Julie Alice Chappell is a Portsmouth, U.K. artist that salvages components from old machines like computers, video gaming systems, circuit boards and more to create tiny sculptures of insects. Chappell developed a penchant for turning someone's trash into someone else's treasure when she stumbled upon a large box of materials while at "The Craft Bank.”
This "bank" is actually the Beneficial Foundation in Portsmouth that receives unwanted items from different companies and donates these goods to schools, artists or even community groups that might find a use for the items. As she peered into the box, she says that the first thing to come to mind was ants because it looked like all these little tiny legs and bodies. So, she and her children created ants. The box was then stored away and about one year later, she again came across it in her own storage.
While enrolled in a fine arts degree program, she realized these items could be incorporated into her work. So, she began to focus on classes in environmental art and met two designers who, through their own efforts, had accumulated circuit boards they no longer needed. She took these home with her and while watching a nature program that evening, she thought of the ant project and grabbed them out of her cupboard.
From that moment on she has been creating her tiny works of art that use everything from circuit boards, to Nintendos, to DVD players. In a series she has called Computer Component Bugs, she is hoping to raise awareness of environmental waste.