Materials taken from a technological graveyard inspire Nick Gentry’s urban art
Technology advances at an incredible rate, but what often goes overlooked is the graveyard of outdated media that gets left behind. Nick Gentry, an influential urban artist from the UK, has brought floppy discs and vintage film negatives back to life as part of his haunting portraits. Much of his work is influenced by the development of consumerism, technology, identity and cyberculture in society.
Gentry crates his canvases by first gluing down the floppy discs, and then embellishing them with oil paint – many of which seem to exude an atmosphere of death. Apart from the obvious technological influence, the artist told Indigits that “the theme of life and death is also closely linked through the use of obsolete materials.” For his other portraits he uses film negatives to create a slightly different aesthetic appeal, which also help to add shape and contrast within the faces.
The artist believes that his choice of medium helps people to make a connection:
By working with used junk I think people can make an instant connection with what they are seeing. The work can be interpreted in a variety of ways, so in a sense there is no right or wrong way to understand it. If the viewer looks at the work and sees something of themselves in there then that could be a good start.
If not already obvious, Gentry likes to place an emphasis on recycling obsolete media and reusing personal objects. The labels on the disks he receives from willing donors also provide him with clues of their content, and help to kickstart the creative process. His work has been featured in the UK, USA and other cities around the world alongside established street artists, which has created a strong link between him and the urban art scene in London.
Images by Nick Gentry