Yesterday I started working at a new place and they gave me permission to print small pieces from time to time, this encouraged me to star using 3D prints again, so I made a small model from an image I want to include on my next piece.
My next step will be to integrate some of this new prints into the new piece and see how they behave.
At the moment I feel that 3D printing might allow me to include some complex features to my objects, maybe some pieces that need to be precise or that might need a stronger material as a support, the only way to find out is to keep making new models.
Since the beginning of my painting career, I`ve been interested in the use different materials as a way to expand the representative potential of painting. This is a short review on the most significant landmarks on this active research:
MDF – Slippery paper 2008 – 2010
Around the year 2009, I started to experiment on this material, I was cheap so it was great for sketch making. One of the first things I learned about it was that it allowed the brush stroke to smoothly cover a bigger distance. This was one important discovery that made me aware of the convenience of smooth surfaces. The biggest downside was that you have to take really good care of it, after all, it is similar to paper.
MACHETE TIME – Shape the painting. 2011
Around 2011, I was again working over conventional canvas and MDF was almost in the past. Although I used to do a lot of oil painting, Acrylic paint started to attract my attention. At first I used it as the first layer for oil painting but with time, my use for it grew up to the point it replaced oils.
On one point, I wanted to paint over objects, so I made two experiments with oil based painting over milk cans, this gave me a new insight so I started to paint over objects in order to build a relation between the physical shape of the object and the depicted image. I had chosen to paint over Machetes and the final outcome opened a new path for my practice, now it was all about metal, acrylic paint and polyurethane varnish.
POP – Color fields and repetition 2012 – 2013
At this point I was really excited about using iron plaques and metal objects, I was really into acrylic painting and my motives were evolving more than ever before. I was starting to liberate from fixed photographic images and visual composition became an stimulating adventure. I felt free to experiment so I began by changing the context and the colors inside the piece. The use of patterns set the ground for the use of pixels and for the first time I took the risk of creating my first 3D painting sculptures. The downs side of Iron was that the pieces were to heavy and some of them actually ended up damaged by a combination of gravity and hard floor.
OILY LOVE – Landscape and flesh 2014 – 2015
I am not sure why, maybe it was the speed of things or the size of my expectations or the way I used to push things, by the beginning of 2014 I was exhausted and with a bitter taste on my mouth. I needed to find the joy that was missing on my brush strokes, I needed to take a deep breath and recover my energy, it was time for oil painting.
Landscapes and Figure were my main source for inspiration. I stayed well away from traditional canvas by using several different materials e.g. Fiberglass with paper collage, synthetic paper and found objects. I started to embrace more elements of the digital aesthetics e.g. pixels, glitches, color aberration, overexposure, bad framing, blurriness.
3D painting – Layers of reality 2015-2016
Around April 2015 I started working on 3D paper models, I was trying to find an affordable and flexible way to create three dimensional models. The use of Blender introduced me to 3D image composition, now I had the opportunity to compose and alter the 3D shape of the image.
Once I started my MA in London, I was able take things further thanks to the use of a 3D printing, this opened things for me because I was no longer limited by the complexity of the shape I wanted to create, or at least, that is what I though.
After a while, some issues were starting to be a real problem, firstly, 3D printing is a fairly complex process and a lot of things may go wrong (and actually did), secondly, affordable 3D printing has serious size restrictions, finally, 3D printers are delicate equipment and by February 2016 the College’s 3D printer was damaged (and still is). Although I was upset at the beginning, this ended up being an opportunity to take things further both on digital and physical grounds.
Camberwell Roller Coaster – Going VR March 2016
On March 2016 I made my first site specific VR project, It was a piece that explored the use of 3D software to reflect about the perception of space while expanding the formal elements of Digital Photography. This project also introduced my self into 360 video production.
Landscape extrusion – Modeling and Sculpting March – April 2016
A month ago I was thinking on how to make bigger 3D physical objects without 3D printing nor 3D paper modeling. My first option was to assemble several MDF laser cut silhouettes. Although it was a pretty interesting process, I ended up on a dead end once I realized that it was going to be a pretty complex task to make it a strong and lightweight piece.
After awhile, I remembered a talk I had with the technician of the 3D workshop, we talked about several materials and one of them seemed to be suited for my present needs; polystyrene foam sheets. Last week I made a new model from a landscape and now I am modeling the physical piece while reflecting about the different aspects of this new kind of process and how it fits into my practice…
It is fair to say that I have spent more than 4 months learning the different aspects of 3D printing in order push the limits of it, my first problem was that the pieces where pretty small and my rejection from the Lynn Stainers price has left me with a bat taste on my mouth, I am sure it was because of the size of my piece.
So I started building modular models to print them in parts and I also tried to learn how to push the limits of the printer in terms of the printable area, however, it has been one disappointment after another;
Firstly, this modular objects need a flat surface to stick to the plate, and the changes of temperature on the room make it almost imposible to print a non-deformed shape.
Secondly, and also thanks to the deformation of the pieces, now I need to sculpt them and even add synthetic clay to fix them together.
Finally, The 3D printing is very popular at the moment and I have lost precious time because some models have gone wrong.
I’ve been thinking about the value of 3D printed objects in the present, I guess that we tend to see them as valuable objects because we still have limited access to them, they cost a lot of money and time, and not everyone is able to create them, I can’t stop thinking that maybe this is but a repetition of what happened several years ago with 2D printing.
So… why paint over a 3D printed object?
I guess the best way for me to answer this question is trying to think the opposite way, I mean, why shouldn’t I?, leaving the thing as it is, is assuming that it is an end product, it is accepting the idea that a 3D printed object could embodies all the desirable features you can imagine in a physical creation, and for me, that is not the truth.
Painting over it gives me the opportunity to get involved as a physical been, is accepting that even if I were able to have “digital hands”, they will not replace the experience of getting involved with the physical object, even more, the digital object changes not only by acquiring physicality by it self, but above all, by becoming bonded with the physical world. This part of the process creates a whole set of opportunities and risks transforming the precious 3D object into a quite provocative blank canvas.
Don’t destroy the shape of the thing!!!
Well, this seems worse, changing the shape of a 3D printing reveals a lack of planning, after all, if you wanted a different shape you only needed to spend more time sitting on you computer instead of trying to change what has been printed, this is a pretty strong point…
So… why re-sculpt, scratch, break or burn 3D printed object?
As I did in the previous paragraph, I’m going to answer with another question: why not? or even more, what if?.
From my point of view, once you “digitalize” something from the physical world, it becomes subject to the laws of the “digital world”, even more, it is treated as a digital good without contemplation, so why not do the same with the materialized digital object?.
I think that applying physical transformations to 3D printed objects can help us both to acknowledge their physical fragility (and flaws) and to expand their physical possibilities once we understand the existing limitations of 3D printing.
Today I received the canvas for this 3D painting, this is a smaller object so I thing is going to be more challenging to paint over it.
For this piece I decided to go with the symmetric model because I realised that this kind of shapes are ambiguous, they only look symmetric if you look at them from an specific angle and I think this feature will enable me to play with this tension once I start to paint over it.
Today I started the printing of the second piece of the “a walk through ambiguity” series, It the beginning I had a problem with the printer (operator problem) and I ended up giving birth to a “small canvas alike premature deform piece”.
Later Matt helped me with the problem and now I have to wait until Monday to stop worrying about the printing process.
Even the 3D printing failures are interesting objects, I guess that it has something to do with the fact that they are unique plastic objects.