UK-based artist Julie Alice Chappell makes the phrase “computer bug” a lot more literal with surprisingly realistic insects built from trashed electronics. Old circuit boards and wires are dissembled and reconstructed to create elaborate creatures with flashy wings, shells, and antennae.
“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,” the artist writes on Permaculture. “The network of veins and patterns on leaves, petals, insect wings; the stripes and spots on beetles and spiders and the fragile intricacy of spider webs. I view the miniature circuit boards with the same curiosity and amazement as I view the natural world.”
Chappell first got the idea to combine the natural and man-made worlds when she visited the Beneficial Foundation in Portsmouth, a place for companies to get rid of unwanted items and artists to find new materials. After finding a box of small electronic pieces, she realized it looked like a box of tiny ants. This inspired her later when Chappell began to pursue a Fine Art degree and decided to use found objects in her work.
“Whilst watching a nature programme about bio-diversity, one eye on the box of circuit boards, one on the TV, and worrying about my looming major project, I was reminded of the ants in the cupboard and my Eureka moment arrived,” Chappell writes.
Since then, the artist has been creating a whole slew of colorful bugs from computer parts. “Many of the computers I take apart I literally find discarded on the street or in wasteland. I get phones and keyboards from The Craft Bank, I receive various unwanted electronics from friends and organisations who support my work and I’m always on the look out for more donations of vintage technologies.”