Mattel Intellivision controller screen print red and grey art silkscreen circuit portrait retro console



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  • Handmade
  • Materials: Fabriano Rosaspina paper, Acrylic ink

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. Most of which are now lurking in the attic.

Mattel released their Intellivision in 1980. It was a brown and gold behemoth, as so many things were in those days. It was one of the first home games consoles, and a strong competitor for the Atari VCS that was king in those days, and is well regarded for it's time. Except for the controllers. Google it.

This design is from the flexible circuit "board" from inside one of those infernal controllers. I cleaned it, ironed it (35 years of being folded up is a hard habit to break), scanned it, and traced it, laying out the lines like the original designer did.

Once it's unfolded, there is one layer for the electrical traces, and a second layer for the board outline. Each layer of each print is individually hand-pulled on a silkscreen press using different mixed colours of acrylic ink, printing onto soft, pillowy 285gsm Fabriano Rosaspina paper, in the basement of my studio here in Edinburgh, Scotland.

The printed area is 30x30cm (12 x 12 inches). It fits into one of those frames designed for presenting LP covers nicely. The paper itself is a couple of inches larger, with one deckled and three torn edges. Title and signature is down one edge, but the orientation is not fixed, this can be hung four ways.

This is an open edition, signed by the artist. That's me.


This project highlights the individuality that the people that made these artefacts bring to their work. The circuits I have chosen to feature are ones that have significance to me, either because our family had one, I had good memories of using them at friends houses, or because I coveted them badly!

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 rolled, face-out in a sturdy packing tube, with acid-free tissue paper and bubble wrap to protect it on it's journey. In the UK, it will be sent special delivery, a next-business-day, signed-for service. European shipping usually takes between two and four days, further afield can take up to ten business days.


The estimated delivery date is based on your purchase date, the recipient's location (actual or inferred), the seller's processing time and location, and the shipping carrier.

Other factors—such as shipping carrier delays or placing an order on weekend/holiday—may push the arrival of your item beyond this date.

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Aug 22-Sep 2

Aug 15

After you place your order, uptomuch will take 1-3 business days to prepare it for shipment.

Aug 16-18

uptomuch puts your order in the mail.

Aug 22-Sep 2

Estimated to arrive at your doorstep Aug 22-Sep 2!

Etsy offsets carbon emissions from shipping and packaging on this purchase.
Etsy offsets carbon emissions from shipping and packaging on this purchase.

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Ships from United Kingdom

Sandy Noble

Sandy Noble

Owner of uptomuch

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248 Sales | 5 out of 5 stars 90 | Selling on Etsy since 2009
Selling on Etsy since 2009

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Buyer Reviews

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5 out of 5 stars

Mr. Noble, what can I say? This Polargraph, a type of art form I was unfamiliar with until stumbling upon your shop, is now my first real art purchase. Besides trading paintings, jewelry, ceramics & other creations with fellow art school students for 6 1/2 years, I have never actually forked over money for another artist's work... sad, I know. Even after teaching art for almost 8 years & growing up around the artists my dad hung around with, I could not afford the art I desired or it was unoriginal and bland. This piece changed all of that for me. Here is something I can not make with my own 2 hands & the process is so fascinating! Thank you, thank you, thank you, for making something so new and fresh. Something that was so different I had to have it, to feel the paper and process the way those lines were made. Just Lovely.

Raechel May 27, 2014

5 out of 5 stars

Amazing Prints and the seller was wonderful and easy to communicate with. I appreciated that the seller was personable and the seller worked very hard to get the prints to the states to me quickly for a wedding present. :) They are about to be hung and have been framed.

Reviewed by Anonymous Jun 20, 2012

5 out of 5 stars

My very first home computer, presented here in beautiful full colour (something the machine itself was incapable of). A lovely piece of art, thank you.

Alf Fairweather Apr 29, 2016

5 out of 5 stars

Absolutely fantastic piece of art based on the Speccy's circuit board. Wonderfully presented, beautifully executed. Many thanks!

Alf Fairweather Apr 29, 2016

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