A large part of what I have been doing artistically, and sharing with everyone, is my Multiplexicon project. This project, at the outset, was designed as a yearlong project that would force me to continue to make on a regular basis while I was losing time to other things like professional and personal life. For a variety of reasons, I was not able to keep up that base that I had intended for myself and have gone over the time frame I set out for myself. I had intended to do 100 models in 1 year; a very achievable goal. Instead, as of right now, over a year later, I have 34, only a shade past 1/3 of the way there.
Do I feel like I've failed? Not entirely. While I certainly have a deeper appreciation for the value of time and time management when trying to maintain a creative life amidst an otherwise full life, I still feel like the project did what I intended it to. I now have a habit of sitting down at the computer and, when I have time, always making sure that I'm working on one model or another. This habit of making, of always having a creative project, was something I needed in instill in myself after coming out a university environment where I was told what to do (to an extent) and rewarded for completing those goals. Simple. Deciding to do art when you have the complete freedom to do whatever you like with your time is a different matter. For some, this is no big deal and school only got in the way. For me, I have many interests that all demand my attention and time. I needed this project to help me prioritize my time for making, and that is not something I'm ashamed of.
Coming out of a year of working on this project though, I do have some tips for anyone looking to do a yearlong project, or some sort of everyday art making project. Take this only as the opinions of someone that engaged in this. Here we go.
1. Be Realistic - Select a project that you can easily complete in the given time frame. Life always has a way of throwing curveballs, even when your day to day routine is fairly regular, so give yourself some slack.
2. Impose Clear Goals - Be very specific with what you want to achieve on a daily, weekly, or monthly basis. Having clearly defined goals facilitates good time management and will serve to keep your creative wheels from spinning.
3. Post Results Publicly - This was something I learned partway through. By forcing yourself to post results online on instagram, your website, or whatever platform you prefer has the benefit of instilling a sense of responsibility in yourself to essentially "show up for work" and do what you set out to do, since you now have an audience. It will also push you to work at your best, since all of your results will be shared.
4. Choose Something You Know You'll Have Fun With - This may seem like an obvious point, but when you force yourself to do something for a year, on a regular basis, you have to make sure that it's always fresh and fulfilling. If you're like me, you've made similar commitments about going to the gym and have not had great success since you don't like going to the gym in the first place. This, of course, depends on why you've decided to do a yearlong project anyway.
That's it! I'm going to keep making these until I get to 100.
A few weeks ago, I was contacted by Cveta Partaleva, who is one of the co-founders of a start-up company called Threeding (I've been pronouncing this Three-D-ing). She invited me to share some of my models from the Multiplexicon project on their platform.
Threeding is a marketplace for 3D models, with an additional printing service. Users who have 3D printing capabilities of their own or a preferred source can download models for a fee and have them prototyped. Alternatively, Threeding provides a printing service for those without printing abilities of their own.
Cveta was nice enough to display one of my models on the featured models section of the homepage after I had put a few up. Some people have been asking me if they would ever be able to get some 3D prints of their own. Well, the answer is now yes! Check out via the link below and take a look at all the rest of the cool meshes on the site.
Link to Threeding
Link to my page on Threeding
It has been 15 weeks since I began the Multiplexicon project, which according to the original schedule would indicate that I should have roughly 30 renders done by this point. At this moment, there are 17. However, I hardly think that I've fallen behind. A good chunk of time has been spent preparing these models for 3D printing as well. A quality of myself that never ceases to amaze me is my infallible ability to come up with the absolute hardest way to do something. True to form, it turns out the method of modeling I am using is the precise opposite way you would want to go about designing something for rapid prototyping. In order for the typical slicing algorithms to map out how a printing head would go about producing a model from a mesh, there needs to be no internal geometry in the mesh. Well, wouldn't you know it, my current method creates MILLIONS of internal vertices that frustrate the slicer. Ho hum.
I have, nevertheless, gotten a couple prints to come out nicely with the help of a friend from work, Wade Gruber. Wade, as it so happens, has recently gotten into 3D printing and is interested in the challenge of printing these strange geometries as a way to refine his own skills. This has in turn challenged me, and has also taken some time away from modelling, but the process has been quite fun! In truth, the best way to go about this would be to look into using a different software (I'm using Blender currently) or a different method altogether. I've talked a lot about this method and maybe it's time to explain it somewhat…
Most of the meshes I've created so far are built from the repeating of base shapes found within the Blender software (Spheres, Cubes). Using a looping coding structure, I can place these shapes where I would like according to some algorithm, but in order to have them be printable there can be no floating parts. Thus, the meshes overlap one another, creating that pesky internal geometry I mentioned before. There are certainly ways to get rid of this internal garbage and have Blender re-model the mesh with only the remaining vertices using what's called a "Boolean Union" operation, but this isn't always reliable. Spheres are more problematic that cubes, and smooth contours made of closely packed meshes are more troublesome still.
However, despite the difficulties, I've come to like this style of making that I've been exploring. It's spontaneous and promotes experimentation. It has become normal for me to play around with different values in order to see the results, and to change symmetries to achieve some desired or unforeseen effect. The price of starting over is nothing and I can tune and play to my heart's content without having have spent hours or days on a single piece. My Python knowledge has also improved with every mesh I've designed, and there are plenty that I have not posted up. So, I will continue with this method of creation, even if it is inconvenient for printing, if only to enjoy the sensation of creating with code.
