3dp_nickle_3DP4E_LogoIllustrator John Nickle has been making a living as an artist for newspapers, magazines, novel covers and children’s books for over 25 years now. His body of work is as diverse as it gets, ranging from serious journalism to humorous commentary and criticism. His art can easily shift from surreal to childlike and over to dark and moody depending on the subject matter, and sometimes even a mix of all three. His work graces the covers of hard boiled crime novels and absurd and silly children’s books alike, and while all of his art is distinctly his, it never feels out of place or like it doesn’t belong.

3dp_nickle_antbullyThus far he has had quite the career, and he has the resume and awards to prove it. Over the span of his career he’s counted just about every major book publisher as a client at one point or the other, from Random House to Harlequin. Newspapers and magazines like the New York Times to Sports Illustrated regularly call on him for his art services. And his award winning children’s book The Ant Bully, a story about a young bullied boy who is shrunken down to the size of ants after he takes his frustrations out on their colony, was turned into an animated film in 2006.

And now, after all his years as a working artist, Nickle is now bringing his artwork into an entirely new dimension. Specifically the third one, thanks to 3D Printing 4 Everyone (3DP4E) and their new 3D printing service 3DArtGeeks.com. The new website works with artists of all kinds to turn their two-dimensional artwork into three-dimensional statues. Nickle worked closely with the 3DArtGeeks team and turned three of his most intriguing pieces of art into cool 3D printed sculptures that his fans can purchase and display.

The cover that Nickle created for the gritty 1988 crime novel The Problem of Virtue is moody and creepy with its overhead image of a woman with her head stuck in an oven. Her lifeless body is contrasted by the black-and-white checkered floor and is grisly, unsettling and visually striking all at the same time. The original artwork was created using colored pencils rather than paints, giving the art a texture that makes the empty kitchen feel like it has been lived in for years. The 3D print almost exactly recreates the look and feel of the cover, so much so that it’s hard to tell them apart.

Slightly less unsettling is this piece that he created for an editorial in the New York Times in 1998 for an article about supporting local libraries. The piece is called “Book Lover” for obvious reasons, and we all have someone in our life for whom this artwork will resonate. Conveniently, the 3D printed version of “Book Lover” would make a great bookend.

Then there is the wonderfully weird, odd and just plane silly “Chicken in a Frog Costume” painting. The art is from a popular children’s book called Things That Are Most In The World. The book introduces its readers to some pretty hilarious and random surrealism by attempting to answer questions that logically should have no answer. For instance, What is the jumpiest thing in the world? “Two thousand two hundred twenty-two toads on a trampoline.”

So, why is there a chicken in a frog suit? You’re just going to have to read the book to find out. But even if you never get the answer, why the heck wouldn’t you want a chicken in a frog suit statue sitting on your shelf?

“It is exciting to work with art that is so rich in color and so wonderfully expressive. I am excited to continue our work with artists of John’s talent to create a new dimension of their art,” said 3DP4E CEO Ron Rose.

All of the 3D reproductions of Nickle’s artwork were 3D printed on a 3D Systems ProJet 660 using a full color sandstone material and sealed with a durable wax coating. If you want to pick up your own 3D version of Nickle’s art, then head on over to 3DArtGeeks.com and check them out. While you’re there you can also browse through all of the other great pieces of 2D artwork that they have converted into 3D statues. And don’t forget to check out a huge archive of some of the best John Nickle artwork over on his website.

What are your thoughts on this incredible 3D printed artwork?  Let us know in the John Nickle forum thread on 3DPB.com.

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