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Design History

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There is one technique in which they use inorganic pigments layered on Mylar that has an estimated longevity of 500 years without fading. Of course there is fired ceramic which employs much the same technique.

New technology produces longevity and exquisite prints. But prints can be easily destroyed and ceramics easily broken. Unlike my resin sculptures, these options, to me at least, still had down sides. I wanted more longevity as well as an indestructible nature. Sure, that’s going to be easy.

I met Carl Regutti in the late summer of 2001. I saw a piece of his work on display at a local trophy shop. It happened to be one of his prototype firefighter pieces, a preview of "Heroism & Sacrifice", a life-size bronze, granite, and concrete monument honoring North Carolina's fallen firefighters now on display in Nash Square in Raleigh, NC.

Bas-relief sculptureI called Carl and asked if he would be interested in doing a piece for the Zoe Foundation. We arranged a meeting and the rest is history. We both worked on the design of “Survival at Risk”, the bas-relief Carl created for the foundation. We frequently got together to brainstorm ideas. His sculptures have longevity, but Carl was also interested in large architectural work using a new product he had been researching, colored stainless steel. It comes in some wonderful colors, and if one uses 316 L stainless it will survive the elements almost indefinitely.

For comparison, think about this. There are copper and bronze coins having clearly Jason and Carldefined images that have been around for thousands of years. These materials both oxidize fairly proficiently. But that’s how they survived. Virtually all ancient bronze coins have at least a thin layer of brown oxide directly on the metal surface. The oxide layer protected the base metal. Stainless steel, especially 316 L, is designed for optimal corrosion resistance, even in a salt laden atmosphere. How long do you think a .060 (1/16 Roman Coininch) piece of natural 316 L will survive? How long with a hot immersion produced oxide layer and a clear porcelain, amorphous diamond, or fluorinated polyurethane top coating (applied for scratch resistance)?

Carl asked if I thought we could somehow put photo realistic images on the coated stainless. I didn’t know anything about that. I worked with paper and printers. But Carl showed me Jason Workingsome stainless that had been imaged in Japan. The Japanese are leaders in this area. So it could be done. But their resolution wasn’t impressive. We came to find out recently that they were getting 65 to 85 lines per inch. Carl and I both figured if it could be done we could develop a way to do it better. And that’s exactly what we did.

Carl and I come from diversified backgrounds. We both hold US patents, but Carl is a chemist and a sculptor. I am a graphics designer, builder, inventor, and preservationist. Together we complement each other. We started out in what we humbly like to call our “lab” – actually Carl’s overloaded garage. We occasionally think of ourselves as somewhat like the Wright Brothers, who inaugurated an industry and forever changed perceptions. And all that began in a bicycle shop.

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