Art is my first language, e-waste is my jam.
Erik Jensen, a Utah native, has always embraced art. Being born deaf, he considers art to be his first language. Jensen studied art in college and taught high school art classes for a couple years, but then started computer key art as a business in 2017.
Jensen lives true to his motto: “People will tell you that you are a crazy dreamer because they don’t believe in you. But crazy dreamers believe in themselves and prove they are not a crazy dreamer by making it happen. So be a crazy dreamer and make it happen.”
While attending Utah Valley University, an art professor challenged the class to take something people don’t want and turn it into something people do want. With keys from an old computer keyboard he had lying around, Jensen made a face coming out of a computer screen. This intrigued him to do more with computer keys. After a couple years of experimenting different ways to use keys, he thought of doing pixel images. He started out using only the natural color keycaps, while he worked to develop a successful dyeing recipe over the next couple years.That was when it blossomed.
Jensen started out recreating images to embrace the pixel concept that we are all too familiar with in this technological world, such as animals and landscapes. He currently continues his series of recreating master artworks but more so focuses on creating abstracts with colorful pixels to embrace the technology side of pixels. Each key has its own personality expressed by shape, color, depth, etc. Placing these keys together gives a pixelated beauty from the front and a mesmerizing texture up close and on the side.
Since the start of using computer keys for art, Jensen has participated in various conferences, shows and festivals. He’s won several awards throughout his art career. His studio is based in SLC, UT where he has a very supportive wife and two children.