Julie Alice Chappell
Freelance artist, painter, sculptor, photographer and creator of miniature worlds. Creating my Insect Sculptures is a long process, from finding and dismantling the electronics and computer gadgets to re-assembling them and adding the artistic touches to create something transformed and re-purposed offering a socio-political discourse and attempting to reclaim waste into the beauty of art. Planned obsolescence: the absurd practice of designing products purposely to have a limited life span in order to maximize profits based on the false notion that infinite economic growth can be balanced by the finite resources of the Earth....this is the major inspiration for my work.
I wanted to find a way to bring the theoretical concepts involved into an art form which makes sense in the era in which we live and which relates to current environmental issues. Researching further and seeing the shocking Greenpeace images of computer landfills in natural places I wondered about the creatures that lived at ground level where these things are dumped and I imagined what creatures might survive and evolve centuries from now.
It is not all negative though.
My art celebrates the beauty of nature along side the ingenuity of mankind and computer technology...even the beauty of circuit boards.
There is a constant interaction between digital methods of creativity and traditional practices throughout the making process.
I start with hand painting the insect wings in the time consuming and meticulous style of illustrations found in old natural history reference books.
Then my paintings are scanned into a computer and I can add some bright bursts of colour, spots and splashes by simply using the basic ‘Paint’ program.
Then using the more advance digital design technology such as the ‘Illustrator’ program I can create circuit board patterns which I can change the size of without changing the image quality.
These patterns can then be superimposed over my wing paintings...then printed out onto (reused) transparent acetate.
Other ‘artistic touches come in the form of hand painting straight onto the Bugs, metal leafing, sculptural manipulation by hand of various components such as wire for the antennae and also sometimes adding little pieces of old jewellery such as glass stones.
The display of my Insects involves incorporating both the Victorian entomologist’s wooden display case and diorama ideas with a modern contemporary twist.
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