Scattered across a long wooden table are parts of dismantled PCs -- hard drives, keyboards, processors, monitors, RAMS, cooling fans -- along with bits and pieces of assorted hardware and scraps of discarded electronics.
Clocks' inventory is neatly organized; it looks like a legitimate operation -- that's until he sends a computer part crashing to the floor.
"Everything's broken anyway," he says, flashing an impish grin as he kneels down to pick up a processor that slipped from his fingers.
Clocks (real name
What was once meant for the trash heap is transformed into something that is hauntingly beautiful, enduringly functional -- a collage of digital detritus that will exist long after the extinction of the machinery from whence it emerged.
"It's a shame that all these parts end up cluttering the Earth," Clocks, of
It is through the layering of these tiny building blocks that Clocks' creations begin to take shape. Each evening (after he returns from his day job custom dyeing high-end rugs), the artist spends hours hunched over his kitchen table, picking scraps of electronics to apply to a wooden base. It looks like he's searching for corresponding puzzle pieces. However, Clocks relies on instinct rather than blueprints to determine what goes where.
"Every piece has a movement and a flow," he said. "I'm finding that flow as I'm working. There's no set plan. Eventually, the piece starts to form."
When they're finished, the works conjure visions of a hyper-industrialized dystopian future: the hull of an extraterrestrial warship, the innards of a robotic being, the metallic cityscape of a 22nd-century metropolis. They are solid, hulking masses of color and movement. Imagine
At the heart of each sculpture is a working clock. Granted, there's no shortage of artists using recycled electronics. But as Clocks explains, it's the time-telling function that "puts me in a different category.
"It serves a functional purpose beyond the aesthetic," said Clocks, who finds his artist materials in the junk bins at local repair shops and on
The sculptures vary widely in price: a small piece measuring 6- by 7-inches costs around
An established former graffiti artist, Clocks developed the idea for the sculptures after he was tapped by the
"I'm not great at faces, so I went in a strange direction and came up with the same methods that I use to make my clocks," he said.
Thus far, Clocks has sold his pieces almost exclusively to private collectors, including hip-hop artists KRS-One, Cappadonna and Duece Bug, and actor
"The fact that he came from (graffiti) to become the type of artist who's respected by all, not just those in the hip-hop community, is pretty amazing," said Duece Bug, who has worked with Clocks to produce his album art and music videos. "I've never seen more impressive artwork in my life. Michael is an amazing artist with a crazy vision."
In addition to hanging in private homes, Clocks' work has been shown at the Factory Underground in
Although he has ingratiated himself in the hip-hop community, Clocks is hoping to branch out to different markets and lure collectors from all walks of life.
"I'd like to see one of my big pieces in the entrance of a company like Timex," he said.
In the meantime, though, Clocks continues to plug away at his sculptures. Remarkably, he's found a way to channel the future by sifting through the past -- to find his flow in heaps of forgotten technology.
"It's like the time capsule you make in elementary school," he said. "These PC towers are going to be disappearing pretty soon. But these clocks will keep on ticking."
To contact Michael Clocks, email Mdjart1@yahoo.com or call 203-820-6882.
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