Category Archives: Function

The Mother(board) of all Art!

I’ve had my P.C. Wizard hat on most of today, up to my elbows in dismantled computers.

ATX Backplate

ATX Backplate

In between cursing the components for their lack of cooperation and scraping my knuckles on solder-spikes, I took a little time to examine the Art to be found inside a computer case.

I quite like the connector-plate, with its regular rows of plugs and sockets, with their tiny numbers and colour-coded pattern. These plates have changed many times over the years, while keeping within certain form-factor limits, but have always had a certain charm.

Row of Capacitors

Row of Capacitors

This set of capacitors, regulating voltages around the circuit board, sit in a neat row, but their regularity is offset by the cross-cuts twisting at different angles. An artefact of the manufacturing process, this adds an organic twist to an otherwise sterile, mechanical scene.

PCB Tracks

PCB Tracks

The tracks leading between components have to be precisely laid out, never touching, and never crossing. Acute corners are avoided, keeping to 45′ wherever possible, as the tracks wind their way across the board.
Probably my favourite view of a motherboard, this close-up shows the emergent patterns that form from computer-generated layouts, defined by the locations of components and the connections that must be made.

I hope you enjoy these as much as I do.
Have you noticed any emergent art, in technology or elsewhere? What is your favourite gadget, when viewed close-up?
Or does the whole idea of looking closer at Technology repel you?

The Art of Art (A Peek Behind The Scenes)

Paint Pots

Paint Pots

While not working on The Crystal Wizard website, or out finding new Art, I sometimes create my own. My usual medium is miniature figurines, and the scenery to go with them. But it is not these that I am writing about today, but instead the side-art that I find in them.

In this first picture, we see pots of paint, each marked with its colour, and variously faded by use. Although the pots themselves are hexagonal, the rounded lids prevent them from fitting together closely, and the opening-tags point in random directions, as the pots are pushed back once not being used. There are other sets of colours, including inks and washes, that are kept separate, and larger scenery paints and sprays that stay in drawers until needed.

More Paint Pots

More Paint pots

This untidy mix of of pots shows the chaos that can ensue after a long, diverse painting session, if some regimen is not kept to!

In frequent bouts of organisation, the pots are split by type, keeping the washes and inks away from the base-coats, and then ordered by colour and shade, with metallics to one side (I have not yet mastered the arduous “non-metallic metallics” technique!).


Tools of The Trade

Beside the main painting area lies the tool tray. A plethora of utensils, built up over years, for removing the models from their frames (or ‘sprues’), filing down rough edges and applying moulding-putty as needed. Pens and pencils not only serve to jot notes, but can be used for extra shading, with graphite giving a shiny edge to black surfaces. A pin-vice is also useful when trying to connect parts together, drilling small holes for paper-clips to fit into.


Tissue paper for cleaning brushes

And to the other side we have our tissue paper, for wiping excess paint and drying brushes. Regularly replaced, each one holds a unique record of the work it was used with. Some paints bleed into the absorbent paper, forming strange, almost organic, patterns, while others (such as dry-brush techniques) leave straight trails across the surface.

Missing from this collection are the brushes, which I can’t seem to get a satisfactory picture of, and the water pot, for cleaning said brushes. The water pot does build up paint around its edge, but is refreshed so frequently that it would take too many shots to do it justice.


Artist’s Palette

Last, but by no means least, we have the palette. Used for thinning paints before use, and mixing colours, layers build up on the surface, dry out, and the area used again. Care must be taken that the underlying layer is fully dry! I use an old CD, with sections removed to use on the models themselves (it is an excellent material to work with!), and here it shows the more recent colours to be used.
Hopefully, these pictures are not only a record of the tools needed for making this form of Art, but are actually Art themselves. Meta-Art, if you will:

The Art of Making Art.


Badass prosthetics…

Badass prosthetics!
From DarkChildOneFalseLeg

From the sublime, to the ridiculous, these replacement limbs take Functional Art to a new level.

With metals, ceramics, crystal and realistic skin, a lot of real work has gone into making these essential items into stunning works of art!

I’m not sure what there is to say, apart from WOW!

EDIT: Managed to track down the origin of these fantastic pieces.
Designed by Sophie de Oliveira Barata from the Alternative Limb Project, whose works include the Crystallized Leg made for Viktoria Modesta playing the Ice Queen at the London 2012 Paralympic Closing ceremony.