Portrait Sculptures Created with 3D Printing

The Ponoko blog features an interview with Chicago-based digital artist Sophie Kahn who has been experimenting with full-color 3D printing to create portrait sculptures that look like unearthed ancient artifacts.

According to the post, Sophie originally perceived 3D scanning and 3D printing as post-photographic processes. Now she is incorporating 3D printing into the creation stages of her work. For example, she has experimented with using a 3D printer to output a model from a 3D laser scan and photograph of a live model. The 3D model is sandblasted and sanded to create the look Kahn wants.

“Laura RGB” by Sophie Kahn, www.sophiekahn.net

“What fascinates me about 3D scanning is the way it reveals the incompleteness of our own vision. Many of the holes and gaps in my sculptures are due to occlusion: the parts of the face that are hidden from view at any one time,” explains Kahn.  “My sculptures can look complete from one angle and very incomplete from another. I’m also interested in the art-historical resonances in technology, like the fact that 3D scans can look like fragmented classical sculptures, or plaster death masks, for example. I’m trying to make a connection between the digital and the handmade object.”

The work shown here, entitled “Laura RGB” was featured in the “Improbable Objects” exhibition of works by artists who are who using 3D scanning and printing technologies as part of their processes. The exhibition was held in April at the What It Is gallery in Chicago.

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Ponoko Blog Post: Portrait Sculpture, an Artistic Tradition Carried on with 3D Printing

Artist Sophie Kahn

Sophie Kahn’s Process

Improbable Objects at What It Is gallery

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