The Artist

SteveWithChipMy name is Steve Emery and I do ChipScapesTM. I love Michelangelo’s comment about his sculpting, “I saw the angel in the marble and carved until I set him free.” I do share that feeling. My subjects are already there. They are just waiting for me to find them with the right illumination and spark to bring them to life.

I am truly amazed by the support I have received. I never imagined the opportunities that I have been given. I am told I should exude confidence, as successful artists do, but I am just humbled by the acceptance my work has achieved. I guess I never had a vision of where my artworks would wind up, but I currently have patrons in over 14 countries around the world, world-class companies have commissioned my artwork, and even very prestigious museums have collected my artwork.

I have worked with computer systems for over 35 years. While I have dabbled in the arts over the years, I just hadn’t found my place. ChipScapesTM came about as a confluence of hobbies. I am a collector of vintage computer chips. And I have been an avid photographer since I was a teenager. The idea for ChipScapesTM started when I began framing old computer chips with photographs as gifts for my family. With their encouragement I shifted the focus from the physical chip to the artwork you see today.

In my home town of Winter Park, FL, we are fortunate to have a world class museum, The Charles Hosmer Morse Museum of American Art.  The Morse Museum has the largest collection of Louis Comfort Tiffany’s artwork. The museum is only a 10 minute walk from my home and I visit it often. Tiffany was a genius with many artistic talents. His choice of glass as his primary medium led many to relegate him to the industrial arts, rather than the fine arts. I feel a certain affinity with Tiffany, in that a lot of my work can be thought of as industrial art. Also, although we come at it from very different angles, both our work is based in glass. Chips, and my artworks, are made possible because of the SiO2 (Silicon Dioxide) insulation layers used in their construction. The more common name for SiO2 is glass. Tiffany and I were attracted to glass for the same reasons, namely the way that it reflects and refracts light. Whereas he sought to create the light in his works, I attempt to capture it in mine. Many of my artworks have a stained glass feel, which is not by accident.

Ultimately, I view myself as a kind of 21st century pop artist.

To each of my works I attach a short narrative. In these I try to share a little of my inspiration and a little of the work’s context. Some say art should stand on its own. I am from a different school that believes that the greatest appreciation of art comes from an understanding of the influences and circumstances that surround its creation.

My pictures are joys for me to create. As I acquire new chips I revel in their technology and place in history. Under the microscope, I study their designs looking for uniqueness, a quirk, an unusual aspect or quality. These are the basis for my pictures. I look at the circuits that make a chip special and see if I can highlight them. It is a treasure hunt. I am sometimes disappointed, but not often. I am truly humbled by the genius of the designers of these chips and hope my work does them some tribute.

Shakespeare put forth a question, “To be, or not to be.” There is much debate about what exactly he meant, but I believe, beyond the confines of Hamlet, it is a call to live, to see the beauty in the world. That’s what makes life worth living. We can live our lives ignoring the beauty all around us, but I chose “to be.” I choose to seek out beauty and share it with others. My hope is to inspire people to find the art in all that they do. After all, even in the coldness of technology we can find beauty … if we look for it.

Steve Emery

PS. For questions or comments on the art, or for art galleries interested in displaying ChipScapesTM please contact me, SteveEmery (no space) at ChipScapes dot com. I apologize for the cryptic email address, but the spammers are driving me crazy.

Also, check out my chip collecting website: