We at Ecovative have never hidden our admiration for Buckminster Fuller. The influential designer and systems theorist has inspired us with his view of humans as being profoundly connected to our environment, and the responsibility to properly maintain and operate “Spaceship Earth.”
That’s why we couldn’t be more excited about our recent collaboration with mushroom-inspired, Oregon-based artist Chris Adams, also known as Corvidopolis. His brilliant designs express the connection we see between nature’s creativity and human design. We commissioned Chris to explore the intersection between biology and technology that mycelium express so powerfully, through a Fuller lens. As you can see on this page, the results are amazing. And even better, you can take them home or even wear them.
The Eggship-Earth design is now available on a limited run of shirts on the Ecovative webstore, and all designs are available to pre-order as 18×24 prints. Order your shirt or pre-order your favorite print or a set of prints today. To mark their launch, we asked Chris a few questions about his work for these designs, and how they were inspired by Buckminster Fuller.
“I have a degree in Architecture, and a couple of friends who were obsessed with Bucky Fuller back in college days, so I am pretty familiar with his work––that was a fun overlap in interests to discover right off the bat.
I undertook a bit of a deep dive into his work and concepts, looked through a bunch of his patent application drawing sets and then brewed on that. Next I sifted scientific papers for ‘technological’ aspects of the mushroom species or species groups that seemed like a fit, and then tried to find some aspect of their morphology or biological functions that could be extrapolated towards an anthropocentric technology.”
How did mushrooms and fungi come to be such a prominent subject of your work?
“It took a surprising amount of time actually. I started getting superficially fascinated by mushrooms on some hikes up in the North Cascades back in the early 2000’s, and when I moved back to Oregon around 2009 I started getting out in the Coast Range with my brother while he was deer hunting. I’ve primarily been a vegetarian for the last 20 years, so I was ambling about and he turned me onto Chanterelles and maybe Chicken of the Woods to keep me occupied––I was hooked.
It happened that there were a few really bumper years between 2009-2012, and so my wife Phil and I got really into foraging out in the woods. At some point around 2015/16, I was trying to quit architecture and find a focus for my illustration and screen printing efforts. It took a bit of thinking, and then at some point I just chose ‘mushrooms.’ The response was immediately really positive, and my brain was already really fixated on mycological morphology and taxonomy, so it was an easy shift in direction. Since then it’s really been an all-in affair and has taken directions that I never could have foreseen.”
How do you think mushrooms and fungi relate to a systems and design perspective?
“That feels like a big question. I was just at the Radical Mycology Convergence here in Oregon, and was on a Mycoculture panel, a lot of the questions posed seemed to touch on this. There seem like some really obvious ways they act as integral players within natural systems, and that leads to obvious and applicable metaphors for humans to utilize and hopefully mimic––acting as a nutrient exchange and/or pathway instead of a nutrient sink.
It’s hard to call mushrooms “altruistic” because that’s a human word, but it seems like a picture has emerged of them acting as an integrator of sorts in so many fragile biomes. It seems like a kind of ubiquitous mental picture right now, but the pulsing network of mycelial nets belonging to untold species wrapped among each other and ‘feeding’ in tangible and intangible ways the many occupants of the forest. It almost feels beyond human design capability, and that’s always an exciting challenge for humans––to see something amazing that they don’t quite understand, and then attempt to appropriate or mimic aspects of it to serve them. It would be lovely if the metaphor extended to a realization of a need to assess situations beyond anthropocentric variables and functions, and a creation of new goals benefiting all species and systems.”
As an artist and graphic designer, what mushrooms do you find the most appealing or interesting?
“Those with identifiable texture, depth or odd morphology. It is easier to say that drawing smooth-stiped and indistinct-capped mushrooms is not very interesting––though I still do it on occasion. As primarily a pen and ink artist, I really like when a mushroom can be distinguished without color, and that challenge gets pretty rough for less morphologically distinct species or species groups. Morels, Netted Stinkhorn, Amanita species with a nice veil remnant texture on the cap, flowing skirt and bulbous volva, and maybe Matsutake are some favorites that I’ve drawn.”
Click here to check out the Corvidopolis shirts.
Click here to check out the Corvidopolis prints available for pre-order.