We all have cell phones these days, right? And we use them for tons of different things. We talk on them, we text on them, we chat on them, we email through them, we update our social networking sites on them and play games on them and take photographs with them and … well, you get the picture. Mobile phones are amazing and we have all gotten used to using them for many different things. But are you really thinking outside of the box when it comes to the use of your mobile phones?
You see, most of us consider the cell phone to be a functional product designed solely to do all of those things that have been mentioned above. But there are some people who realize that the mobile phone is useful as a piece of artwork. Mobile phone art includes many different methods of using the cell phone as part of a creative project. It involves interactive performance art exhibits using cell phone ring tones to make symphonies. It involves the recycling of mobile phones into structural pieces of art. And it involves simply using the mobile phone as the subject of paintings and drawings in order to make a statement about the impact that cell phones have had on our society.
There are dozens of different mobile phone artists out there who are creating some really cool art work that most people don’t know about. Maybe one of them can become your favorite artist. And maybe we can all start to see our cell phones just a little bit differently by taking a look at some of the amazing work that they are doing. Here’s a glimpse into seven different amazing art projects that were centered around mobile phones:
1. Recycled Mobile Phone Art By Rob Pettit.
This artist is by far and away my favorite artist doing mobile phone art. This is partially because he is the only artist that I know of who has really devoted a large chunk of his artistic career to developing art with mobile phones. It is also because he is truly a green artist in the sense that his art recycles and repurposes old mobile phones that would otherwise be going to the landfill. (Well, hopefully not to the landfill since hopefully people know that you’re supposed to recycle mobile phones, but you get my drift …) But besides just being devoted to the art and to the art of being green, Rob Pettit is a great mobile phone artist because the pieces that he creates using mobile phones are just so visually stunning. I really love the physical sculptural pieces that use actual phones (like the one shown in the picture here) but he also does have some neat related artwork such as ink drawings where he draws little cell phones that turn into a bigger picture. Take a look at one over at his Etsy store.
2. Sculpture of Gandhi with Cell Phone.
This was a sculpture that was entered into a multi-artist exhibit in London last year. The exhibit was all about Mahatma Gandhi and the work there represented different beliefs about the man. This piece, which is a red sculpture showing Gandhi holding a cell phone, was said to represent the changes that have taken place in India since Gandhi’s time. In a way, it is a humorous piece but I also think that it says a lot about the importance of mobile phones in developing countries today which makes it a really powerful piece on a serious level.
3. Dialtones: A Telesymphony.
There are a few different interactive mobile phone performance art pieces that I am aware of but this is by far the coolest of the bunch. Basically, when you come to see this show you (and your cell phone) actually become a part of the show. You register the phone number of your cell phone so that it gets linked with your seat. Then the show starts and it involves the ringing of your cell phone with new ringtones that have been added to it to make it more musical. Your phone and the phones around you are all ringing as part of this amazingly beautiful musical piece. It’s music but it’s made using mobile phones. It happened way back in 2001 but I still think it's a magical piece to remember today.
4. Tech Sculptures of Joe McKay.
Joe McKay is another favorite artist who has done a lot of work with mobile phones. In my opinion, the difference between his work and the work of someone like Rob Pettit (mentioned above) is that McKay’s work really has a technological edge to it which seems totally fitting for art based on cell phones. In this case, he has taken a phone that was ruined when a dog chewed on it and hooked it up to a rotating platform where it offers up an artistic eerie glow from its damaged screen.
5. Cell Phone Movies by Giselle Beigulman.
This artist actually uses the mobile phone to create art by taking different models of cell phones and using the video recorder on them to record different scenes in movement whenever she is on buses or trains or in the car. These videos are then combined together to make cell phone movies of the subjects that she has taken video footage of. Learn more here.
6. Phonetic Faces.
This is another one of those interactive art pieces that utilizes mobile phones. In this case, the Phonetic Faces exhibit is set up (it’s been in various galleries around the world) and people at the exhibit can come add to the piece. They do so by calling a specific cell phone number which tells them how to choose images to collage together as part of the piece and then also allows them to upload their own picture for use in the collage. Essentially, this captures the visitors to the exhibit in images but also alters the piece through their contributions. That’s public art at its best and it has the cell phone at its core.
7. Concrete Cell Phones by Will Coles.
This is an artist with an interesting project that takes mobile phone art out into the streets. He makes concrete sculptures of mobile phones (and other types of technology like TV remotes) and then he places them throughout cities to be discovered and adored by people wandering through life. I can imagine that seeing one would make you think different about mobile phones in society if only for a brief while.
- HubMob Mobile Phones Series
This hub article is part of a series devoted to articles on mobile phones. Follow the link to see all of the articles in the series.
Kristen Howe from Northeast Ohio on April 29, 2015:
Kathryn, this is awesome indeed. That describes these mobile phone art for sure. Great hub! Voted up!
Promoenforcer@icloud.com on October 30, 2013:
Hi k my name is stan & I do mobile art like u never ever imagine or ever seen it would be a great pleasure to talk to u as I am not sure who what or where to go to exibit promote or show my mobile art to I have lots of ideas but like I said not sure where to ......start . I have approx 45 art works ATM . I'm not very tech savy using mob ph but am learning quickly ... My email add is email@example.com look forward to hearing from u tnx
leah Williams on April 05, 2012:
I draw on my cell phone and want to make a coffee table book of other cell phone artists. If you are interested, please contact me. My email is firstname.lastname@example.org. Thanks and hope to hear from a lot of cellphone artists.
Laura Brown from Barrie, Ontario, Canada on March 25, 2012:
When I read your title I thought you were posting about art made on the phone. I was surprised to find it about art made with the phone itself.
I like the concrete phone. It's like finding a fossil of something from the future, something where it doesn't belong.
Leah on March 19, 2012:
I love drawing on my cell phone. I have an Lg Navigator. I want to get other cell phone artists together to form a coffee table book. If you are interested in submitting your cell phone art (no photos please), then contact me at. Uni.email@example.com. Thank you.
Mobile Phone on February 27, 2011:
This is really neat art with mobile phones involved. The recycled mobile phone art looks quite good in the photo.
RichPt on January 20, 2011:
Hi Kathyrn - these are really cool, do you know if there are any exhibitions for this sort of work?
wow on November 09, 2010:
Wow, what a random topic. I love it!
jimdlemons on October 31, 2010:
I do art on my hand held device, paintings on a 2x4 screen! It is good to see the variety of things creative people do with the old phones though!
Raavi A.Munaf Bhatkar on June 15, 2010:
Sculpture of Ghandi with Cell Phone & Tech Sculptures of Joe McKay inspires me
CheapMobilePhones from UK on March 31, 2010:
Brilliant ideas. So Expressive.
Art 4 Life from in the middle of nowhere.... on January 12, 2010:
wow...I have never seen so many things you can do with cell phones...how inventive and artistic!
Michael Finnegan on November 24, 2009:
Really cool art. There are so many things you can do with cell phones. Check out some of my work on text messaging.
Nathan on September 29, 2009:
So unique! Great stuff
mp on August 09, 2009:
That Rob Petit one and the concrete phone are very cool... who thinks of this stuff??? Its so interesting how creative people are... thanks for putting this Hub together... great job.
Bob Ewing from New Brunswick on March 18, 2009:
You just gotta love the artistic mind.
Anna Marie Bowman from Florida on March 18, 2009:
Very neat!!!! It makes me want to do something fun, and artistic with my old, broken cell phones...
ProCW from South Carolina on March 17, 2009:
Thanks for the contribution, Kathryn! :)