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SME Rapid Conference Hosts 3D Printing Art Gallery
5/10/2013

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Promotional image for the Rapid Conference and Exposition. (Source: Rapid)
Promotional image for the Rapid Conference and Exposition.
(Source: Rapid)

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Rob Spiegel
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A new twist on 3D printing
Rob Spiegel   5/10/2013 11:39:23 AM
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I've been thinking of 3D printing in terms of product prototype or a way to create out-of-service replacement parts. Hadn't thought of art until I saw the post on the 3D pen that ran yesterday:

http://www.designnews.com/author.asp?section_id=1386&doc_id=263115&itc=dn_analysis_element&

Now we have a 3D art gallery at a conference.

It will be fun watching what happens with this new technology.

Ann R. Thryft
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Re: A new twist on 3D printing
Ann R. Thryft   5/10/2013 2:24:02 PM
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Thanks Cabe, this looks like fun. Glad the SME has discovered the intersection of art and 3D design and printing.

Cabe Atwell
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Re: A new twist on 3D printing
Cabe Atwell   5/10/2013 3:46:45 PM
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Not to start a crazy debate, but... what is art? The true definition.

Are these 3D printed objects art? Or are they just utilitarian? Do the objects evoke an emotion?

On that note, is everyone an artist when they print something?

C

Rob Spiegel
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Re: A new twist on 3D printing
Rob Spiegel   5/13/2013 12:36:01 PM
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Yep, that's a crazy debate, Cabe. Not all art is necessarily emotional. Some art delivers an intellectual charge rather than an emotional one. Some art is apparently ugly. Andy Warhol's art was borrowed from everyday life. All that said, virtually any tool can be used to create art. Why not a 3D printer?

Cabe Atwell
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Re: A new twist on 3D printing
Cabe Atwell   5/17/2013 3:48:16 PM
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Rob,

Warhol had a point with the Cambell soup painting. Everything is the same, rehashed. It meant more than just what it depicted. It was not just a clever way to make something. Or a work of technique.

I suppose 3D printing is just another tool for expression. But is the art produced important or just novelty?

C

Rob Spiegel
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Re: A new twist on 3D printing
Rob Spiegel   6/4/2013 5:20:10 PM
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 I agree, Cabe, that 3D products are not intrinsically  art. Someone will create legitimate art with a 3D printer, but I'm not sure that has happened yet.

Cabe Atwell
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Re: A new twist on 3D printing
Cabe Atwell   6/10/2013 7:29:02 PM
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Message towing and political artists like Banksy take pop-culture images and turn them into a message. I saw one artist take a picture of "David" and have him wear pants, a hat, holding a soda, etc.

Flash forward, a new artist makes a life size 3D model of the same image....ART!

It's going to happen.

C

Charles Murray
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Re: A new twist on 3D printing
Charles Murray   5/13/2013 7:55:17 PM
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I know we've previously seen the image in the third slide, but I can't remember what it is. In answer to your question, Cabe: Yes, it does evoke an emotion in me. The emotion is fear. I don't know what that is, but it scares me.

Ralphy Boy
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Re: A new twist on 3D printing
Ralphy Boy   5/13/2013 9:04:55 PM
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Hey Cabe...

That question comes up everytime there is a new media to play with I'll bet.  

I just downloaded the 3D fractal creation program MandelBulb. It has a fairly steep learning curve so I went to a forum for some tutorials, and the same question 'is this art?' was being discussed on one of the threads.

It seems to me that in all these new computer aided media types that the output will be art, or not be art... on a piece by piece basis. Kind of like cars; some of them are beautiful to look at and that alone is reason enough to want to see them; they border on being art.

Some fractal output is totally mundane and because there is no real use for them, they are pretty much worthless. Some are amazing to look at and explore... that is their value... and so they can be considered art in my book.

It is possible to save 3D fractals as .obj files, which I assume can then be 3D printed. Some of the space/futuristic stuff may have commercial value as toys or in movies as miniatures. I guess that may be the rub... None of these pieces will necessarily stay singularly unique, though that alone should not be reason to declare something non-art.

So far (since downloading last Friday) the most uniquely cool fractal I've made with the MB software is a gold colored lace jack-o-lantern which looks vaguely like image #4 in the slide show... I may have to see about getting that one 3D printed... $$$

In short... A pencil in the correct hands can make amazing art, while in others it may only produce worthless scribbles.

Cabe Atwell
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Re: A new twist on 3D printing
Cabe Atwell   5/17/2013 3:53:28 PM
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Apresher,

I believe we can come to some definition of art... we're smart people...

Ralphy,

Artists, even someone like Picasso, will make limited number of prints. But that limitation is part of its uniqueness. Art as a business need that. If the Picasso piece could be printed infinitely, would it be art or just a commodity?

Even worthless scribbles can be called art. Why else do we save our children's drawings and scribbles?

C

Ralphy Boy
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Re: A new twist on 3D printing
Ralphy Boy   5/17/2013 10:13:44 PM
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Cabe...

"I have seen worthless scribbles be called art. Why else do we save our children's drawings and scribbles?"

