Michael Olsen is one of Britain’s premiere lepidopterological artists. His representations of butterflies mix hand painting with feathers and acrylics to create truly unique and idiosyncratic display pieces.
Olsen’s fascination with butterflies and birds has been lifelong. In particular, he finds the moment a butterfly stops to let an observer admire its form captivating. His work is an attempt to recreate these moments on a large scale by using a large number of butterflies.
Browse our gallery of Michael Olsen artworks today.
Michael Olsen has a background in retail. This, he admits, was more a matter of life circumstance than of passion. For most of his first 70 years of life, Olsen pursued arts and crafts solely as a hobby, creating things for his own pleasure, or for their practical purposes.
That all changed recently, and Olsen began to pursue his artistic endeavours as a new venture. Inspired by Victorian butterfly domes, Olsen wanted to make artworks that put the appeal of these domes into a more contemporary package, and to allow them to be used as wall displays in people’s homes.
Olsen came up with his now-signature flights of butterflies, which bring nature indoors in a realistic and beautiful way. His pieces are so intricate and large that viewers can look at them every day and still see something new.
In almost all of Michael Olsen’s pieces, the feather butterflies are arranged so they appear to be floating on the wall, encased in an acrylic box. The artist is always experimenting with his installations, using different shapes, colours and sizes. As well as his own original pieces, Olsen offers bespoke cabinets made to order.
Aside from Victorian domes, Michael Olsen’s inspirations are the simple beautiful things in life, such as love, family, the outdoors, music, and moments of happiness — alone or with others. These are the things that drive Olsen to create displays that are just as beautiful.