Fish Lightbulb Sculpture Causes Waves

Fish lightbulb sculpture

I have no problem with the sculpture, in fact I think it’s brilliant! (Yes, there is a pun in there.)
Come to think of it, I’ve been thinking of getting some more fish and I know how to hollow out lights bulbs… Humm…
This was on a local radio station this morning (controversy sells soap!) and it was fun to hear the few bleading heart animal lovers out there getting all pissed off because the fish are in cramped inhumane spaces. Get a life! Betta fish live in puddles and can breath through their skin so they will tolerate still water just fine. A bunch of betta owners called in to attest to this fact too. The artist feeds and changes their water with great frequency so I’d suspect that they are being treated far better than most beta fish that are on peoples desks in the bottom of a plant vase. The PETA people should go have a heavy lunch at Fuddruckers and slip into a nice meat induced food coma for a while. Were talking about fish, not children, not midgets, not prisoners of war. It’s a foodstock that is being used in a work of art. Anyway, here is an excerpt from the story:

The fish — with long, flowing tail fins — stretch from one end of their miniature containers to the other. Tiny LED fixtures illuminate each bulb from above with a blue glow that does not heat the water inside.
“The first thing that I get from most people is that it’s cruel,” said the artist, Darrell Tousley, who teaches five classes a week in the welding and sculpture studio next to the display.
But Tousley said the perception of cruelty advances the message of the sculpture.
“Sometimes,” he said, “the world we live in is cruel.”
Tousley said the light bulbs in his sculpture, titled “Pent Epiphany,” symbolize human ideas. He said ideas are alive and beautiful — like the fish — and sometimes people get trapped within their ideas.

Darrel Tousley has a webpage with photos of what was at the College of Fine Arts at Arizona State University in March of this year.
So far I can’t locate his personal home page, too bad because I’d like to see some of his other works that were mentioned in the news story.

All of Tousley’s sculptures incorporate motion in some format and usually include materials salvaged from common household items. He has built elaborate bowling ball tracks two stories high, a clay pot that flings out pingpong balls put inside and an industrial-strength kaleidoscope.

An industrial strength kalidascope? Cool! I wonder if you climb inside of it, maybe you become part of the ‘scope.
I did locate a few images of his bowling ball track.

Arizona East Valley Tribune: Sculpture lights up controversy
(Just text)

art, fish, Arizona, PETA, sculpture, betta

27 thoughts on “Fish Lightbulb Sculpture Causes Waves”

  1. Wow what a neat web site. I was following up on my son darrell’s art and found you. I’ll return often. Great stories, well written, and good for a smile in these times of so much “to do about nothing” Thanks again!!!

  2. Neat concept, but I’d probably go with some small shrimp, instead. In a container that small, water quality will deteriorate very rapidly. For reference, also, bettas can’t breathe through their skin. They have gills, and primitive lung-like anatomy (labyrith organs).

  3. you get a life. you’re right, we are talking about fish, but a fish is G_D’s work of art. No, the fish don’t like it in there, it’s a myth. You’re a selfish jerk. Just because the fish can survive (and not for long before a painful agonizing death in these conditions) doesn’t mean it’s right. Would you cram a dog up in there even if it was the fish’s size? and does it have a filter or does it live in unoxydized filth? either way how will you support the fish’s other living conditions such as a teperature not 5 degrees away from 80 sharp? there are tons of other things the poor jailed beta fish needs, but only a few past that it needs to be happy. that is torture in H_LL for the creature.
    I hope you are haunted forever.

  4. SICK!!!! I completley agree with derek. what you are doing is scary, and something will be done!!!!!!

  5. Please remember that I’m not the artist doing this. If you have a problem take it up with him.

  6. I’m back (and also known as who?) and please read my site-in-progress, it has many useful facts. This link made the links page!

  7. I also completely agree with derek. Imagine not being able to completely stretch out. That’s how the beta fish feels. Again, YOU get a life! They lived in rice paddies (which are shallow but are acres wide) in asia, and they cant breathe through their skin, idiot. That’s preety sad that you make up your own facts so people don’t think you’re a creep. Too bad you are…

  8. I am….. well, horrified. This is a scary article. Not scary because the fish could die, but because you, John, are ignorant about fish. No, I am not calling you stupid, I am saying you don’t know pretty much anything about betas. Please go to and

  9. Your are a psychopath. Of course it’s cruel, much crueller than you would ever understand. Your life doesn’t come close to being as cruel as this.

  10. You ignorant boob. Fish have a life and you need to get one! Beta fish arn’t a toy like a wind up robot. They are special creatures that need care and love as much as yourself. I know that they arn’t gonna find it in lightbulbs!


  11. Sorry. Everyone please stop the insulting. I am sorry for what I have done. This is not proper netiquette. I will continue to disagree with you, but I will not be as harsh or mean to you. I need to act more maturely. I apologise. You are nothing that I said you were. It was just that you telling me to get a life got me fired up. Truce for the name calling, but it is still cruel what you are doing. But again, I apologise, and I don’t want to see or hear any more name calling and bad actions.
    Thank you.

