Features — 01 June 2009 — by Rowland A. Parks
According to Wikipedia, butterfly art has existed since the time of Egyptian hieroglyphs more than 3,500 years ago, but, as evidenced at this year’s National Agriculture and Trade Show, a Belizean youth from Benque Veijo Del Carmen has taken up this most unusual art form.
Brian Neal, 20, is in business on his own, creating artwork from butterflies in his spare time to earn money to help him pay for his education at the University of Belize.
Amandala caught up with Neal at this year’s National Agriculture and Trade Show, where he had many of his magnificently created collages that are made from glass and butterfly wings.
Neal said that he got the idea when he went to work one summer at Chaa Creek Lodge. He and his brother decided to make butterfly collages.
Neal, who is a graduate of Sacred Heart High School, said that he makes about one hundred and seventy-five dollars per week off his artwork.
He is presently majoring in business at the University of Belize and has plans to open his own gift shop.
He said that the art that he is involved in is very time-consuming. “I have to be in a room where there is no breeze blowing, that is the first thing”, he explained.
One of the smaller pieces, like the small fishes he makes entirely from butterfly wings, would normally take him about two hours to put together. But the bigger, more complicated artwork can take as much as twelve hours to put together.
Neal stresses that he only uses one type of butterfly—the blue morpho, also known as “Belizean Blue.”
He collects his blue morpho from Chaa Creek Lodge, where there is a butterfly farm.