Tibi Chelcea, PCB Drawing #32, 2017, circuit board, 4 x 4 inches, Courtesy of the artist

Tibi Chelcea
Randomly Accessed Memories

February 25, 2023 - June 11, 2023

Tibi Chelcea

Iowa-based artist Tibi Chelcea combines his background in computer engineering with his artistic practice and Romanian heritage to create technologically-inspired, historically-grounded drawings, paintings, and digital and textiles works.

Chelcea’s drawings and paintings are inspired by electronic circuit board designs and explore the graphic potential of electronic symbols. His printed circuit boards pioneer new techniques for using electronic design software to create art. These works are manufactured using the same process as actual circuit boards but are not functional.

Chelcea’s textile works are part of an ongoing exploration of the connections between textile manufacturing and the electronics industry. His large textiles are inspired by Jacquard fabric. Historically, Jacquard looms influenced the development of computing. The punched cards that controlled the looms were used for decades in early electronic computers. His smaller weavings combine textile with circuit boards and introduce hand embroidery. The cross-stitching patterns he uses are based on electronic symbols and recall the traditional Romanian patterns that he saw in his grandparents’ home during his childhood in Romania.

Tibi Chelcea moved to the United States in 1997 and received his Ph.D. in computer science at Columbia University. He worked at Carnegie Mellon University in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania before settling to Iowa. He is currently a software engineer in the agricultural industry and lives with his wife and two children in Ames.

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Image credit: Tibi Chelcea, PCB Drawing #32, 2017, circuit board, 4 x 4 inches, Courtesy of the artist