  12. “The PETA people should go have a heavy lunch at Fuddruckers and slip into a nice meat induced food coma for a while. Were talking about fish, not children, not midgets, not prisoners of war.”
    You were just as likely to be born one of those fish as you were to be born yourself. And if you were a fish you’d think you mattered more than humans, right?
    And also, the PETA is a respectable group of people, and I happen to like and support what they do. And if I don’t insult you, I don’t want to hear stuff like this coming from your side either.

  13. Derek: “You were just as likely to be born one of those fish as you were to be born yourself.” Umm… No. I’m certain beyond the shadow of a doubt that my parents are human. Humans have an innate sense of self. This is a characteristic that separates us from the lower order of creatures on this planet. If a fish sees it’s reflection it is seeing another fish. The same, hopefully, does not hold true for humans (yes, only past a certain point in a baby’s development. But that’s my point, we grasp that it’s us and not another baby.)
    Also, has anyone actually bothered to read the article in the Az East Valley Tribune? I’m not the one who made the sculpture. I am just relaying the info to you people. And also, it is ONLY my my good grace that any of you even have the ability to voice your ill conceived opinions on my site. With one small ‘tick’ of the mouse I can close commenting on this post. I’m sure that you will call me all sorts of nasty names for bringing up this obvious fact. Please keep it clean. I’ve deleted some fairly rude comments of late.
    BTW, keep up the comments, I love seeing what crazy ideas people have about the world.

  14. Wow. The actual idea/message behind the sculpture is quite intriguing, and definitely causes you to think. From an artistic standpoint, you’re right. It is brilliant. 🙂

    But… I will say that I agree with some of the other commentors. It may not necessarily be a good or pleasant situation for the fish, and the artical was rather insensitive to the fact that fish are living beings. I do not, however, agree with the way they have expressed their opinions, and would still like to thank you for sharing this interesting bit of artistic creativity. 🙂

  15. john, your living soul could have led itself to fish parents; you’re lucky it went to humans. So what if fish are born dumber than us? is this how they should be treated because they are dumber? Oh, and the fact that fish don’t feel as much as we do is a common MYTH. They deserve as much treatment as you.
    oh, and you just told me you weren’t going to close the boards because you said, “I love seeing what crazy ideas people have about the world.” Look in the mirror. You don’t see another person looking at you, do you? No, you see the crazy idea you are looking for.

  16. Derek: I can see that we are going to have to agree to disagree on this entire topic. In the past I have exhausted quite amount of time and energy on the topic or reincarnation, karma, the idea of ‘soul’,and in fact the entire notion of a ‘higher being’ that runs the show. It’s a null game no matter how it’s played. I say “Show me empirical proof of that which you speak of” and the answer is aways “Proof? What I speak of is an intangible thing, you can not weigh it, you can not see it, you can not measure it. It is there because I believe it.” Shortly after that I ask them to believe that bricks are candy and things get ugly after that.
    No, you can not convert the converted. I will say that your notions of “your living soul could have led itself to fish parents; you’re lucky it went to humans” is as wondrously inane (to me) as believing that hobbits and six foot tall invisible rabbits that go by the name “Harvey” are real.
    I have my beliefs, backed up by methods that can be tested again and again and proven true each time, you have beliefs that can’t be tested and are pretty much hearsay. We will have to leave it at that.
    Fish are animals and animals are not human. To anthropomorphize them is, in my opinion, belittling humanity. Yes, we should treat them humanely within reason, but by no means should they be placed upon the same level as a human. If a house were on fire and you had the choice of saving your child or your cat, one would think that the obvious answer would be to save the child. Why? Because the animal is not one of us. Sure,it may be cute and all but it’s not a human child. It won’t carry on your genetic material, it won’t engage you in conversation, it can’t reason.

  17. That poor cat you speak of is just as alive as you are. It is just as deserving to be saved as the child is. Now, most people would save the child, as would I. But why? I don’t exactly know. The cat probably thinks it deserves to be saved as much as the baby, and it does. But a baby happens to be closer to us. Not better, not any more living and feeling than the cat, but it is closer. The only reason is because it’s closer to us. It doesn’t deserve to be saved over the cat at all. If you were a cat, you’d save the other cat, and not because you think the cat is better, either. Because it is closer. It’s not fair to the cat not to be saved just because it is a cat. It’s a soul too.
    And now I bet you’d tell me that if you could cram a cat in a space it can barely turn its fragile body around in, you would do it for the baby’s amusement and a couple bucks?

  18. goodbye. if you wont let me convince you and others, ill do it somewhere else. how could you make my comment disappear? why can’t i have freedom of speech for others to see?

    I am no longer your entertainment.
    bye, john.

