Sometimes it happens that life delivers inspiration at exactly the right time without me even actively looking. I really like when this happens, since it feels like someone switched on a light bulb in my brain and the jungle of ideas in my head that could make up a new project suddenly magically unsnarls.
Today this Aha-Moment was given to me by Janne Kyttanen who decided to follow me on Twitter. I had never heard of him and I looked him up… and I was stunned. He is a designer, based in the Netherlands, who is very much interested in 3D printing. He started to investigate and work with this technology since the mid 90’s and his portfolio is very impressive. From his designs, over to founding his own business ‘3D Systems‘ to collaborations with shoe-designers, interior architects, jewellery artists (like Ted Noten) etc. Janne really likes to dip into multiple design disciplines. A fact that I find highly refreshing and inspirational.
There are quite a few things that kept my mind busy lately. One thing that I have been thinking about for quite a while is that I would like to have my artistic work run in a new direction again and 3D printing is one technique that fascinates me. Back when I was still living in Shanghai, I purchased a 3D printer from Makible, a start-up company based in Hong Kong that offers a very price-tag friendly 3D printer, the MakiBox. At the time when I purchased the printer, I was not aware that they were just starting of (completely my misunderstanding) and that it would take some time for the product to be finished, so I could not yet try to work with a 3D printer. But some things are worth the wait and now, almost two years later, it seems like my MakiBox is finally in the post and I should receive it any time now. I so cannot wait!
Another thing is that recently I feel the urge to explore other art and design fields. For the last ten years I have mainly been working in jewellery and as of lately I feel like the small scale almost seems to ‘suffocate’ me from now and then. In order to get my mind free, I find it helps to work big sometimes or do something completely unrelated. (This is also one reason why I decided not to go to see the Schmuck 2014 exhibition in Munich this time.) Right now, I would love to indulge in making chandeliers and lamps and I would like to dive into sculptural art.
But to get back to 3D printing… As mentioned before, I am fascinated by the technique but I find it very controversy at the same time. A lot of artists have dipped into the field already, like jeweler Arthur Hash or the design team from Nervous System and I admire their work a lot. But for me, I love making things by hand, it forms an essential part of my designing process. Using a technology that is solely based on a machine fabricating an idea might not be enough for my bench-experience and it also raises a lot of questions as to how the making process in art and craft should and can look like. Does the artificial making process ‘water down’ the quality of work, since a 3D printer might soon be a house-hold stable in every home for everyone to use? Will art soon be something that every person can do by the mouse-click? Can suddenly everyone be an artist? Or will in the end the artistic mind take over and even in such an easy, approachable technology, the creative idea will determine the quality and level of the work? I assume the latter will be the case. In order to create objects, one needs to have a mind that can think accordingly but the question of whether art should actually be made by the artist and not necessarily a machine will remain. Also, is the sole idea of a piece of work enough? Individuality might get lost in the machine-making process, uniformity might take over. But then again, this can also be a very interesting approach to a body of work.
In fact, this approach is one point that I am quite interested in at the moment. I have a few ideas turning around the symbiosis of hand-made and 3D printed structures. I think that combining two different forms of making, in their process and the choice of material, will add a very interesting contrast to my future pieces. Another thing that I will add is a new topic that the work will turn around. In the spirit of contrast, that has always been a major motivator in my work, I have recently looked into the relationship of nature and humans again. This is an issue that has always been in the back of my mind. (Have a look at my ‘Booming Blooming‘ and ‘Globalores‘ series.) In my opinion, the modern human primarily takes from nature and does not give much back. There are major man-made natural catastrophes happening all around the globe, gene-manipulation in plants and animals becomes bigger and bigger etc. … and all in the name of consumerism without people thinking about the consequences. What will happen if humans ‘win’ and nature is gone at some point? Will we have to fabricate nature too? Will nature be a reminiscent of the past with all those new technologies ‘improving’ the natural ways of being?
I will see where this path will lead me. It might take a while before I can show some actual finished pieces. Since I have never 3D printed anything before, I am not familiar with any 3D modeling programs. I am good in Illustrator but learning 3D will be a new task that might take a while. If anyone knows of any good, easy-to-learn and free 3D programs, please let me know! I appreciate all the help I can get.
But for now, thank you Janne Kyttanen for following me on Twitter this morning!
I apologize for the length of this post… I hope you made it this far! Until next time…
Thank you for reading!