Most artists have one thing in common: the need to be different, and to offer up incredible uniqueness to the world in a wide range of forms for all to enjoy, whether we are those who appreciate art, make art, teach art, or buy and sell it as an investment. When it comes to creating provocative new pieces that fill us with awe, curiosity, and inspiration, artists today often enjoy reaching into their contemporary new toolboxes where they find the means to explore new dimensions and fill the senses of their audience.
With the advent of digital design, 3D scanning, and 3D printing, today’s artists and photographers are quite busy experimenting and coming up with new designs. Photographer Nick Knight is a great example, as he translates what his camera sees into 3D print. And with subjects like Kate Moss and Naomi Campbell on the other end of the cameras and 3D scanners, the results are bound to display inspired excellence–and get a lot of attention!
Referring to his new medium, Knight explains:
“The reason I call it photographic sculpture is that when I scan my model, I use exactly the same approach I do as when I photograph someone. The same directing, the same searching for shape and form, the same desire to portray their emotion, but I don’t end up with a two dimensional photograph, but an object.”
“It is retouched in just the same way one would a photographic image, in Photoshop,” states Knight.
He points out that the magic in his photographic sculpture is that he is using his same experience and skills in photography as always, yet bringing a physical object to fruition through 3D scanning and 3D printing. Enjoying the power of meshing this technology with art, Knight likes to make sculptures of strong women, to include other models and subjects like Liberty Ross, Daphne Guinness, and Lady Gaga. He sees them as “important women, strong women and women who shape our visual culture.”
‘Statuesque,’ depicts Naomi Campbell, who is undeniably a strong woman who has had her share of time in the news. While thankfully no phones are being thrown, she is certainly not portrayed as any shrinking violet here either, 3D printed in naked triplicate—and a stunning 25 feet tall.
Knight also allowed the massive sculpture to become somewhat of a public conversation, although he did have some initial reservations about what people might say. He displayed an online version on his website and invited people viewing from around the world to draw or write on the sculpture—offering graffiti, in essence—which was then actually projected into the real gallery which was darkened, at Somerset House in London for the SHOWstudio: Fashion Revolution exhibition.
“The sculpture was on display for 4 months and despite my great fear to begin with that it would be daubed with vile racist graffiti, not one racist comment was written.”
“This alone lifted my heart and spirits,” said Knight. “There were a fair few penises, but conversely a lot of people wrote long well thought through statements and a lot of people just used her as a canvas to color in and create beauty. A bit like a 3 dimensional coloring book.”
The statue was 3D printed from white polystyrene so that it could be projected on, and people in the gallery were able to write or draw on it as well, with numerous love notes, ‘art critiques,’ and slogans.
His next work depicts a topless Kate Moss in repose as a gorgeous and fallen angel. Knight comments that he doesn’t understand why Moss receives so much criticism from the public for basically being a normal human being. He 3D scanned her and then, desiring to have her ‘angelic’ posture depicted in porcelain, he worked with “the finest porcelain makers in the world, Nyphenburg in Germany.”
“I scanned Kate naked other than I cloth wrapped around her hips and with her arms stretched out in a classical religious pose,” said Knight. “I then scanned the outstretched wings of a dove and positioned them on Kate’s shoulders, immediately transforming her into an angel.”
“This was sculpture using the language of fashion photography.”
Not content to sit back and admire his amazing sculptures, Knight has been inspired by the medical trends in bioprinting and would like to carry that over into his world, sculpting in live matter. He contends that the possibilities are there–after all, if doctors and researchers can do it in labs, why can’t artists do the same from their studios?
Knight indeed sees unlimited potential with many materials and subject matter, and is astute in his recognition that his photographic sculptures are just one fantastic example of the gigantic wave of new art forms about to land in galleries around the world.
“Our future art will be rich and and as inspiring as anything else we have ever created. I say that with certainty as I have a deep trust in the inventiveness of the human mind. Photographic sculpture is the beginning of a totally new age in art when all the traditional boundaries between the arts crumble and vanish,” says Knight. “And that thrills me!”
Tell us your thoughts on Knight’s exhibits in the 3D Printed Supermodels forum over at 3DPB.com.