Piece by Piece

By guruscotty March 15, 2024 No Comments

Piece by Piece

By Scott Nishimura
Photography by Mike Lewis

Colleyville artist Gregory Arth uses recycled circuit boards and other objects to create works ranging from cityscapes to still life

Visit Gregory Arth in the airy two-story loft he and his wife built years ago beneath the numerous oak trees in the backyard of their home in Colleyville, and you’ll find one of the more unusual artists whose work will be on display at Southlake’s upcoming Art in the Square show.

Arth, 68, who left a budding career in real estate years ago to focus full time on his art, has worked in various media, including paint. His commissioned murals can be found in private homes, offices and commercial locations in North Texas and nationally.

But in one of Arth’s most popular and long-running series, he uses circuit board pieces and other tech equipment, found objects, collage and paint to create images of everything from cityscapes to people, movie characters, animals and still life. The 12th verson of his “She Bot” circuit board series hangs in Arth’s studio and is ready for Art in the Square. Arth’s “She Bot’’ muse?

Artist Gregory Arth, with wife Claudia in the backyard studio of their home in Colleyville. Claudia works road shows with her husband and has inspired numerous of his works,

Gregory Arth uses glue and screws to make his circuit board artwork series. Many of Arth’s circuit board pieces are of still lifes, robots, and cityscapes.

“She’s styled after my wife [Claudia], who’s a little sexy and a little dangerous,” Arth says. Claudia’s in the backyard at the moment, walking a large white rescue cat named Snowball on harness and leash, attempting to acclimate him to the yard so he won’t run away.

Another of Arth’s styles is what he calls “Sculptural Cubism,” a mashup of the traditional Cubism and its multiple perspectives with a “sort of two-dimensional sculpturelike painting.” Arth has used this style in generating portraits, faces of iconic people like the image of John Wayne hanging in his studio, and even dogs and cats.

Arth grew up in North Texas and graduated from Trinity High School in Euless and the University of Texas at Arlington. While he initially pursued a career in real estate, he’s been into art for much longer. He doesn’t recall the first time he sold a piece.

“But I can distinctly remember being young and thinking, ‘wouldn’t it be cool if you could make stuff and people would buy it?’” he said.

He remembers one expression — “multiple streams of income” — he learned in his business classes.

“It’s most applicable to real estate, but I just applied it to art,” he says.

Arth spent just two years in real estate in the early 1980s before leaving it. “I got into it because it seemed like a way to make a lot of money,” he says. “But it just didn’t interest me.”

Arth caught an early break when he scored a commission for artwork in the private home of the owners of a movie theater chain. That led to a series of commissioned murals for the chain.

Gregory Arth built his two-story studio and loft 27 years ago in the backyard of the Colleyville home he shares with his wife, Claudia, and, more recently, a rescue cat named Snowball.

In addition to using circuit board pieces in many of his works, Arth sometimes paints the backgrounds or uses collage.

While he said he’s done as many as 15 shows per year earlier in his career, he now does three in the spring and three in the fall. This spring’s itinerary includes his favorites: Art in the Square April 26-28 at Southlake Town Square; Cottonwood Art Festival May 4-5 in Richardson; and a show in The Woodlands near Houston. Claudia helps run the booths at the shows.

Arth started his circuit board series in 1989 after he looked at a circuit board and thought it resembled a skyline.

For those pieces, Arth shops for recycled materials at two locations, in Watauga and Arlington. “There’s tonnage of it, except when you need something specific,” Arth jokes. “Then you can’t find it.”

He uses glue and screws to put the pieces together. “Glue ‘em and screw ‘em,” he says. “Sometimes paint the background, sometimes collage.”

Within the circuit board series, he has subseries, such as “She Bot,” “Tree of Knowledge,” and “Earth.’’

His first circuit board piece was called “Over Saturation,” a representation of New York City. He lit some of the earlier versions of his circuit board pieces from the back of the Plexiglas he mounted the pieces on. “But then I got off that because they were so complicated,” he says.

Arth prices the circuit board pieces generally between $1,500 and $3,500, although some, such as a lit Dallas skyline available on his web site is listed at $6,000. “I’ve done commissions for $14,000, $15,000.”

Arth likes to limit the number of versions of an idea he generates. The “She Bot” hanging in his studio is the 12th version of that series, he says. “That’s the last one I’m going to do [of it], unless I get a commission, and then I don’t even know if I’m going to do it. I’ve got to come up with a new idea.”

Claudia has been the inspiration for many of Arth’s pieces.