What’s a ChipScape?

Cool Chip_Front

Cool Chip – 2009

The simplest way to explain my art form is to say that they are pictures of computer chips. Sometimes they are images of the whole chip, sometimes just a part of it, and sometimes they may be of many chips on a circuit board, or silicon wafer. Describing my artwork has been a challenge. I have thought of these images as sort of microscopic chip landscapes, so the term ChipScapesTM was born.

Chips are not large. The smallest are about the size of the head of a pin, the largest about the size of quarter. Most of the subjects of my art are not visible with the naked eye and require a microscope to capture their images. The enlargement of the subjects on my 16”x20” prints can be up to 1,000-2,000 times.

I create my art by taking digital photographs of the chips. Starting with these photographs, and sometimes I use more than one, I digitally retouch the photographs to bring interest to the final piece. They are a form of visual artistic representation, a new form made possible by the latest digital technologies. The things that can be done in digital media make it hard to classify them in a classical sense. If pressed, I would say they are photographs.

People are often struck by the beauty that is hidden in these little devices. The lines, shapes, textures, and colors that are found in these silicon chips create interesting patterns. One design might have a very modern look with smooth lines and ethereal backgrounds. Others may be very primitive with rough textures and geometric shapes. I enjoy gazing at chips, as I do clouds, just for the fun of finding interesting shapes and designs.

I prefer to use some of the earliest chips for my subjects. Compared to today’s Intel Pentium chips, the early chips were small, but the designs on the chips were relatively large. This may seem odd, but it is very true. These early designs are much more interesting since there is a lot of variation in them. In the early seventies, before the IBM PC, chips designs were not standardized. There was tremendous creativity in chip designs and hence provides lots of material for my art.

Are Chips Colorful?

Quilt – 2003 The simple answer: yes and no. Silicon and aluminum, as fate would have it, are both gray. Not a very inspiring color scheme it would seem. Ah! But it is, and it’s due to the reflective properties of the chip’s surface. A chip is made of many layers that crisscross it’s surface, …

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What is a Computer Chip?

Silicon Dominos – 2003 If you don’t work in the computer field, and even if do, you may not be that familiar with computer chips. These chips are more properly called integrated circuits, or IC’s. They are electronic devices that contain transistors and other components that are made of semiconductor materials, like silicon. These transistors …

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How are Chips Made?

Silicon wafers are cut from a silicon crystal, such as this one A brief look at how chips are made might help you enjoy my artwork even more. When I talk with other artists I have enjoyed the stories about their art as much the art itself. So I’ll take you on a quick tour. …

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