Works (Tap to zoom)
Garnett Puett (b. 1959 in Haria, GA; lives and works in Kona, HI) is a contemporary sculptor and fourth generation beekeeper, utilizing his bees, in part, as his artistic collaborators. This unique, reciprocal relationship results in what he calls his apisculptures (api is the Latin for bee), in which sculpture, performance and insect partnership coalesce.
Puett conceived this original method of working during his graduate studies, when he discovered his interest in art working in conjunction with nature instead of against it. To create an apisculpture, Puett covers his specially designed structures—made out of welded steel armatures—in beeswax, imagining the eventual comb they will build, before providing sugar water and the essential queen bee for a colony. Puett employs as many as 90,000 honeybees per sculpture, which simultaneously live within and shape the structure for the duration of the sculpting process. While Puett cannot fully control the forms that the bees choose for their honeycombs, he does manipulate their work by melting and removing parts of the form. When Puett determines that the sculpture is finished, which can take anywhere from a few weeks to a month, he transplants the bees to an ordinary beehive and cleans the honey from the comb. If the wax sculptures are properly preserved, they can last for thousands of years, bearing the marks of the joint performance between nature and human creativity. Through these works, Puett also educates the public on the fascinating lives of bees and the crucial role they play in our environment.