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Get turned on by circuit board art

Theo Kamecke's fine art sculptures use circuit board patterns in fascinating ways.

AZ-Tech wall panel, with gold circuit traces.

If you've ever looked closely at a circuit board you know just how interesting they can be. It's one thing to look at a board and marvel at its intricate patterns, but Theo Kamecke does more than just look; he turns circuit boards into works of art. I first learned about Kamecke on the Dvice Web site.

Detail from Manifest Destiny, a Theo Kamecke cabinet.

I spoke with him by phone Monday to learn more about his methods. Kamecke prefers to use circuit boards (metal traces laminated to permanently dyed epoxy-fiberglass sheets) produced before the 1990s; they have bigger traces than more contemporary boards, and the older ones were mostly designed and laid out by hand.

Kamecke sees echoes of the ancient Egyptian aesthetic in the metal traces that make up circuit board patterns, though the traces are purely functional in layout. That's what makes them beautiful.

Kamecke feels newer computer designed boards aren't as visually interesting.

He treats circuit boards as if they were a newly evolved form of nature, and uses traditional techniques of pattern making, not so different than what craftsmen employ with wood veneers. Circuit boards are usually green or brown, but Kamecke always dyes them black and then polishes them to a satin luster. Kamecke has been perfecting his circuit board art for a long time and had his first one-man show in 1986.

Sure, I've seen lots of circuit board art, but Kamecke's artistry is the best I've ever seen. He makes boxes, sculptures, furniture, and wall panels as one-of-a-kind pieces. There's more information and many more stunningly beautiful images on Kamecke's Web site.

Detail from Nefertiti, a Theo Kamecke cabinet.