In the West Village, one of the oldest parts of New York City, you can find a strange little shop called Carmine Street Comics. Not only do they sell the comic books that you would expect them to based on the shop’s name, but they also have an open art studio situated at the front of the store. Every day a new artist sets up residence in the front window of the shop, and customers can ask questions, commission a sketch, buy prints or just watch them work. And if that wasn’t strange enough, Carmine Street Comics also host weekly open mic nights for local stand up comedians. So it is legitimately possible to spend an entire day at the shop, buying your weekly haul in the morning, learning some new tricks with an art brush in the afternoon and laughing at Paste Pot Pete jokes at night.
Their latest unorthodox venture is one that is bringing a whole new dimension to comic book art thanks to 3D printing technology. Carmine Street Comics owner Jon Gorga has teamed up with 3D Printing for Everyone (3DP4E), a group we’ve covered, on a new project that offers 3D modeling and 3D printing services to the store’s local comic book artist community. The project is called 3DArtGeeks, and the artists who work with them can turn their two-dimensional drawings into full-color 3D printed statues that their fans, and the comic store’s customers, can purchase. The artist gains not only exposure–and as any up and coming comic artist will tell you, that is always welcome–but also a bit of sorely needed money.
“In keeping with our goal to support comics artists and creators of all kinds, we’re proud to partner with 3DP4E to bring yet another artistic tool to the writers and artists who use our open studio space,” said the owner of Carmine Street Comics Jon Gorga.
3DArtGeeks uses the same technology that has allowed many a proud parent to turn their children’s drawings into 3D printed collectibles over on KidsCreationStation.com, a site launched back in November that we’ve been following. Digital artists take a 2D drawing and using a CAD program turn it into a 3D model, which is then sent to be printed in a full-color sandstone material. Once the 3D model has been sliced into layers, it is sent to be 3D printed.
The printing process starts when a robotic arm spreads a fine layer of gypsum powder onto the printer’s build platform. A mechanism similar to an inkjet printer prints the first layer of the model using colored inks that have been mixed with a binding agent onto the layer of powder. This is repeated layer by layer until the entire three-dimensional piece of art is completed. The finished statue is simply removed from the printing bed, any excess material blown off with compressed air. Then it’s finished by applying a coat of a material not unlike super glue that makes the colors more vibrant and adds durability to the statue.
“Through our partnership with Carmine Street Comics, and our new website 3DArtGeeks, we are working with artists to create a marketplace for 3D printed works of their art. While this is a new endeavor for 3DP4E, it is something that we have a great deal of experience in. We have worked with artists before in developing an exhibit for The Children’s Museum of the Arts, and an exhibit for F.I.T. (Fashion Institute of Technology). Also, through KidsCreationStation, we have created hundreds of 3D printed sculptures from children’s art,” explained 3DP4E CEO Ron Rose.
Not only are the artists 3D printed statues available to view online at 3DArtGeeks, but Carmine Street Comics regularly displays some of them inside of the shop for everyone to see. So the comic shop with an art studio and a stand up comedy stage is also an art gallery. Currently the website isn’t letting just anyone turn their art into 3D printed statues, but they are looking to bring new artists in on a case by case basis. You can stop in the store and talk to Gorga about being featured, or you can email him at info@3DArtGeeks.com.
Discuss this story in the 3D Printed Comic Book Art Forum thread on 3DPB.com.