Dr. John Cody, dubbed "The Audubon of Moths," has had his paintings featured at the Smithsonian Institute, the Museum of Natural History, and soon the Shafer Art Gallery when its next show, "Endangered Journey: Monarch Migrations," opens on Oct. 2.
Cody pinpoints his interest in moths to one childhood memory when he was 5 years old.
"There was this huge moth resting on a tree during the day, and I crept up to it very closely with my hands out, with my index finger and thumb, ready to catch it by the wings," he said. "Even at that age, I realized how beautiful it was. The texture, color and shape were so impressive."
The young artist began drawing what he remembered from this experience with crayons. Over time, this interest and hobby evolved into the art as it exists in its adult form, which has been recognized nationally and received numerous awards and accolades.
Cody said moths have always captivated him visually, but they are also an ideal subject for an artist.
"They are like little mammals to me," he said. "They’re very furry and docile during the day, and you can handle them very easily if you want to draw them in different positions."
Cody, who practiced as a psychiatrist for 25 years, said physically handling moths or other insects has never been a problem for him and has a message for those who may be frightened by the thought of handling insects.
"If you handle insects carefully, and respect their territory and don’t crowd them or hamper them in some way, they’re mostly harmless to be around," Cody said.
There is one insect that Cody does not enjoy interacting with.
"The only bugs I have any negative feelings about are cockroaches — I can’t stand cockroaches. They are so quick and scary," he said.
The gallery will host the opening reception for the exhibit displaying Cody’s work 1-3 p.m., Oct. 2. in the Shafer Gallery. The juried art exhibit show will feature Cody’s work and a large creative piece from local artist Robert Joy. Admission is free.