Midvale man finds niche in framing exotic bugs

MIDVALE — A small store in Midvale is infested with bugs — thousands of them — and the owner wouldn’t have it any other way.

Jean-Michel Arrigona, owner of Natur at 94 W. 7720 South in Midvale, really likes bugs.

“I’m crazy about them,” Arrigona said. “My whole life I’ve loved animals. I’ve loved insects.”

Ten years ago he started putting bugs in frames as a hobby; he had a full-time job as a furniture building. But a few months ago, he started a business where he sells bugs as fine art. His work area is filled with containers of various species from around the world. He has drawers filled with bugs, big and small, ready to be framed.

“I have people in all parts of the world who catch them and then prepare them, fold them carefully,” he explained.

He has about 12 to 15 suppliers in China, Australia, New Guinea and several other countries in South America.

The bugs arrive in small packages, flat and brittle. He then uses various methods to relax or restore the creatures to their original size, just like they looked when they were alive.

“All I have done is pose them and frame them,” he said. “The colors are natural, the shine is natural, the texture; nothing is put on them to protect them, it’s not needed.”

The colors of the insects can be very vibrant, and some customers don’t believe he hasn’t altered the insects in anyway.