Artist Julie Chappell, based in Portsmouth, UK creates beautiful miniature sculptures of insects using circuit boards found inside discarded electronics. “My art involves breaking down the pre-existing materials, reinterpreting them and offering them a new form with new purpose, creating something beautiful, whimsical and precious,” she said.
Her series is called “Computer Components Bugs” and it all started when she came across a big box of tiny electronic components at the Beneficial Foundation in Portsmouth, otherwise known as “The Craft Bank.” The first thing that came to her mind when she saw all these discarded items was “a mass of tiny bodies and legs…ants!” so she took them home to her children and made ants.
A few years later she came across the box again and it intrigued her once again. Chappell was enrolled in a Fine Arts degree program and she thought she could use the objects in her artwork. During workshop some artists threw away circuit boards of a computer which she took home because they looked so ‘visually appealing.’ With those pieces she began to create various bus sculptures. Many of the computers that the artist takes apart are found discarded on the streets or in wasteland. She gets phones and keyboards from the Craft Bank, and receives various unwanted electronics from friends and organisations that support her work. She says she’s always on the look-out for more donations of vintage technologies.
The artist hopes to raise awareness of 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.” Chappell’s “Computer Component Bugs” collection has been in several solo exhibitions and group shows and her hope is to soon find a permanent home for them, possibly in a natural history museum.