In the jewelry industry, we hear a lot about using CAD as a tool—It increases efficiencies, allowing for pieces to be produced quickly and with less material waste. But to think of CAD as only a tool, is short-sited, as this medium is a language unto itself and a vehicle for creativity unlike anything we have seen before. CAD affords artists new paths for exploring how they see the world and for telling their stories.
Madeline Gannon is one of the co-founders of AtonAton, a computational research center that examines how computers improve communication and interactions with our physical environments. Gannon has used CAD to capture unique vantages of creatures and objects moving through space.
In this piece, Reverb, she has captured the movement of a squid as it travels through water, freeze-framing moments of the creature’s movement and draping each instant on the body. We can see multiple perspectives of movement at the same time in this piece. In my opinion, she is a 3d Printing Picasso/Eadweard Muybridge!
Gannon is also exploring how we interact with what we wear. In this piece, Tactum, light shines on the body and the wearer can adapt and change the rhythm and pattern with touch. The projection can then be frozen and printed as an object. Customizable pieces are all the rage in the jewelry industry, but this piece brings custom to a whole new level, as no intermediary designer is needed. The creation comes directly from the wearer using an interface that has been created with CAD.
CAD allows artists incredible opportunities for creative expression and for challenging expectations for what is wearable. In this example, Arthur Hash creates a piece of comical scale. This neck piece is printed in a single build and draws attention to the nuts and bolts of wearable commercial jewelry—the clasp and chain. When we see it, we begin to reconsider these items and view them as works of art in and of themselves through the artistry used to create the inner workers and the massive scale that immediately captures our attention.
Also challenging expectations, Josh DeMonte focuses on architecture, changing our interactions with our environments. Whereas we think of ourselves are being the commanders of space, creating space and living within its walls, DeMonte twists, twirls, and morphs spaces and architectural features to inhabit us and occupy our bodies.
(Joshua DeMonte, Arcade Coil; 2008. Glass-filled Polyamide)
CAD artists are not only giving wearers full command of the medium and the items’ interpretations, CAD has proven to be an invaluable medium for storytelling.
(Emily Cobb, Dry Up: Attacking Garden Snake; nylon, acrylic, lacquer)
Emily Cobb is an artist who is using Additive Manufacturing to share her voice. Cobb is a storyteller who creates fantastical worlds of creatures who evolve and devolve. Her pieces not only tell us about characters, the worlds they inhabit and the journeys they take, but they also show incredible technological skill. To make an object that is at once flexible, able to retain its shape, and beautiful is truly awe-inspiring. Cobb has a clear command of her medium and challenges conceived limitations for dexterity and material abilities.
So, what is CAD?
CAD is much more than a tool. CAD is an art form, a medium, and a whole new language. There are incredible opportunities for innovative thought and creation with this medium and artists will continue to challenge our expectations with their creative use of this technology.