Artist Michael Mapes – Foam, Vials, Pins & Photographic Specimen Boxes

by Sherry Riter in Art

You may be wondering how foam, vials and pins go together, but I assure you that Michael Mapes has proven that he can join them into thought-provoking artistic pieces.

New York-based artist, Michael Mapes at, puts photographic prints, miscellaneous printed material, insect pins, pinning foam, glass vials, magnifiers, gelatin capsules, resin, wax, petri dish, hair, plastic bags, cotton thread, resin, modeling clay and dried roses in a wood box with a glass cover and it becomes art.

“The human specimens reflect the artist’s interest in the role of creative science as lab threatens to supplant studio in his own work. Representations of the specimen are dissected and then reconstructed through artistic interpretation invoking entomological, forensic and artistic methods.”

On his website, Michael Mapes gives a chronology recounting different aspects of his life. The first entry is sweet:

    1966 – painted first documented portrait (family) on non-archival paper

He continues with such things as:

    1979 – decided not to attend Rhode Island School of Design
    1990 – formed the product development company MINC, created and produced products for direct mail, retail and museum stores. sold several hundred thousand shirts and enjoyed the rewards of a profitable, small, creative based business while it lasted
    2005 – began making art

As interesting as all of them are to me (you have to go to his website to see the whole list), I totally love the last entry which reads:

    2012 – still doesn’t text

I know. It is almost unimaginable. No texting. Maybe we should have a moment of silence.

Now that you know a little about the artist, let’s take a look at the art of Michael Mapes. I really enjoyed the layout of his website. Yeah, it appealed to the HTML geek in me.

Michael Mapes website format

Michael Mapes vials of photography

Closeup of Michael Mapes vials of photography

Miachael Mapes vials and flowers

Closeup of Michael Mapes vials and flowers

Michael Mapes vials

Closeup of Michael Mapes vials

Michael Mapes pins

Closeup of Michael Mapes pins

I can’t “pin” down why, but I think the art creations of Michael Mapes will “stick” with me for awhile.


This post was written by...

Sherry Riter is also known as The Redhead Riter. Sherry is witty, intelligent and addictive as she writes about cooking, family, marriage, failures, blogging tips, art, humor, inspiration, travel, PTSD and aging. Her goal is to inspire, motivate, educate and to make her audience laugh. Sherry embraces being a redhead and helps others to see the redhead point of view…"In some eras redheads were worshipped while others thought us witches. Personally, I like the former and think every day is 'Love a redhead day!'" She can also be found on Facebook, Google+, Pinterest, StumbleUpon, Linkedin, tweeting as @TheRedheadRiter and you can subscribe to her free blog feed.

{ 6 comments… read them below or add one }

1 Skip_D May 4, 2012 at 1:57 am

This is really incredible work. Thanks for featuring him!


2 The Redhead Riter May 4, 2012 at 2:00 am

I’m glad you enjoyed it, Skip. I love all the “different” kind of art.


3 Joan May 4, 2012 at 4:08 am

After reading your post I went to view Michael Mapes website. His art is ingenious. Thank you for introducing me to this artist.


4 The Redhead Riter May 4, 2012 at 5:50 am

My pleasure, Joan. I love his website. I love the letter thing at the beginning too. I won’t tell you how long I kept hovering over it so that I could watch it click. LOL


5 andy May 4, 2012 at 1:17 pm

Piercing lucidity Sherry. Fantastic post. Wish you a weekend as good as this post!!


6 The Redhead Riter May 4, 2012 at 3:19 pm

THANK YOU ANDY!!! I’m glad everyone is enjoying it. I love the creativity of artists and find it very inspiring. It makes me feel like I can do anything I set my mind to doing!


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