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New work, news and Images from the shop. If you would like to know more about my art, please visit my full website @ www.chrisbathgate.com


RG355 and living with art(ists).

Sculpture RG355113224 (7"x2"x2")

Abstract, Metal, Sculpture, Digital, Fabrication, Machining, Machinist, Machine work, Industrial Design, CADCAM,

After completing last months successful sculptural experiment, which saw the reintroduction of white powder coating in my work, I felt that maybe it was time to try another technique involving the use of powder coating. One that I had only previously experimented with. 

Abstract, Metal, Sculpture, Digital, Fabrication, Machining, Machinist, Machine work, Industrial Design, CADCAM,

A few years back, I helped a friend prototype some parts for a commercial venture he was undertaking (for obvious reasons I cannot disclose what this is). during that process, I dabbled with using black powder coating and re-machining as a way to create an inlay look on machined parts.

It is a process most similar to the way I re-machine anodizing, but the powder has a very distinct look to it, and is only really workable on recesses of a certain size. Basically it behaves differently, so it did not seem like a redundant thing to try.

The original prototypes turned out quite well, but unfortunately my friends idea never fully panned out. So those experimental parts never saw the light of day. 

I often thought about that experiment, but for one reason or another, I never found the proper sculptural project to explore the black powder process further. Mostly I think this is because I have been so involved in using anodizing for various things. But these two little pieces were just the design I had been waiting for to try it out once again. 

CNC Art, Metal, Sculpture, Digital, Fabrication, Machining, Machinist, Machine work, Industrial Design, CADCAM, 3D Printing

These works feel a little more visually dense than what I usually make. Due to their small size and frequency of detail, they have a bit of an ornamental feel to them, hopefully without going too far...I think. 

Getting parts of this scale to fit well can be tricky when you have to tolerance for the relatively thick and unruly powder coating. When applied, the powders thickness can range anywhere from .001-.003 inches thick, this can change the diameter of a part by up to .006" (.152 mm for my metric friends). which is rather a lot when talking about machine work on this scale.

Despite these obstacles, everything turned out far better than I had hoped. These works are an interesting new development for sure. 

Abstract, Metal, Sculpture, Digital, Fabrication, Machining, Machinist, Machine work, Industrial Design, CADCAM,

The weight difference between the two is quite noticeable, naturally the brass work on the left has more heft than the Aluminum one. Anyhow, I hope you enjoy this months effort.

Abstract, Metal, Sculpture, Digital, Fabrication, Blueprint, Technical Drawing,Architecture, Industrial Design, CADCAM,

I felt it was about time for a nice vertical format drawing as well, very fitting for these works. 10" wide, 32" tall. 

Art and Design, Living with art, Shelfie, Interior Design,

Speaking of drawings, this month, I managed to get the prints made up for the last couple of pieces. With the help of my wife, we did some staging to take some great environment images of the works and prints together. She keeps a design blog for some of the renovations we have undertaken in our home over the years and has a much better eye for placing things in an actual space.

Whenever I am away from the studio for a couple of weeks, it is usually because the two of us are working on a big home renovation. Anyway, I am sure these images will look just as at home on her blog as they do here.

Art and Design, Living with art, Shelfie, Interior Design,

One interesting side effect of me being an exhibiting artist, is that the work we have around the house is always changing. Pieces we have on display will suddenly go off to be shown, or they will sell and we are suddenly left with a void to fill. Or, a bunch of works will suddenly return home from an exhibition that need multiple places to live for a while. 

And of course, new works are always popping up out of the shop so we are constantly rearranging things to display the art we have on hand in our living space. I suspect most people prefer their collections to be a little more stable, but It's always fun to try to keep up with it all.

Art and Design, Living with art, Shelfie, Interior Design,

 I hope you enjoy seeing the work in a different context for a change

As always, comments are welcome. 


MM615 complete

Sculpture MM615535332245                                                                     Dimensions: 9"x9"x10"
CNC Machining, Metal Art, Machine Art, Digital Fabrication, Industrial Design.

When writing or talking about one of my sculptures, it is quite unusual that I will point to a specific image or circumstance that was a dominant influences for that particular piece. Outside of the technical constraints that guide my thinking, I do not often find myself faced with a singular image or object that moves me to make a piece of my own. If I do, I am usually not inclined to share for fear of creating undue context. 

Direct appropriation or imitative modes are not something I actively pursue, but this months work has a unique context that I would like to share. It is a bit of a winding story, but bare with me.

CNC Machining, Metal Sculpture, Machine Art, Digital Fabrication, Industrial Design.

To preface, I have always been a very self-conscious maker; the well worn idea that art is primarily an outward expression, has always felt incomplete to me. This is because I personally see many parts of my work as an act of reflection, as a way to get to know my own mind and instincts a little better. Creating art for me has always been very inward looking, and to the same degree that a work might be an outward facing attempt to communicate, it is also a record of a mental state that can be studied.

