3D printer - art

Is The 3D Printer Artists’ Next Great Tool?

More artists are turning to the 3D printer to create their work

How do you make an art piece so intricate that it defies traditional methods of sculpture? Create it with a 3D printer.

The technology has fantastic applications, allowing artists to create incredibly complex masterpieces working with a variety of mediums including stone, ceramic, plastic, and more. And, once the design is finalized, it’s easy to simply print off as many copies as you need.

While the work is in progress, 3D printing gives artists more flexibility. It’s a lot more work to change up a mold than it is to alter a 3D file. And if the artist isn’t satisfied with the changes, they can simply go back to the way it was or try something new.

We look to some of our favorite artists to see how they’re putting this technology to use.

Dario Santacroce

Italian sculptor Dario Santacroce loves to explore temporal perception with his exquisite pieces. He uses a lot of 3D symbols in his work, and many of the sculptures are based on a hemispherical, spherical, or phi spherical base design. Of course, each piece receives its own flair. He works primarily with stone and has developed some of his own stone materials.

See more of his work at Dariosantacroce.com.

Paco Raphael

Have you ever seen a gorilla doing a one-handed handstand while wearing roller skates? How about a shiny metal deer with colorful balloons? Then you might have seen one of Paco Raphael’s intriguing 3D-printed sculptures.

To blend art with function, much of Raphael’s work goes into useful items like floor lamps, art tables, and other industrial objects for home and office use. One of his main goals is to decorate urban areas with pieces of nature, which he does by printing pop-art pieces of animals to be placed in cities.

Follow his work at pacoraphael.com.

David Wenzel

New York-born David Wenzel is a prolific comic book artist. His best-known work is a graphic novel adaptation of J.R.R. Tolkien’s The Hobbit, but he’s also illustrated a plethora of children’s books and helped work on many Marvel and D.C. Comics book. He took things one step further and began printing 3D figurines of his characters using sandstone to create full-color figures. 

Discover more of his work, including his latest book The Kingdom of the Dwarfs, at davidwenzel.com.

Kate Blacklock

The work of Providence, Rhode Island, artist Kate Blacklock is decidedly more delicate. She works with ceramics and pottery, printing pieces that would be nearly impossible to shape by hand. Her work is incredibly intricate and each piece has its own distinct pattern and shape. Just like pottery, once the piece is printed it is glazed and fired to finish it off.

Explore her work at kateblacklock.com.

Joshua Harkey

Artist Joshua Harkey made quite the splash for himself by printing impressive skeletal structures. Using information from CT scans, he created skeletal models that are incredibly accurate and useful for experimentation.

The future of 3D printing

The future holds a lot of promise for this still-new art medium. As technology develops, artists will have more and more freedom to explore new concept, ideas, and reach a whole new level of intricacy with their masterpieces.

Do you consider 3D printing a formal art tool, or even a medium in its own right? We want to know in the comments below.

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