in Westerham, Michael’s work is now displayed in 30 galleries across the UK and Ireland. In addition to selling throughout the UK, Michael’s Butterfly Art has also been commissioned by clients in Stockholm, the US and Hong Kong. As well as in the UK, Michael’s work is being displayed in galleries in Berlin and Palma, Mallorca. New and exciting projects are underway and the launch of his long-awaited ‘Aquatic’ themed installation, made from white and black acrylic was debuted at The Affordable Art Fair in London’s Battersea in 2018. Last year he also exhibited at Kew Gardens and Chester Arts Fair.
When asked what his biggest break has been, Michael says: “One was to have my works accepted at the Affordable Art Fair (AAF). This organisation scrutinises works to be put up for sale and my art has been regularly hung and sold in many of the AAF locations, including Battersea, Hampstead, Hong Kong and Stockholm. And on the same theme, my work was on sale last year at the exclusive Berkeley Square LAPADA exhibition, a very high-end show that saw two of my works sold.”
More about Michael Olsen
Previously a retailer, more through life circumstance than passion, Michael spent the best part of his 73 years making things simply for pleasure or for practical purposes.
Now he’s let his artistic impulses develop, and what was previously just a hobby has become a gratifying and successful business venture.
Michael enjoys the simple, beautiful things that life has to offer – family, the outdoors, music and moments in time spent happily with others or alone, all of which inspires his creativity to make things to enjoy.
The inspiration to start creating his beautiful Butterfly Art
Whilst visiting an art gallery a number of years ago, Michael was struck by the beauty of a number of butterfly-based works. They were created by artists who had employed various media to depict these beautiful creatures, either on canvas or board and others using real butterflies within frames or beneath glass domes. It occurred to him that if he could create the same feeling of motion and freedom these insects bring into our world, without using the real thing, there might be an opportunity for both creativity as well as for business.
He set out with one of his sons, his then business partner, to source credible but artificial butterflies, acrylic display boxes and to discuss the concept with a number of art galleries and designers. As the project developed, a number of practical hurdles needed to be overcome in order to produce work of high quality, longevity as well as beauty. These standards were intrinsic to the project and considerable time was spent developing the construction of the acrylic boxes, the method of fixing of the butterflies within them as well as the type of adhesive to be used.
The main themes in Michael’s work
Michael likes to bring variation into his work. The ideas tend to revolve around shapes, including human, animal and geometric patterns. Initially random layouts and colours of butterflies were his only focus. Now, not only does he vary the size of the butterflies used from between 3cm-12cm, but he has introduced specific shapes within which the butterflies are laid. Having recently produced a piece called ‘L’homme Bleu’ to critical acclaim as well as having sold a number of heart shaped installations, he is currently working on a butterfly shape filled with butterflies. A number of other variations are in the concept stage.
Each piece can be tailored to a specific design or for a special occasion, be it a birthday, anniversary, Mother’s Day and more.
How to contact Michael or commission your own piece
Michael’s Butterfly Art pieces start from £1,295 upwards and can be ordered via his website