“I want the viewer to ponder the infinite profound combination of thoughts, ideas, and inspirations that have surely passed through this Intellectual porthole and all made possible with just the common computer key.”
For Doug Powell, a childhood fascination with string art sparked his desire to create and to explore the different outlets for his talent and passion. Powell's work, which is often referred to as contemporary pointillism, rejects the use of any digital technology. He creates each of his portraits by hand, from sketching the subject matter in pencil to gluing each meticulous detail under fixed lighting in his studio.
During the past 14 years, he has collected nearly a million upcycled computer keys that now piece together the likeness of everyone from Albert Einstein to Elon Musk. With is quadriptych of The Beatles, he has fulfilled one of his goals of creating a mosaic that exceeds 100 square feet. The project took well over 700 hours to complete and used nearly 25,000 computer keys from 250 keyboards. Hidden in the designs are approximately 40 word searches that spell out quotes from famous Beatles songs. If all the rows of keys were strung together from end to end, they would nearly reach the top of One World Trade Center in New York City.
Powell's innovative portraits have been commissioned from across the globe and most recently earned Best Booth Award at the prestigious Art Basel Miami.
Doug Powell creates the illusion of three-dimensional form through the use and arrangement of recycled, or upcycled, computer keyboard keys. Upcycling has a positive environmental impact due to the rescue and re-purposing of manufactured objects. The reuse of materials has been employed by artists throughout history from Amish quilters, and American folk artists to Modern Masters, such as Picasso, Joseph Cornell, and Robert Rauschenberg, all of whom have reused materials or found objects to create new, more complex works of art.