For a second I thought that maybe you had been to the museum here in Philly... There's this one room... Let's just say I expected to be escorted out for laughing... but perhaps that is the appropriate response.

Ann R. Thryft
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Re: A new twist on 3D printing
Ann R. Thryft   5/28/2013 11:41:38 AM
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If the "worthless scribbles" you've seen called art were made by Jackson Pollock or Picasso, then some people would disagree with you about whether they are art. I don't personally like Pollock's work, but I do like Picasso. But that's only my personal opinion.



Cabe Atwell
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Re: A new twist on 3D printing
Cabe Atwell   5/29/2013 11:53:12 PM
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Art is so subjective. I suppose that if a person believe it to be art, to them, it is indeed art from their perspective. 3D printing as a new medium to dabble in could lead to some astonishing work.

Imagine Michelangelo with a 3D printer. As a side note, I think old Michy had a 3D printer of sort, his students. He would knock the big chunks off of a sculpture, and the students would go through and clean it up. Automation, in a sense.

C

Ann R. Thryft
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Re: A new twist on 3D printing
Ann R. Thryft   5/30/2013 1:00:23 PM
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What an interesting idea--if Michelangelo or, for that matter, other great artists, had 3D printers. I agree, art is often highly subjective.

Ann R. Thryft
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Re: A new twist on 3D printing
Ann R. Thryft   5/15/2013 12:45:14 PM
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My definition of art is about the same as Elizabeth's. And no, I would not say that everyone who 3D prints something is an artist, since I don't think that every object created with 3D printing is art. Utilitarian objects made with attractive industrial design doesn't make them works of art. To me, the first two images and the fourth one are not, but the third one--that titanium implant--definitely is.

bobjengr
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Re: A new twist on 3D printing
bobjengr   5/16/2013 5:39:05 PM
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Ann, I agree completely.  I think SME is providing a great service in recognizing that art and technology can complement each other and the medium for that expression certainly can be additive manufacturing.   Very unique use of the technology.  

Elizabeth M
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Re: A new twist on 3D printing
Elizabeth M   5/13/2013 7:17:56 AM
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This is great, I love to see the merging of art and technology. But as you say, Cabe, what is art? I would say it is the free expression of creativity and the creation of something new (at its most basic level) in whatever form that takes, so I would argue you can have a very loose interpretation of what it means. That said, there is "good art" and "bad art." But that is a whole other debate that I'm pretty sure this isn't the appropriate place for it!

Rob Spiegel
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Re: A new twist on 3D printing
Rob Spiegel   5/13/2013 3:39:41 PM
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I agree, Elizabeth. Technology and art meet often. During the dot com boom, I often thought many of the businesses getting launched were works of real imagination. While many of them couldn't rationalize their business model on a monetary level, it didn't really matter. Many of these businesses were designed just to get through an IPO -- and many did.

Elizabeth M
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Re: A new twist on 3D printing
Elizabeth M   5/14/2013 7:04:18 AM
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Indeed, it certainly took a lot of creativity at that time to convince people to fund your business on pure ideas alone, didn't it? ;) Which, sadly, is why the boom ultimately went bust. But I agree, in the technical world, there is technology that works, and then there is technology that really shines, and the latter usually is fueled not only by techinal knowhow, but also a bit of creative genius. Think Microsoft (technically sound, mostly, but ony average in terms of creative design) vs. Apple (technically sound and beautifully designed, user-friendly products).

Charles Murray
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Re: A new twist on 3D printing
Charles Murray   5/14/2013 7:33:41 PM
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That's an apt comparison of Apple and Microsoft, Liz. And it's one of the big reasons Apple has developed such a devoted following.  

Rob Spiegel
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Re: A new twist on 3D printing
Rob Spiegel   5/14/2013 8:42:04 PM
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Good points, Elizabeth. Interestingly, both Microsoft and Apple made their mark by using technology developed by other companies. It came down to execution and marketing.

Cabe Atwell
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Re: A new twist on 3D printing
Cabe Atwell   5/17/2013 3:57:16 PM
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Elizabeth,

I would have to say, for the time being, Apple's phone case design is simply utilitarian. What else does it mean? It can be appreciated, but not contemplated at a museum. At least, not yet. Over time, perhaps there is more.

A classic car is a "work of art." But it started out just being a car.

C

apresher
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3D Printing as Art
apresher   5/13/2013 3:15:44 PM
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Cabe, You're an optimist to believe we can get a meaningful definition of art on the Design News website.  But there's not doubt that the link between 3D computer tools and art is a powerful combination. If a person can think of an idea and execute its creation using software tools, 3D printing definitely offers a unique ability to produce the 3D object whether it finally qualifies as art of not. But ultimately I guess beauty is in the eye of the beholder.

Elizabeth M
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Re: 3D Printing as Art
Elizabeth M   5/14/2013 6:58:32 AM
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Well, Al, I think our readers are quite informed and might actually have some good opinions on what they think art is! ;) Given the intersection of technology and art, even the most technically minded person can still be creative. In fact, I have a friend who teaches both art and computer science at a local school, proving both sides of the brain can be engaged at the same time.

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