Here’s Looking at You: Grotesque Faces in Off the Wall 3D Printed Art

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Although this work of art was not created for Halloween, its timing works perfectly as the public mood is more than primed to accept all that is monstrous. Sculptor Dennis Harroun, a digital sculptor and painter, has created a piece called “Off the Wall” that is, well, exactly as described in all senses of that phrase.

MakingOf_OffTheWall_ConceptHarroun began with a pencil and marker sketch of a series of grotesquely entertaining faces in serious need of some good old fashioned dentistry but immediately recognized their need to come forward, off the page (and therefore, of course, off the wall). He began by creating a mesh that he could continue to sculpt and refine as well as creating the UVs (the names for the axes for the mesh used in 3D modeling, not a reference to ultraviolet radiation). Harroun then used a Boolean Trick to save on materials and money.

MakingOf_OffTheWall__OffloadProcessWhen he was ready to bring the model out of the computer and into the world, he decided to mount it on a polished wood frame with the title and artist’s signature printed in brass. He worked closely with Offload Studio for the actual 3D printing of the piece. Harroun described the working relationship with Offload Studio:

“I uploaded the model and texture files to Offload Studios. With many years of experience and their Jedi print skills they are able to capture every detail that I can put into a sculpture. I always enjoy the close collaboration they offer me as an artist.”

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Dennis Harroun with his completed sculpture

The printing of the sculpture in 3D was not the end of the work required to bring Harroun’s vision to life. He next relied on traditional tools and techniques to add the details to the printed work. The first step was to sand the entire piece, being careful not to remove too much of the colored surface. After sanding, some of the original brightness of the color had been subdued, so Harroun airbrushed the piece with multiple clear coats in order to bring it back in line with the colors he had conjured in his mind. Finally, before preparing to mount the piece, Harroun added a two part clear, high-gloss epoxy to specific areas that needed a bit more sheen, such as the eyes and the mouths of the faces.

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“Off the Wall” by Dennis Harroun

Attaching the print to the base was a nerve-wracking process that required great care in order to not damage the piece and the final touch was added with the brass signature and title plates that were printed through Shapeways.

The faces give any of the old-fashioned Gothic grotesques a good run for their money and I wonder what all of those old churches and cathedrals would look like if their builders had had access to technology like 3D printing and the creative vision of artists like Dennis Harroun. Discuss Harroun’s work in the 3D Printed Art forum thread on 3DPB.com

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