Worn out computer keyboards are generally trashed and recycled to once again become a computer peripheral. But here’s an artist who gets hold of old keyboards to create stunning art murals from its keys.
This artist is Erik Jensen and his passion is using recycled computer keys creatively. What’s more, he is stone deaf! He graduated from Utah Valley University in BS, Art Education in 2017. After trying his hand in various professions, he finally settled for recycled keyboard art.
Jensen explains, “Inspired by the technological world, I use computer keyboard keys to create pixilated artworks, including the process of plastic dyeing to implement colors.” Such is his passion for this form of art that till date he has used a whopping 135,000 computer keyboard keys in his works!
Creating murals from recycled keys is certainly not easy. Jensen takes anywhere between two to three months to complete a work to be displayed in a show. His first step after procuring keyboards is to pop off the keys and wash them clean.
Then begins the coloring process. Jensen has a special recipe to dye the recycled keys that color the body of the key but doesn’t smudge, obliterate or hide the characters. He uses the original colors of the keys, that is, white, black and gray, but uses dyes for obtaining all sorts of other colors with their varying shades, such as beige, yellow, red, green, purple and blue.
Jensen is adept in creating computer key art of all sizes. The smallest he does is a 400-key one, but his custom pieces start at 1,000 keys that cost $1,100. Yes, he has gone commercial in a big way. The size of his work usually depends upon the design – the more detailed it is, the bigger it’ll need to be. And higher will be its price. The size also depends upon the frame types for stability.
Jensen charges are based on the number of keys employed in the art. So, like the per word cost in writing, his rates are based on per key. Although the cost of every key varies, it averages to around $1.15 per key or $2.25 per square inch. For example, if a particular work is 15 inches by 20 inches, it will cost $675.
It is little wonder that Jensen’s unique computer key art is hogging the show at exhibitions and art festivals. His works have been recognized worldwide and have also received numerous awards.