What happened to all of the old computers, iPods and stereos you once owned in the past? If you’re like the majority of people you have no idea. Our society is constantly buying new electronics and discarding old, outdated electronics. The issue is what to do with all of these old electric components without bombarding the Earth with toxic trash.
Portsmouth, UK-based artist Julie Alice Chappell has found a way to make use of old electronics in her beautiful series titled “Computer Component Bugs.” She uses old, unwanted electric parts and transforms them into amazing winged insect sculptures.
The environmentally friendly artist says her work relies on, “discarded and often environmentally dangerous materials to create something new and precious, keeping the art sympathetic to current environmental issues whilst developing an original making process.”
Julie finds circuit boards to be very “visually appealing.” In an article published on permaculture.co.uk Julie wrote, “With all their tiny components, complex circuitry and bright metallic colours I cannot help but compare them to the detailed patterns we see when we look at nature up close. I view the miniature circuit boards with the same curiosity and amazement as I view the natural world.”
You can purchase Chappell’s beautiful winged insect sculptures through her Etsy shop.
It all started a few years ago when Julie came across a box of old electronic parts donated to the Beneficial Foundation in Portsmouth, also known as “The Craft Bank.” The organization collects unwanted items and passes them along to community groups, schools and artists who can make something old and unwanted new and fresh.
Julie said, “The first thing that came into my head when I looked at them was, ‘a mass of tiny bodies and legs…ants!’ I took them home to my children and we made ants.”
A few years went by before Julie once again came across the box of “hidden treasures.” This time she was hit with a new idea. Chappell was enrolled in a Fine Arts degree program at the time through which she had become involved with environmental art. She met a group of youthful artists using circuit boards to build robots, and she realized she could use these old electronics to create her professional artwork too.
Chappell’s artwork is beautiful to look at but it also helps spread a greater message about environmental waste.
“The recycled bits of cultural refuse that are woven throughout my work represent a direct encounter with the excesses of modern living highlighting the dangers of planned obsolescence and e-waste in the environment. The work displays an aesthetic beauty whilst offering a socio-political discourse, attempting to reclaim waste and the destruction of the natural world, in the beauty of visual art.”
“My art practice involves breaking down the pre-existing materials, reinterpreting them and offering them a new form with new purpose, creating something beautiful, whimsical and precious.”