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LP 553

Machine Art, Machined Metal Sculpture, CNC machining

My April started out with a bit of confusion as to what exactly I would turn to making next. I have many drawings going, none particularly finished, and I had originally planned to parlay my previous experiment with T slot compositions into a larger more intricate piece. However, my plans for that were quashed when all of my designs failed to come together in a manner I was fully comfortable with. 

Machine Art, Industrial Art, CAD Art, Metal Sculpture, Digital Fabrication

But when complexity fails me and I start to feel a little stuck, I often return to "simple but elegant". It usually wins the day for me and was certainly the case this month when these three little sketches came tumbling out of my grey matter. 


Digital Schematics update

CAD, Industrial design, Schematic, Blueprint Drawing, technical Drawing

Not too long ago, I did a really fun interview with make magazine. In the article, I got to talk about my sculpture work, my experiments with 3D printing, and other digital aspects of my practice. I was also invited to give a little background on my blueprint drawings. From that experience, and because I have been preparing for an upcoming exhibition, I have found myself doing some additional writing on the topic of the schematics I produce. I have been reassessing their evolution over the years; how they have come from crude hand drafted pencil sketches to become highly refined pieces of digital draftsmanship. I have been thinking about my early approach to them, what they have represented to me along the way, and most importantly what purpose they now serve.

Schematic, Blueprint Drawing, Digital Drawing, technical Drawing,CAD, CAM,

To start, I think it is obvious that drawings of some nature are necessary to flesh out my sculptural designs. To be successful at the highly technical process of machining metal, a large portion of the work must be extremely well planned. At a minimum, I must make drawings in some form in order to make my primary sculpture work. But as has been established, I have felt compelled from the very beginning to do more with them. My first layout for a machined sculpture was actually composed as an almost abstract geometric drawing.

Digital Fabrication, Schematic, CNC Art, CAD Art, CAD/CAM

When I was first getting into this kind of work, my instincts immediately led me away from treating my drafts as objects of mere utility. I was never comfortable with the idea of divorcing them from the conversation that I felt the finished work would go on to present. I always found myself wondering, if the sculptures were supposed to be the primary focus, then why was I giving so much attention to drafting detailed renderings of my work? I would spend hours meticulously laying out the lines on sketches which were never intended to be seen by anyone but me? I always had the nagging question in my head "If a sloppy unorganized drawing would suffice, why go further?" 
(See working sketch image below.)



Machine Art, Machined Metal Sculpture

Introducing my newest machined metal sculpture, (#102 since we are now keeping count)

Its proper title is V424213333. 

Machine Art, Machined Metal Sculpture

 This newest work stands approximately 14" tall by 7"Diameter. It is my first major experiment using grey anodizing (I did do a small study first). I was pleased to see just how much the grey works to bring up the other colors in the work, more than I had expected it to.

This work is also made entirely out of aluminum (mostly Anodized) which is also a little uncommon, as I usually rely on different metals for my variety of colors.

Machine Art, Machined Metal Sculpture

The first conception of this work was actually as a hanging piece. I had done a hand full of sketches around the idea of using different process concepts, but applying them all to the same standardized shape. this design element was the only one that really stuck with me out of the whole bunch, but below is one of the sketches I worked from. (you can see a few more examples of some of the other ideas I was playing with).

 For this particular piece, I was thinking about ways to incorporate T slot grooving into a design, and to see what complexity would emerge from that relatively simple requirement. The others were also based off of unique design requirements of their own, but none of them were as promising in my eyes. 

Machine Art, Machined Metal Sculpture
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As is always the case, an idea tends to get flipped around and reimagined as it progresses. The vessel shape eventually came off the wall, and was turned on its head and fleshed out from there. 

The personality the piece took on once I had worked out the lower half really grabbed me. To my mind, the design alludes to a number of popular visual references (which I will abstain from listing), without really committing to any of them (I wish I knew a better way to say that). 

Machine Art, Machined Metal Sculpture

while rather large for a detachable base design, I went ahead with it anyway. It is rather heavy to be perched atop just 3 little divots in the base, but I think it sort of adds a little daring to the work. 

Schematic, Art blueprint, technical Drawing