When David Wright repaired a desktop calculator two decades ago, little did he know that it would turn into a business using computer components creating stunning recycled art. Electrickery was born and David is now one of the famous faces that can be found in London’s’ Spitalfield Market selling his nature inspired art.
Sam Hobden from Haynet recently caught up with David to find out more about the personality behind Electrickery and his impressive artwork:
Your artistic eye comes through strong with your work. Have you always enjoyed being creative?
Yes, for as long as I can remember. I was never academic but felt enjoyment creating three dimensional things.
Was it always an ambition to run your own business? Were you encouraged to have a career working for yourself?
I studied architecture, gaining a degree & diploma, which I loved. However, the reality of practising architecture was a disappointment, especially when I was designing prisons. I never planned to work for myself but this was during the recession in the early ’90s when it was difficult to find work. There is more creativity in what I do now so I’m happy. I don’t see what I do now as work.
Tell us about how you started using recycled circuit boards and turning them into creative artwork.
I started recycling PCBs (printed circuit boards) in 1999. I got the idea when trying to repair a desktop calculator. I couldn’t repair it but did notice how beautiful the circuit board inside it was. It had a wonderful translucency where the copper tracks stood out against the fibre glass board they were etched onto. I started making lamps and have never looked back. Soon I had ideas for other pieces like cufflinks and jewellery. I now also make framed dragonflies, butterflies and other bugs using PCBs and other computer components.
Where do you source the components for your work? Is it just computer parts that you work with?
Many different places. Usually directly from the manufacturers. I’d cold call them to ask what they did with their scrap and if I could have it. However, less is made in the UK now so I look elsewhere.
What is the most enjoyable part of your work?
That it’s not work, it’s fun. I also enjoy people’s reaction when they work out what the bugs are made from. Many say that from a distance they look like real bugs. I also love coming up with new ideas and then creating them. Making ideas real is fun.
Tell us about the triumphs and the challenges of running your own business?
The satisfaction of making a living doing what I enjoy. Participating in some great art shows where I’ve created installation pieces. Being on the cover of the Independent Newspaper with one of my PCB light installations.
Competing with cheap mass produced products made in other countries probably under poor working conditions. Plagiarism is rife. I used to participate in trade shows but my ideas were copied and mass produced more cheaply and of a really poor quality.
You can be found in the famous Spitalfields Market in London selling your artwork. Do you find selling face to face is more enjoyable and productive than online trade?
Yes of course. I’m not a geek. Selling online bores me but I have no choice but to embrace it. I have met some fascinating people whilst selling my work. I’ve traded at most markets in London. I started in Camden in 1992 but left in 2008. I’ll only trade at Spitalfields now. The other markets like the high street, retailers are dying. Spitalfields is also struggling but I enjoy it there.
What are your future plans with Electrickery?
Who knows? Most of my ideas are pure accident, which I love, so I never know what’s next. I have few restrictions. I used to make peeled banana shaped candles. I might take it away to another country for health reasons and if this country goes further to the right politically.
On a day off, where would we find you?
It depends a lot on the weather. Swimming is my passion. I used to train twice a day. Love it. I try to go scuba diving as much as possible but after a diving accident off Sark years ago, I only dive in easy conditions abroad.
Where do you hope to be in ten years’ time?
Happy, healthy and in New Zealand. My mum emigrated from NZ to the UK when she was young. I haven’t been there for a long time and I feel the pull.
Against the Clock
Planes, Trains or Automobile: Trains
Beer or Champagne: Beer but…
Cheese or Chocolate: Both
Sunshine or Snow: Sunshine every time!
Home Counties or Far Away Shores: Land of the Long White Cloud, NZ.
Spend or Save: In the middle.
Home Cooked or Eating Out: Depends who’s paying 🙂
Music or Film: Both.
Please visit: https://electrickeryart.com/
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