Holiday Art

In a relatively unknown place, on the 3rd floor of JCVI in Rockville, MD, is a small fungal room where art meets science (and of course where all our fungal research takes place). Fungus often gets such a bad reputation for being gross and somewhat ‘standard’. We fungal folks know better and I am hoping to educate others with the underlying beauty that fungi possess, in a funky way. I recognize that beauty is in the eye of the beholder but I felt this might convince some that fungus can be fun and not just something that grows in the back of your fridge or a nuisance that contaminates your plates. Please enjoy these funky fungal holiday art forms.

Fungal Christmas tree. Top: Talaromyces stipitatus; Tree: Aspergillus nidulans; Ornaments: Penicillium marneffei; Trunk: Aspergillus terreus.

Fungal Christmas tree. Top: Talaromyces stipitatus; Tree: Aspergillus nidulans; Ornaments: Penicillium marneffei; Trunk: Aspergillus terreus.

Fungal snowman. Hat, Eyes, Mouth, Buttons: Aspergillus niger; Arms: Aspergillus nidulans; Nose: Aspergillus terreus with Penicillium marneffei; Body: Neosartorya fischeri.

Fungal snowman. Hat, Eyes, Mouth, Buttons: Aspergillus niger; Arms: Aspergillus nidulans; Nose: Aspergillus terreus with Penicillium marneffei; Body: Neosartorya fischeri.

Fungal Christmas Tree.

Fungal Christmas Tree.

I am open to suggestions and only limited by my own creativity (and of course my current work load) but never by the diversity of the very cool fungal world.

14 Responses to “Holiday Art”


  • Love the “snow” in the Snowman plate!

  • great fungal holiday spirit

  • what a Beautiful tree

  • wow great !!!!!

  • This is very clever! I especially like the last one.

  • Awesome! Do you have anything for Valentine’s Day?

  • cuuuuuuuuute!!!

  • I’m very impressed – who is the artist?

  • Stephanie Mounaud

    Thank you for all the comments. I try to predict the outcome of how the fungus will grow, however sometimes I am also surprised by the result (the ‘snow’ in the snowman is actually contamination that fit the scene perfectly). Expect another next year, I will start brainstorming.

  • I just discovered this and is pretty cool!
    At some point of my life I was doing similar stuff but I didn’t have all strains and colors to get so impressive fungal bioart! Love it! I just posted it on my blog!

  • My first and only science project –
    The Effects of Various Compounds on Mold…circa 1971??? And I STILL LOVE finding some of the most beautiful moldy in the back of my fridge. I think I never really thought of that as so much science! I would love to know the name of a reference for identifying them.
    I’m a middle school foreign language teacher who thinks she missed her calling to the world of fungal science-and-art! Are your designs going to be copyrighted???

  • be careful. Penicillium marneffei is a serious human pathogen.

  • Chandrayee Mukherjee

    I really loved your work! This is so much fun! Being a microbiology student I know how difficult this must be to synchronise the growth pattern and get a perfect design…thumbs up!!!!

  • That’s fantastic!
    And I’m the member of non-profit organization Saint-Petersburg Mycological Society from Russia. So can I use images fro galleries on official page in social network (http://vk.com/planeta_gribov) of Saint-Petersburg Mycological Society? I’d like to post these pictures and working link to this page.
    Thank you beforehand for any answer.

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