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The modern artist’s creative extension

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“Technology is important to my creativity especially since 3D printing has started. Leonardo and Michelangelo would have used it,” Mark Hopkins said.

Hopkins' sculpture,

Hopkins’ sculpture, “The Lamb”

Hopkins, a professional artist based in Loveland, is one of two sculptors who have recently visited I2P for artistic purposes. Hopkins explained that technology like 3D printing is an extension of his creativity.

Hopkins’ creativity usually starts with a sculpture made of wax that is cast in bronze. To make duplicates of his sculpture, Hopkins makes a mold of the sculpture; duplicating the sculpture in a smaller size, however, would normally require Hopkins to remake the sculpture entirely. I2P had a solution to save him time and energy.

Hopkins brought his sculpture “The Lamb” to I2P where it was scanned, reduced in size, and printed in plastic. Hopkins then made a mold of the miniature and fine-tuned it, all while maintaining the original sculpture’s integrity for a fraction of the production time. With this efficiency improvement, Hopkins is able to distribute his art to a larger audience and devote more time to other creative endeavors.

The final desktop award

The final desktop award

Another sculptor, David Anderson, employed a similar technique on his sculptures. In addition to sculptor, Anderson also serves as an affiliate to the Department of Animal Sciences at CSU. Through his connection to Animal Sciences, Anderson created a Livestock Judging Award for South Dakota State University in honor of Dr. Roger Hunsley, a successful collegiate livestock judging coach. Like Hopkins, Anderson sculpted a clay “bas relief,” or low relief, model in a large size to capture detail and then reduced the sculpture digitally to the correct size. The final desktop model will be an award presented annually.

Hopkins explains, however, that the technology can’t replace the human touch. It simply serves as a tool to enhance the artist’s work – a tool even the master Renaissance artists might have appreciated.