Tom Burtonwood, “Rmutt 2.0″ (2013), ABS Plastic and pigmented wax inlay (all images courtesy the artist)
CHICAGO — For artist Tom Burtonwood, the transition into 3D scanning and printing was as natural as popping food into a microwave rather than settling for cold leftovers. It happened in the heat of a New York City summer in 2012, when Burtonwood participated in the Makerbot Hackathon at the Metropolitan Museum of Art. That’s when he realized there was a larger conversation to be had about 3D-printing technology, open source, hacking, conceptual art’s propensity for appropriation, and art history.
At the end of January, Burtonwood begins an artist residency at the Art Institute of Chicago, where he will focus on 3D printing. (He also teaches at the AIC’s school.) The city got a taste of his experiments at last September’s Expo Chicago fair, where — under the header of Improbable Objects, a project he cofounded — he set up a nostalgia-inducing photo booth, except rather than simple photos of you and your bestie, it printed three-dimensional scans. Coming up, Burtonwood and Holly Holmes will exhibit a series of desktop 3D-printed works in the exhibition Dialogues on the New Plastic at Chicago’s Firecat Projects (opens January 24), and Burtonwood’s 3D-printed accordion book Orihon will be on view at the LA Art Book Fair. I caught up with the artist on the phone to learn more about his 3D-printing projects and what makes this type of production process interesting right now.
Tom Burtonwood’s 3D-printed accordion book “Orihon”
Tom Burtonwood, Rmutt Candy Dispenser, 3D printed in PLA Plastic
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