When I find myself drawn to something, an object or work of art; I often find myself immediately questioning why that is the case. I find myself in a state of metacognition when ever I am inspired by something; watching myself, as much as I am watching the object of my interest. In short, I find myself frequently preoccupied with thoughts about what makes me tick, in the hopes that it will help me tick better in the future.

CNC Machining, CADCAM Art, Machine Art, Digital Fabrication, Industrial Design.

This goes a long way to explain why a geometrically quantifiable discipline such as machine work might seem so appealing to an artist like me. I have sometimes wondered if it might be used as a mechanism to try and tease out some basic metrics on my own taste. Even if it has yielded only mixed results, it remains a concept I revisit from time to time and is part of a larger search for tricks that might peel back the onion on my own mind.

In this particular instance, it seems to have been a random photo that yielded a useful piece of insight.

So here it is (above), the picture I have been leading up to. If I am not mistaken, it is an image of what remains of a Soviet experimental aircraft. I stumbled across this image some time ago and was captivated by it. I copied it to my desktop and just sort of looked at it off and on when I had time to sketch and think. 

Now, I am not particularly taken with aircraft design as a rule. From a formalistic perspective, I often find myself appreciating the intersecting compound curves in many aircraft designs, but I was not so sure that was the case here. I felt like this image was related to my work, but not in a formal way. It was more of a charisma thing, this old airplane was charming to me.

In time, this thought snow-balled into questions about how certain design motifs can arise in different design fields. How there is a "look" associated with any given category of objects, which includes air planes as a group. 

In some ways, what I am talking about is design convergence. When refrigerators first came on the market, they had wildly different looks and designs, but over time, those designs began to converge and now all refrigerators basically look the same, they have a "look", which is why we can say something looks like a fridge and everyone knows what we are talking about. This is true for cars, airplanes, vacuum cleaners,  and many other things. Each case of convergence tends to have a unique character that defines that objects persona.

Some of this is driven by necessity; as with aviation, aerodynamic properties drive much of the design work. Standardization also has a hand in it, and bringing down production cost can be a driver of convergence as well. 

But I also think some of it is cultural, driven not by physical constraints, but by the personalities of the people pursuing the technology. Motorcycle design comes to mind. Aside from two wheels and an engine, the sky is the limit for bikes, yet just a few dominant design motifs make up the vast majority of bikes on the road. The term "Classic Harley" is touted as an ideal and it is largely a result of the bike culture that grew up around that object. 

CNC Machining, Metal Art, Machine Art, Digital Fabrication, Industrial Design.

I may be oversimplifying this, but looking at the photo above got me thinking about this phenomenon of motifs. How creating a unique character for each of my works is something akin to what occurs in all manner of product design. With my work, each new piece has its own distinct "look", but the ideal is very similar.

It is no accident that all cars sort of look like angry faces flying down the road, and it is no accident that my sculpture work plays on that from time to time. And so with that in mind I sort of set about designing this piece. I wanted to give a nod to the character I felt the airplane image was projecting, while remaining true to what is essential in my own craft. 

 The usual influences are also there, but the image above played a big part in the final design of this work, and I thought it was an ideal window onto a part of my creative process that I usually find very difficult to articulate. 

CNC Machining, Metal Art, Machine Art, Digital Fabrication, CNC art.

 Technical Notes:  I employed some of the same "T slot" work I have been experimenting with lately. It was essential to solving this design and I am now using it much more elaborately. 

 I also brought back the use of the white powder coating you see as a finish for some of the parts. Many people have lamented over the years that I only used white powder with a single sculpture before abandoning it and moving on to other things. But it felt very appropriate here and so it has been unceremoniously returned to my pallet.

CNC Machining, Metal Art,CADCAM, Digital Fabrication, Blue Print  Design, Schematics

I am very pleased with the drawing as well, the composition just made good sense given the subject and I can't wait to get my hands on the physical print of this one. 

Unfortunately the image is so big (40"x36") that viewing them on the web does not do it justice. I design them to be interesting at multiple distances but at this scale you only really get the one. I hope all of you will get to chance to see them in person one day.

Build pics: Ok, I this image was a very early facing operation that illustrates very little, but I thought the reflection of the cutter as it was turning was just a nice image so I am indulging.

Cutting in the T slots on the body was a nail biter. There was very little distance between the ribbed elements on the body and where the T slots cut through the body, so if I was misaligned that would have been it for the piece. Fortunately, this part turned out near perfect. 

Another view of the T slots to show how they converged at the tail end. Again, making sure everything cleared was a critical design challenge this time. 

The powder coated parts fresh out of the oven. Looking at these, I don't know why I ever moved away from using this as a finish, but I am sure you will se more of it soon. 

As always, comments welcome.