Dunlop Cry Baby wah wah pedal
Circuit Portraits is an ongoing art project that finally shines some light on that chunk of fibreglass and copper that lurks inside our most loved machines.
The Dunlop Cry Baby is an iconic piece of effect-pedal engineering, debuting in 1966 and still manufactured now. This print is from a circuitboard from a ECB-25e, made in 1991.
This is the perfect gift for a new mother or father with a love of vintage guitar effects pedal. Listen, I know you're out there.
I dug this up from the depths of ebay, broke it open, cleaned up the boards inside, stripped the components, scanned it, and traced it, laying out the lines and recreating the originals.
I created separations and screens for the three layers I decided to put into the composition (background, top copper and through-holes and solder pads). Each layer of each print is individually hand-pulled on a silkscreen press using three different mixed colours of acrylic ink, onto 300gsm textured Somerset Satin paper, in the basement of my studio here in Edinburgh, Scotland.
The printed area is small, just less than A6 (5 x 3 1/2 inches, or 12.5 x 9 cm), the paper itself is 11 x 7 1/2 inches, or 28 x 19 cm. This print looks great in a post-card sized frames, and I can also cut it down to stick on a card. Leave me a note at payment if you'd prefer it as a card.
There's also some tinted ones (grey / blue / black), and a some colourful ones - have a look through the shop!
This is an open edition, signed down one edge by the artist. That's me.
This project highlights the individuality that the people that made these artefacts bring to their work. The overlooked makers and designers that unlocked such creative expression in the owners of these objects.
They are curated from a golden era when consumer electronics still used relatively discrete components and the circuits themselves were open and simple. The days before computer-driven auto-routing could algorithmically calculate the most efficient routing scheme, with the fewest vias and the lowest impedance, in fact, the days when circuits were laid out on light-tables with gridding tape and set-squares. The days of Frogger and Pacman, of Horace Goes Ski-ing and Jetpac.
Engineers had their job to do, but for each design, had to choose only one of a thousand different ways to lay out their tracks. Each line was pored over for it's technical correctness, but ultimately there's a little bit of expression in each mark and swerve, in each routing decision.
None of it was ever intended to be looked at, but nevertheless, stripped of it's contextual markers - the case, buttons, lights, labels, connectors, components, and presented out-of-scale and on beautiful paper, under glass, the patterns reveal their purely aesthetic features and invite interpretation. A variation in density and detail play out a rhythm, and indicate a direction, movement.
Circuit boards, even now, are still produced industrially using a silkscreen technique, so the artists variation of this technique is very apt.
Prints are shipped flat in a board envelope sandwiched between corrugated cardboard. In the UK, it will be sent first class. European shipping usually takes between two and four days, further afield can take up to ten business days.