Anodized titanium jewels

In 1979, I discovered a new metal working technique that gave me the ability to create strong graphic designs. Anodized titanium involves using electricity to grow a transparent oxidation layer on titanium metal. White light is reflected from both the surface of this layer and from the metal underneath, making two light rays that are out of phase by the thickness of the layer and this phase difference creates colors in exactly the same way of an oil film on water. Since color is thus determined by oxide layer thickness—which is determined by voltage—I can call up a wide range of colors by specifying precise voltages. Various masking techniques are then used to create patterns. Another appealing aspect of titanium is its very light weight, combined with great structural strength.

Titanium is quite difficult to form, so mostly I used flat pieces as a graphic art medium. I did some ballistic forming, however, utilizing a .22 caliber rifle and various types of bullets, sometimes modified for maximum deformation. The results of these ballistic forming sessions were often quite dramatic, if somewhat dangerous to wear (think shrapnel!).

Another technique I learned to employ involved using the kind of photo-resist techniques used to etch semiconductor materials, but I employed it in my oxidation process instead. This process allows for very precise manipulation of images. I ultimately used computer graphics programs to create my photomasks, making this a kind of computer art, albeit not in the same way as my truly cybernetic art. Below are representative examples of anodized titanium jewels.