The Art of Mushrooms

As a child, I hated mushrooms. They were slimy and tasted weird. As an adult, I’ve found that they are quite tasty. I have also come to appreciate these creations in terms of art. Mother nature blesses us with such a variety too. I cannot identify the types and styles of the various mushrooms yet, but each that I have come across have proven to be elegant forms of art.

According to Thomas Carlyle, a Scottish philosopher from the 1800s, mushrooms are first form of art. “Nature alone is antique, and the oldest art a mushroom.” Though I have never heard of Carlyle before today when I ‘googled’ quotes on mushrooms, I would have to say we think alike and I could not agree with him more.

I try to imagine how magical mushrooms must have looked for those who had never heard of them before. Having no knowledge of what these tiny wonders could be, they must have been breathtaking, even magical.

Of course, the magical part may in part be due to some mushrooms (of the psilocybe genus) having hallucinogenic effects. This “species was known to the Aztecs as teonanácatl (literally ‘divine mushroom’ – agglutinative form of teó (god, sacred) and nanácatl (mushroom) in Náhuatl) and were reportedly served at the coronation of the Aztec ruler Moctezuma II in 1502.” Now, I cannot say I have ever tried that type of mushroom, nor has it ever crossed my mind in desire to. No. I just really like to eat the normal ones in my food (pizza, spinach omelets, or on steaks) and stop to photograph the ones I find here and there.

I love how delicate and intricate they look. Sprouting up in random places, these little art structures offer the world a brief view of nature’s artistic hand. They must also offer a form of shelter and food to insects. When looking at the pictures, just imagine this is your view as a bug! (Or maybe the scale is more of a small animal like a bird or a rodent as a bug may view a mushroom as even larger than my iPhone macro app will allow me.) What a regal sight they must be at that scale.

Mushrooms have inspired art for years. Even today, mushroom art is prevalent. Just take a look at some things on Pintrest. You will find everything from drawings to photography to sculptures, and those all cover a range of styles. Regardless of what you find, it is clear that mushrooms are considered art to many or inspire art at least. Take a look a a few random things I found when searching mushrooms.

As you can see, mushroom art covers the gamut. If you want a mushroom necklace or a pair of mushroom socks, there will be a few places to fill that need. If you want some mushroom lawn decor or furniture, it can be found too. Countless artists draw, paint or photograph mushrooms. To name a couple, I found some wonderful work on and jmeyersforeman Photography (a new WordPress find for me!). And if you are super artsy or a super model, you can even find a mushroom looking, collar-necklace thing. (Sorry, no clue what you would actually call this object.)

I suppose the question is, what do you think of mushrooms? Are they art to you? Do you like to photograph them? Draw them? Wear them? Eat them? Or just decorate your garden in them?

For me, I can tell you that I will almost stop for a random mushroom. I will get down on the ground and try to check it out and photograph it from all angles. Who knows…maybe one day, I will see a little fairy waiting for me there.


For Sally D’s Mobile Photography Challenge ~ Nature.

13 thoughts on “The Art of Mushrooms

  1. Pingback: Sally D’s Mobile Photography Challenge: Nature (Autumn’s Seeds of Plenty) | Lens and Pens by Sally

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