Eric van Straaten
3-D Printed Sculptures
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Although my tastes are a bit old fashioned, I am a child of my time, so content wise I am inspired by let’s say pop-culture in general, and I think the youth culture in Japan nowadays, the USA from the seventies and Europe from the eighties/nineties provide the most powerful imagery. Needless to say that ‘Lolita’, first conceived by Vladimir Nabokov but now an iconic figure, is important in my work.
Technically I am inspired by the ‘struggle’ to achieve a ‘perfect’ result with limited means. Although working in the digital domain seems to provide you with unlimited means, 3D-printing at this level is a big technical challenge and I like to think of ‘workarounds’ without becoming too much code-minded and more by combining user-friendly combinations of different kinds of software. This feels more like an artistic voyage than a technical one.
About four years ago, I was trying to make a commercial so-called ‘BJD’ (a Ball Joint Doll, these are very popular with collectors in Japan) by making a prototype in wax and casting a series in resin. Because of a combination of insufficient training, lack of skills and perfectionism, this was becoming an ordeal and at that time my partner in love and work Jennifer Hoes, received an invitation to participate in a subsidized workshop at the technology institute TNO in Eindhoven. She suggested that I could participate also and try to make the doll in Rapid Prototyping.
Within about three months I was able to make a printable and working prototype (about four more would follow, see here for an example) which was displayed at Dutch Design Week in 2009. I also discovered that commerce wasn’t really the thing for me, but had the idea that the technique maybe was the answer to the problems I was having by working by hand in visualizing my artistic ambitions. After some experiments in monochrome materials, I discovered with help of i.materialise the way to directly print in color.