One of my favorite artists working in 3D printing to date, Shane Hope coined the term “transubstrational” to help him to communicate the broad canvas at play in his work: “Transubstrationality is to be inclusive of sundry subtler, slower states of transitional or transgressive living. It’s not about leveling-up. It’s about leveling-across any and many orders of scale and substrates.”
Here’s a great piece that covered his work in Wired’s “3-D Printed Paintings Make Jackson Pollock Look Plain“:
3-D printers are typically used make high-resolution models or functional prototypes, but artist Shane Hope manipulates them to channel his inner Jackson Pollock. The Brooklyn-based artist creates “paintings” that are densely packed with a rainbow of 3-D printed barnacles. The results are massive, dazzling assemblages—beautiful in the way that spectacular computer glitches can be—and are only matched in manic energy by Hope’s descriptions of them. “Seeing 3-D printing as a sort of gateway drug en route toward molecular manufacturing, I thereafter decided I’d visually/literally relate the operative ideologies, promises, and hype of 3-D printing to the R&D and forecasts regarding nanofacture.” Heady stuff, and while this jargon-filled description is a tad grandiose, the paintings push the boundaries of low-cost 3-D printers in new and interesting ways.
Hope keeps four RepRaps humming constantly, fed with CAD files that follow the same labyrinthine pattern as his artistic statements. He starts by plumbing the Protein Data Bank, a repository of CAD files to build living things, and crafts “nanomolecular machine component models” and “junk DNA sculptural origami.” These names sound fantastic, but the actual forms are a bit mundane so he writes Python scripts that evolve the models until interesting shapes emerge. He curates these “code-yielded crops,” picking only the most ripe renderings, and uses image editing software to stitch them into colorful maps that will serve as the base for his paintings.
Using the modified molecular models as inspiration, Hope creates printable CAD models using 3-D programs like MeshLab and Blender. The files are printed in batches and Hope intentionally introduces anomalies into the process by changing the speed of his printers mid-way through a job, angling for epic print fails that will reveal new aesthetic opportunities. He even goes so far as to experiment with the plastic build material, coloring the filaments with permanent markers and fusing together different colored strands to achieve novel aesthetic results. For centuries artists have created their own tools—old masters grinding their own pigments and such—and Hope has carried that tradition forward by carefully recording the print settings that lead to the most outrageous outputs.
…Shane Hope is represented by the Winkleman Gallery in New York City.