  19. Derek: I shan’t shed a tear at your immature altitude towards life on the ‘Net. Nor shall I ever worry about you keeping your promise of never visiting my site again. I know your type, you will lurk and check back every so often to see what pithy reply I craft to your post. It will eat at you. Consume you. It will be the itch you cant scratch. you just won’t be able to leave well enough alone. You may show up under another name, even at a differnt computer but you will be back. As I said, I know your kind.
    Before you push the red candy like button of censorship, you should have a good look around before leaping to conclusions. I did not ‘delete’ your last comment. I find them far too amusing to do such a thing to gems that you issue forth. No, the only comments that I edit or out and out delete are ones with profanity and ones that are openly advertising a ‘spammish’ web site.
    Perhaps if you would have looked farther than the tip of your self righteous nose you would have noticed that I haven’t been posting must of anything on my site for a while. This is due to being away from my home for extended periods of time ad some rather intense life altering changes that are on going in my personal life.
    What your assumed was an act of censorship was in fact me not clearing out my comments for well over a week.
    You sir, and I feel fully justified in sinking to your level and saying this, are a fucktard. Go search for it on this thing that is apparently so new to you called the ‘Internet’.
    Good day and try not to think of all the animals that have died so you can have safe food, the drugs that save your life when your ill, the leather in your clothing, or the many other things that mankind has derived from the animal kingdom.

    BTW, to answer your previous post about the cat. The cat is an animal. It is not self aware, it does not ‘think’ in the way you or I do it reacts to it’s environment. It has no ‘soul’ for that requires the creature to have cognition of the concept of faith. You think it has a soul because you think all living things need to have one of those things. The cat might as well have intellectual property patents. I’ll let you puzzle that one out. Oh wait, you will never read this. Pity… I was hoping for another round or two.
    No, it would not be humane to do that to a cat because it is clearly demonstrable that cats require far more room than a small cage. The fish in question (we are talking about fish, aren’t we? It’s been a long a winding road) can thrive in small places. As you may not have read what was in the original article: “Tousley, who describes himself as an animal lover, said his fish have lived inside their light bulbs for four months and are well cared for. He said he unscrews the bulbs every three days to change the water and add food.” Go read up on the class of fish called “Anabantoidei”.

  20. Well, John, you got your next round. When I discovered that you didn’t really delete the post I came back. Here I go:
    Comments with profanity get deleted, huh? Then delete your own, hypocrite. You aren’t “stooping to my level” by cursing. My level, as you can see by reading my MATURE posts, is much higher than yours will ever be. What you need to do to “stoop to my level” is actually HELP people. I know, it’s a terrible thought for you. Guess what? I don’t care about your mid-life crisis if you don’t care about the fish’s.
    By the way, I am going to become vegan when I get to buy my own food, and I DO put all the living things that die for me so I can be safe. I was made to kill other organisms for food, so yes, I support that, but to torture is not right. What YOU do is torture. By the way, germs are not animals, they are bacteria and viruses. Just shows how smart you are about life science. By the way, a quote from you: “Go search for it on this thing that is apparently so new to you called the ‘Internet’.” Nice insult; I’ve been using the internet usefully since I was about 7.
    BTW, the cat can survive as well as the fish in small relative spaces. There is no difference. Beta fish naturally live in rice paddies which are acres wide. They can’t survive in a cramping area floating meters high with a few ounces of water. So what if they can survive? They like it as much as the cat does.
    By the way, I bet Tousley THINKS he’s an animal lover. What he does show’s he doesn’t care at all for the animals. He thinks he loves them because he is intrigued by them, not supportive of them.
    This whole thing was supposed to be a debate using facts about the fish, but you’ve reduced it to opinions, unrelated topics, and insults. I’m back and raring to go. I tried to be civilized, but you’re just being a jerk. Now we’ll see how YOU like it.

  21. Even though I know what anabantiodes are, I did your little research, and I found this: “…This makes them a very hardy fish that can survive in less-than-ideal tank conditions. Unfortunately, because of this quality, labyrinth fishes are often kept in small confined areas, or even tiny cups in the case of the Siamese fighting fish.” And the bst part is that the author isn’t even taking sides; it was an ALL FACT site! It’s a simple fact that bettas are abused just because they are practical!

  22. You are what’s wrong with the world. I pray you get captured by a sick and twisted person such as yourself and are put into a box with just a 2″ hole to breath. It should be alright cause you’ll be able to breath, eat, and deposit your waste through the hole. No big deal since you’ll be able to survive. SCHMUCK! I don’t care about the ‘name’ calling. Point blank, that’s what you are.

  23. Also, just wanted to tell you, you scared kyle out of every bothering YOU again.
    Cuz you know what you’re doing is wrong and you do whatever you can to stop people from reminding you, right?

  24. i enjoyed this article immensly & the comments along with it.
    but i’ve been searching everywhere for another site that shows more pictures of this…fish lightbulb. the pictures you have up are too far away. i do not think this is true, a lot of fact sites do say specifically, betas are fine w/ small spaces. what i think is cruel, is just tossing it in a lightbulb & not caring for it after, but this man clearly states that he refreshes the fish bulb every 3 days.
    & you made a good point earlier too: how people are quick to complain about animal rights, & yet they off eat, kill, wear, or buy animal things.

    well, enjoyed this. [=

Comments are closed.