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3D Printing and Contemporary Fine Art: What’s in Store?

, 3D Printing and Contemporary Fine Art: What’s in Store?

3D printing, art world, manufacturing capacity, graphic design, fine art, art

3D Printing and Contemporary Fine Art: What’s in Store?

 

3D Printing and Contemporary Fine Art: What’s in Store?

3D Printing and Contemporary Fine Art: What’s in Store?

 

3D printing has already fundamentally changed the manufacturing industry by giving production capacity to individuals, but how will this new technology affect the art world as it becomes more mainstream? 3D printers, both home-based and professional-grade, are still advancing extremely rapidly, with new models rolling out every year from a wide variety of companies: 3D Systems, Stratasys, ExOne, Materialise, Arcam, and the list goes on. 3D printing has given a chance for the individual to see his creation in three-dimensions, but also to refine design and function through mere software adjustments, correcting an entire product line in moments. While individuals and graphic designers certainly appreciate the added manufacturing capacity that 3D printing awards, the technology has also been making its way through the fine art world with polarizing reactions from both artists and patrons.

 

3D Printing and Contemporary Fine Art: What’s in Store?

3D Printing and Contemporary Fine Art: What’s in Store?

 

Some artists, like Rob and Nick Carter, have opted to turn iconic Impressionistic works (like Van Gogh’s sunflowers) into fully three-dimensional works of fine art. This involved heavy graphic design work as the artists tried to match the Impressionist qualities of Van Gogh’s work as closely as possible. While some may be put off by seeing new representations of classic fine art pieces, 3D printing promises to offer riveting new takes on old works. Can you imagine a fully three-dimensional statue of the Mona Lisa? Or a museum exhibit that renders a Renaissance depiction of hell across an entire room? The possibilities are endless, but some artists have not reacted well. Some see the advent of 3D printing as cheapening the fine art world by taking work—quite literally—right out of the artist’s hands and laying it instead at the feet of an automated process. While this is on some level true, we must remember that graphic design is yet another kind of fine art. Just as computer modeling has replaced a large number of traditional pencil-and-ink animation jobs, so too has graphic design aided the shift into 3D printing. No doubt there will remain a niche market for traditional sculptors, painters, and the like, but learning graphic design will enable a new generation of artists (who otherwise might not have worked in three dimensions) see their work come to life in an entirely new way.

 

3D Printing and Contemporary Fine Art: What’s in Store?

3D Printing and Contemporary Fine Art: What’s in Store?

Artists have also been at the forefront of experimenting with new “fuels” for the 3D printing industry. Most 3D printers currently use a form of extremely malleable plastic spool as their primary source of construction, building the graphic design layer by layer. Newer 3D printers have transferred to a “liquid-based model” where the entire design is created nearly simultaneously and then rises out of a pool of plastic to dry in one piece. Artists will continue to drive innovation and manufacturing capacity developments in the 3D printing industry, eventually allowing the technology to spread much like PC technology, down to the level of the individual.

 

 

Keywords: 3D printing, art world, manufacturing capacity, graphic design, fine art, art