If you turn on the news, all you see is natural disasters, protests, famine, war, political BS, racism, bombs, and rage all-round. Yes, I can undoubtedly say that we live in the era of the war machine. Everyone’s in a hurry and quick to anger (and easily offended). I’ve even observed similar behaviour in birds: they lose their tempers at each other over scraps of food and come 17:00, even the usually docile pigeons start flying to their roosting spots at urgent speeds.

The world rushes by, and I stand still at the centre of its monstrous storm.

I’ve jotted down the idea of creating a war scene on a moth’s wings (similar to my Infernal Lucanus: the nine circles of hell on a stag beetle’s back), but researching war leaves a bitter taste in your mouth. So I just let it flicker in the back of my mind for a couple of years, until recently. Many things conspired in my life that lead me to face the War Moth finally. I reckoned if I could face terrible loss and bottomless depression, I could face war in graphite on paper.

If war broke out on the back of a moth, would it be too insignificant for us to see? Would it open a portal for more evil to seep through to poison our hearts and devastate our lands? I used the Death’s-Head Hawkmoth as a base for my illustration, but instead of a skull at its head, I positioned a gas mask which gives it a look of surprise—the same look we all will have on day zero.

Bellum Lepidoptera is in sorts a homage to Picasso’s Guernica, which is a painting of deeply moving horror, in my opinion. That is why I included a horse. My horse has burned from nuclear exposure: melted skin and smoke around it. It rears up from a smoke cloud, which in turn reveals ruins and crumbling buildings.

On the opposite wing is an atomic explosion with various bones scattered throughout. The smaller wings in the centre fade into the remains of burnt trees: a barren landscape. Precisely what our world is starting to look like if we can see through the smog every once in a while.

“Only the dead have seen the end of war.”
– Plato