I also have been thinking about what this project means and what I'm intending to explore and study be undertaking it. I have mentioned the "Language of Multiples" before, and I would like to clarify that in a more formal essay. The concept of emergence is central to this endeavor, and the question of whether or not emergence is a physical property or our mind's shift in how we perceive once the complexity increases to a certain point. Put succinctly, is emergence an illusion? I find that artistic expression is an appropriate tool with which to explore this idea.
In the meantime, onward!
After a long hiatus, I've decided to embark on a yearlong project! As a full time engineer, I need something that will fit into my schedule and challenge my analytical and aesthetic senses. That something is Multiplexicon, a project where I will create 100 digital models of the course of a year. That's roughly two per week. The rules for this project are...
The purpose for these rules is to improve my coding skills, further explore a topic that I have touched upon in my past work and thinking, and to prepare me for a practice that utilizes 3D printing once I have the means of doing so. I'm excited by the possibilities of exploring what I'm calling the Language of Multiples, or the emergence of forms from the repetition of other forms. It's from this concept that this project derives its title, a fusion of the words multiplex and lexicon.
I'm not very experienced in 3D modeling or coding, much loss trying to do one with the other. But that's where the fun comes in! I hope it will be a fun process to see and I hope the results continue to improve on one another. I've been doing some practice before officially embarking upon this, so I already have 4 renders ready to view! They are on this page, or the Multiplexicon page in the new Projects section.
For the tech-curious, I will be using Blender to perform the modelling, and the coding language I will be working with is Python.
Let's get to work!
Woah! Been a while since I have touched this blog. I've been working on many things for the past few months, but nothing I feel comfortable sharing here. Much of my time has been spent on my professional life, with little time left over for significant art making. That's not the sort of situation I want to find myself in. I would like most of all to have my creative and analytical pursuits work synergistically with each other. I've looked into getting my own microscope, but I've decided to shelve that idea for a time. For now, I'm looking into turning my attention back to metals from all the digital work that I've been doing recently (though I still plan on doing that). Wire, cast aluminum, and forged steel are avenues I'm exploring. I'll post up results when I have them.
I've also been reading and researching a bunch. My current text is "Colliding Worlds: How Cutting-Edge Science is Redefining Contemporary Art", by Arthur I. Miller. It's quite fascinating, and a I recommend it to others, in addition to being relevant to me.
I'll try and put a few doodles up.
After the show in Dayton (which was pretty damn fun) a couple of things have been going on. The first is that I was pointed in the direction of a site called Nuvango. Essentially what they do is sell merchandise (fine art prints, iphone skins, laptop skins, etc. etc.) decorated with the work of artists who put their work up on the site. Artists get a cut of sales and have a way to get the word on their work out. I was mentioning before about how I wanted to somehow get some work printed, mostly the fractal work, and I think I might explore this as an option.
If you're interested, visit my Nuvango site at http://nuvango.com/stephenckrooney
If there's any work up here on the site that you want to see at Nuvango, let me know. I'm also exploring some more traditional printing options at the moment. More to come on that.
The second is Science, woooooo. I said before I wanted to start a science section, and I did, but there's no content in it currently. I have a few things that will probably make it in in the near future, which I hope everyone likes, but that's besides the point. I'm going to be shifting gears a little bit and focusing hard on learning some math and science tools that I want to become familiar with for future work (both in art and science). As such, I'll wont be making much in terms of art for a while, other than some quick fractals here and there. I plan on figuring out how I can share what I'm learning in an informal, fun, and educational way. There's an addage, or something, about how only masters grasp their subjects so well that they can make it digestible, even for children. I suppose I'll use that as a metric for how much I'm actually learning.
Minor other things are bubbling, but I'll wait on those till the time is right.
There's another show coming! I was accepted into the MATERIALIZE show in the Robert & Elain Stein Galleries at Wright State University located in Dayton, Ohio, which will later be traveling to Purdue University. The theme of this show is digital fabrication, and my piece "Double Conch Fractal" will be there. The link to the gallery is here.
The show in Chicago was fun, and I received the comment that it would be interesting to start a series of metal microstructures catalog them here. This was something I was already thinking about, so I might do it! I do feel that his website is meant to represent me as an artist and as a scientist, so maybe starting a Science tab would be appropriate as well. I'll try to work on this when I can.
I'm now just getting into the groove of working a full time job and making work part time. It's a tough schedule. Most of my time has been spent working on this website, as I've had little time or resources to create. But, despite that, I've managed to get into a show. I'll be showing some work at the Arterie Fine Arts Gallery in their Science & Art show, where it will be on view from September 2nd-30th. The two pieces that I'll be showing can be seen below. As I work more on this site, I'll put them up in their appropriate places. In the meantime here they are.
Laser Etched Steel with Patina
In other news, I've also heard from some that were curious about getting some fractals printed for them. I plan to get some quotes on printing and maybe, if I'm feeling fancy, I'll put up a store page on this website where it will be easy to purchase a print in a few sizes and papers. We'll see how this goes!
I've created this blog page so I have a free forum to express myself and share what I believe is worth sharing, while at the same time inviting visitors to this space to participate in my musings. I can't emphasize enough that nothing is barred from being expressed here (As long as it complies with content limitations put forth by Weebly).
Although I will be mostly talking to no one in particular, it is always nice to hear that another takes value in what you've shared.
I should also emphasize that I've never really done this blog thing, so this will be a new experience. If anyone has any suggestions on how to improve it, please let me know.
Let's see where this takes us.