Most of those who appreciate the new artistic possibilities of 3D printing know Joshua Harker for his famous “Self Portrait” mask. It‘s an intricate composition in which he first took the 3D scan of his face (and the same could be done for anyone). Then he used it as a base to apply geometrically intricate, generatively designed patterns that could only be reproduced through a 3D printer, preferably a selective laser sintering (SLS) professional machine. His creative streak, however, goes well beyond that one, highly recognizable work. It extends to many different shapes and even many different creative processes, to the point where he can Harker defined by the title of one of his more recent works: a real 21st Century Artist.
Joshua Harker is an all around artist, sculptor and musician with a pioneering creative perception and a modern technique that involve extensive use of 3D printing. As a son of two artists, he showed interest in the field from a very early age. His intelligence (he was declared a child prodigy) and passion for the arts fueled his creative streak that very soon won him the international recognition of critics, press, and community. He studied Arts at Kansas City University, to then enrich his knowledge by studying Anatomy and Forensic Arts, something that decisively affected his work.
Humanizing the machine
Harker has stated that he not only tries to find expression and explore the limits of 3D sculpturing through digital technology, but he also aims to “humanize the inhuman”. The “inhuman”, in this case, are the “soulless” 3D printers, computers and consumable materials of all kinds. As 3D printing allows the realization of forms and shapes that were not possible before, Joshua considers our times to be revolutionary in regards to the arts. As a pioneer of this new medium, he is working with all possible shapes and even dimensions.
From 2D sketches that are projected into a three-dimensional plane, to depicting and encapsulating the temporal dimension in his sculptures, Joshua has been trying to drive his art to the most exciting and unexplored paths of human visual and mental perception.
Form Over Color
Thanks to his creative genius, Joshua doesn’t need to use multiple colors or exotic filaments to capture the eyes and imagination of his audience. Most of his 3D printed sculptures are made out of standard white nylon thermoplastic, and feature delicate and elaborate details that highlight their contemporary nature and give their unique neo-surrealistic beauty. This intricate work is often combined with simplistic elements from seemingly unrelated artistic principles and styles that create an unconventional contrast in all aspects.
A characteristic example of this technique is evident in the last year’s “Mazzo di Fiori” collection, where laced flowers create simplistic water ripples on the imaginary water surface. This way, what is depicted is heavily detailed, while the element that drives the people’s imagination is realized in a simple way.
3D Printing Life (and Death)
A similar contrast of elements is achieved in 2012’s “Anatomica di Revolutis” collection, where the artist combines skulls of intricate and convoluted patterns with a set of movable feathers. This joins life and death, movement with stagnation and finally superficiality with greatness.
Joshua Harker has also worked as a toys, inventions and as a special effects designer in the past, so sharing and selling his creations with the world is part of his established “modus operandi”. This can be achieved in the utmost level now that artists use 3D printers, as art is created once and reproduced as many times as it is required. You can buy several of his models in various sizes and materials from his online shop. As Joshua is regarded one of the pioneer artists of our time, it is most probable that these pieces of art will gain a significant collective and cultural value in the future.
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