Artist’s Portrait

Nick Ervinck transcends the boundaries of 3D printing

3d printed art

Nick Ervinck is an award-winning Belgian contemporary artist who knows no creative and materialization boundaries thanks to the extensive implementation of 3D printing methods in his creations. His style revolves around sleek surfaced objects that are often distorted to the point where they look like splashes at their highest point of development or other abstract moving elements. These pieces of art are so complex in conception and design, that 3D printing is simply the only way to create them.

Nick is a sculptor after all, and yet he displays great expertise familiarity with high end industrial additive manufacturing processes. Of course, complex and elaborate pieces like Nick’s need big printers. This is where Materialise, Europe’s largest 3D pertaining service, comes into play with their top notch tools and more than 100 professional and industrial-grade 3D printers. These are systems capable of producing objects as large as 2 meters, at the highest surface qualities and resolutions.

Multimaterial Exploration

Many of Nick Ervinck's sculptures can only be materialised through Stratasys Object500 Connex3 mutlimaterial and multicolor industrial grade 3D printer (image: Nick Ervinck)
Many of Nick Ervinck’s sculptures can only be materialised through Stratasys Object500 Connex3 multimaterial and multicolor industrial grade 3D printer (image: Nick Ervinck)

Nick’s artistic development is overt from his early concept creations using conventional materials to the latest jaw-dropping 3D printed objects that won him the respect and recognition of the international artists community.“The level of realism achievable using the Objet500 Connex3 is unsurpassed, as it is the only 3D Production System that enables me to combine colors, transparency and multiple materials at the same time to create organic, geometrical, fluid and large-scale sculptures,” Nick stated while exhibiting his work at Stratasys’ 3D printed art gallery, during the last Euromold fair in Frankfurt: “I now see 3D printing as a tool to use in creating my work just as a painter considers his brush a tool; it is that integrated into my design process.”

Nick presented completely abstract and form-wise vague objects that are inspired by elements such as wind, light, smoke, fire, high-speed motion and liquids during the Stratasys art gallery. His highlights were a multicolored object inspired by the movie TRON and another, one called Bretomer, which resembled a smoky item with a transparent body that encapsulates smoke movement inside it. These two opaque objects with their colorful complex inner patterns explore the 3D printed sculpture and Stratasys translucent filaments and printers limits.

3D Printing New Artistic Possibilities

The EGATONK-project was developed for the exhibition ‘Horizon 8300’ in Knokke, where Zaha Hadid presented a complete new vision for the train station (image: Nick Ervinck)

Fostering a cross-pollination between the digital and the physical, Ervinck explores the boundaries between various media, applying tools and techniques from new media in order to explore the aesthetic potential of sculpture, 3D prints installation, architecture and design. His incredibly vast collection of works has featured huge installations, sculptures, prints, drawings and even animated films, working alongside architects such as Zaha Hadid and exhibiting at some of the world’s best known art galleries and museums. “Somewhat disappointed in contemporary sculpture and it’s lack of renewal, I turned towards architecture, applied sciences and new media, in order to elaborate a new language generated by computer software, and to compose forms and designs that were unthinkable in all those years before, Nick said.

3D printing offers me the incredible advantage to produce almost any type of intricate geometry or ornament. Moreover, my images balance on the edge of functionality, spatial interventions, digital aesthetics and object-oriented eclecticism. I am particularly interested  – he explained – in the ways computers can be used in the realisation of new, organic and experimental (negative) spaces and sculptures within sculptures and how the tension between blobs and boxes is articulated during the digital designing process.”

Opening Up Artistic Creativity

SURIELEJIF shows the World beneath the skin: organs, muscles, nerves and is the base for many of Nick’s recent 3D printed works (image: Nick Ervinck)

3D printing and open source technologies are all about sharing in the end, so that is why the Belgian artist has also been active in bibliography too, gathering key technical information, interviews and several beautiful images of his artistic exploration into his published literature. His official website also has a shop section where people can buy Nick’s latest book, jewelry as well as some of his digital creations.

Through stories like this one, it becomes quite obvious that 3D printing is not only about building usable items, replacement parts or find more efficient ways to manufacture goods. It can also help with the expansion of the contemporary artistic expression and allow artists that are limited to the realms of “classic” sculpture materials and techniques, free themselves through 3D printing, or simply explore the artistic limits and possibilities of something completely new.