3D Printed Stones Draw Comparison Between Life and Computer Generated Form

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The work of other creative talents is often a great source of inspiration for the practicing artist. One way in which that inspiration can manifest itself is through the homage to an artist rendered in an alternative medium. In this case, an Italian designer, Giuseppe Randazzo, paid tribute to an artist whose work moved him by moving his motifs to a digital format.

"Small White Pebble Circles" by Richard Long, 1967

“Small White Pebble Circles” by Richard Long, 1967

Richard Long is an English sculptor whose work is rendered in stones positioned in landscapes. Long was born, raised, educated, and refined in Bristol, UK. His work has been shown from Tokyo to Paris to New York to Sydney. Long has travelled the world placing rocks as he walks through settings in Malawi, Canada, the Andes and an astounding number of other destinations. His work rose to prominence in the 1970s but his first acclaimed contribution to the art world was made in 1967 with a piece entitled “A Line Made by Walking” in which he walked back and forth in a straight line through a grassy field and then photographed the impression his passage had made and printed it in black and white.

Other examples of his work are reminiscent of the crop circles occasionally making their appearance in some Midwestern farmer’s fields, such as “Small White Pebble Circles.” The walks that lead to the placement of the stones sometimes follow a predetermined path and at other times are the result of a simple ramble through the landscape.

stone-7Randazzo, an admirer of his work created his own stone landscape art entitled “Stone Fields” back in 2009. The pebbles created a carefully conceived series of concentric circles just irregular enough to give the illusion of a monumental scale. When images of the work were released on the web people were often disappointed to find out that what they were admiring was not an image of cleverly positioned rocks on a terrestrial plain but rather the transformation of a programmers input into visuals.

As 3D printing technologies have continued to become more refined, Radazzo was able to bring his expert C++ programming skills into the physical world by printing his digital model. He worked with the company Shapeways to make the transition to 3D:stone-4

“Starting from 2009 project Stone Fields, some 3D models were produced from the original meshes. The conversion was rather difficult, the initial models weren’t created with 3D printing in mind. The handling of millions of triangles and the check for errors required a complex process. Each model is 25cm x 25cm wide and was produced by Shapeways in polyamide (white, strong & flexible). Subsequently, they were painted with airbrush…the minute details of the original meshes were too tiny by far to be printed, however despite the small scale, these prototypes give an idea of the complexity of the gradients of artificial stones.”

It is interesting to think about what value there is in monumental art that is reproduced from the comfort of a chair, even though the skill that is required to do so is great. What would Christo’s work be if instead of wrapping an island or swathing the perimeter of central park, he had done so in a miniature form using digital technology? The key is to remember that there is a tribute being paid here rather than an attempt to defraud the viewer, and that it reminds us of the artless way in which nature continues to be wildly more complex than anything that our most powerful technology can begin to replicate.  Let us know your thoughts on this incredible form of art in the 3D printed stone art forum thread on 3DPB.com.  Check out the video below and further images below:

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[Images: Novastructura.net]

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