High School Art Teacher Turns Videogame Life Saver

“It’s a New Medium That Has Vast Applications in the Modern Era”

Whether you are a retro gamer or a Christmas noob videogames are an art and a passion. Everyone likes talking about their favorite moments with the golden Zelda cartridge from the Nintendo Entertainment System (NES) or the millionth time they died in one of the many incredibly hard boss fights in the Darks Soul’s franchise. It’s the love of making these moments last weather that is their story telling. going back to the game on a rainy day, or through the preservation of these Retro titles and console we love. Jeffrey Farber, owner of 1up Forge, I got the chance to talk to him about his creations as an artist and a fixer of sorts.

One of Jeff’s Shadow Box’s of Characters/Items From Mario the Game.

Jeffrey Farber, the owner of 1up Forge, takes these old beaten up console and brings new life by repurposing to be used as mobiles, jewelry, charging dock’s, and even lamps. In a statement, he goes on to say “I recycle broken down video game systems, controllers, and other peripherals. I give new life to these amazing gaming machines of the past making many creative and functional items from home decor to wearable jewelry. No working video games are harmed in my creations.  All my items are carefully engineered and made to last.  Most of my hard work is hidden inside the consoles, controllers, etc. making my items look simple and minimalist but that is the beauty of my work. I consider each piece to be a work of art and take pride in my unique craft. It’s a new medium that has vast applications in the modern era.  I’m keeping these pieces out of landfills and curating small bits of video game history at the same time.”

It all has to start somewhere and for Jeffery, it was the Atari 2600 “I am an avid old school gamer who spent many hours as a child playing the Atari 2600. When I wasn’t grasping that joystick with the one orange button I would have my hands filled with pencils and drawing paper doodling and coloring. I always knew I wanted to combine these two things I loved the most: art and video games.”

“I Started Having More Fun Playing With the Broken Stuff Rather Than the Working Stuff”

Moreover on that, “With this idea always brewing in my head I eventually settled as a high school art teacher and repaired vintage video games on the side. When I could not fix something instead of throwing it out I kept asking myself, how can I turn it into something new and usable? My very first up cycle was turning a broken NES console into a lunch box. I started having more fun playing with the broken stuff rather than the working stuff. I had so much fun, in fact, that I decided to quit my teaching job to pursue my realized dream of working with video games and art full time.”

Jeffery goes on to say ” [That] I’m constantly stretching my imagination to come up with new and innovated ideas for recycling video games. To me, a pile of broken video game equipment is not trash but rather a pile of possibilities.”

I went on to ask him “What are the pieces that you are most proud of? You did mention an NES lunchbox, that must’ve been pretty cool to use.”

“The NES lunchbox does stand out because it was my first creative breakthrough and sort of set a benchmark for me. It got a lot of positive attention and everyone who saw it wanted one of their own. The game door could be flipped open and a sandwich would fit right in, that got me some oooo’s and ahhhh’s.  I definitely knew I was on to something.” said Jeffery.


“Moving Away From Functional Pieces and Into to Pure Form”

He then goes on to talk about bigger dreams he has in mind,”I also feel good about my controller cord art shadow box pieces.  These are very challenging and time-consuming to create but they always come out stunning. To me, they set the bar a little higher moving away from functional pieces and into to pure form. My dream is to have a gallery showing with these shadow box pieces using controllers from every system that used a cord.”

Nostalgia plays a big part in what Jeffery does and having something physical you can touch and feel puts smiles on him and his customer’s faces.

DSC_0002 (1)
Take That Nostalgic Feeling on the Go

“My controller plug key chains are very popular. These are fun because they are small, they fit right in your pocket and they bring back memories when you hold them. I think that is the real appeal with my work is that you can relive a moment from your past that brought so much joy and wonder.  Today’s technology evolves so rapidly and everything is moving towards wireless so my pieces have a definite nostalgia quality to them.” Jeffery mentions.

“Circuit Boards and Controller Toothbrush Holders”

While he has ideas for future creations he sticks to request from his customers right now. Replacing mundane house hold items such had coat hooks, electric outlets, or even toothbrush holders and retro-fying them to give your house that classic feel.

“I have so many ideas on the back burners including jewelry made using circuit boards and controller toothbrush holders but my time is very limited so currently I am staying busy with custom requests for lamps, key chains, and controller wire art pieces. A big piece I just finished is my Nintendo history floor lamp. This is by far the most ambitious lamp I have ever constructed. It is made like a totem pole using 6 different Nintendo consoles and 6 controllers stacked one on top of the other. It starts with the oldest NES console at the very bottom and they go on up through Nintendo history to the Wii U and then on top of those I stacked the controllers for each system. To top it all off I added an orange NES zapper gun because it just seemed to fit.  It is going to be hard letting go of this piece.” Jeffery says.

nintendo game room lamp (2)Having to ask him one last question, “Are you currently working on anything new right now that you’d like to share? I mean your lamps are pretty darn wicked!”

Jeffery reply’s with, “Tapper, such a fun game. Clink, clink, clink, smash! My favorite part was the bonus game you played after each level where the little bandit would shake up 5 out of the 6 cans of Mt. Dew and you had to pick the one that wasn’t shaken or get sprayed in the face.  The subliminal product placement worked well because ultimately Mt. Dew became my favorite soda pop.”

To see Jeffery’s website where he’s “Giving extra lives to broken video games” check it out here http://www.1upforge.com/shop/.

Jeffery Farber also has an Esty account going on its 7th year where he ships from Wisconsin. The link is located here https://www.etsy.com/shop/1upForge.

Lastest, you can find more of his craft on Instagram @1up_forge or https://www.instagram.com/1up_forge/.



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