Tag: 3-D printing

Eric German

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Eric German takes creativity to a whole new level. His art blends a childlike, magical spectacle, cutting-edge engineering technology with a touch of retro psychedelic to create a totally unique kind of work unlike anything I have ever seen. A dedicated mixed media artist, he spends most of his time at his favorite place in the world is — his studio at Art In on Washington. He uses a combination of high-tech 3-dimensional printing with good ol’ Mod Podge and neon construction paper to create some seriously original work. He is currently searching for the perfect venue to display his art.

He describes himself as “obsessive,” and you can tell he takes his art seriously. He’s intelligent and conscientious with a self-deprecating sense of humor and a weakness for video games. He does not enjoy breaking rules. His car engine occasionally stops when he is in the middle of turning left. Guilty pleasures include eating a big bowl of cereal directly before bed. Here is some more of my interview with him:

How did you get into the 3-d printing? Were other people doing that, or was it just something that you thought would complement what you were already doing?
It was an elective at this school. Everybody else in the class was a design major, industrial design, or furniture design, these sort of things. And I was designing objects that don’t have utilitarian purpose.

[box float=”right”] How to contact Eric German www.ericgermanart.com [/box]

Did you ever have any interest in engineering?
I guess I had more of an interest in how these different ways of representing space. I was interested in engineering drawings and architectural drawings and different graphic projection methods. And then I did a class in 3-d modeling which is on the computer. These are 3-d prints that were produced on a 3-d printer.

Before I was just doing drawings on flat paper. And then in the 3-d modeling environment on the computer, you’re translating your drawings into 3-dimensional space so it becomes a digital representation. And then the 3-d printers let you fabricate these out of plastic so you get a real thing. It’s really cool.

The 3-d printing is used commercially in industrial design and engineering fields where you’re prototyping anything you see like scissors, paint brushes or power tools.

german-8Obviously everything is bright colors and really vivid. Is that a permanent choice or do you have other things you plan to do?
Yeah, it’s pretty much all rainbow, keyed up, loud colors … a little bit too loud. That’s a reference to video games like Mario Kart like the rainbow level. It’s loud and the shapes are rounded corners and soft. It’s sort of like a retro, video game, kid rainbow aesthetic.

What is your favorite place in the world?
I would say right here right now because this is where I get to make all this stuff.

This photo was taken at the Madison Gallery Night on May 3,  when Eric had his full Rainbow Factory installation set up. People were "oohing" and "aahhing" the second they stepped into the studio.

This photo was taken at the Madison Gallery Night on May 3, when Eric had his full Rainbow Factory installation set up. People were “oohing” and “aahhing” the second they stepped into the space.

What makes you angry?
Like everything. I almost had to cancel this morning because I went outside and slipped on the ice and landed right on my hand. I thought it was broken. It’s not and I can move it around. But I was just furious. And then my car, every time you’re at a stoplight and you go left, it quits. The RPMs are going like this and the car’s not going.

What is the best advice you have ever received?
I guess the idea there is to put it in perspective. You break something, an art piece or a computer part or something, it’s really not the end of the world. So keep things in perspective.

If you had to choose one, would you rather be rich while you are alive or famous after you die?
Rich while I’m alive. Maybe not rich, you know, maybe just enough money to buy a 3-D printer.

What rule do you enjoy breaking?
None of them. I actually like to have rules. I feel really guilty when I break one.

What would your 15-year-old self think of you?
Well I just turned 30 like a couple days ago. And you kind of realize that, when you’re 15, you think that you’re going to be like a “real live adult” when you’re 30. Yeah, not a real thing.

So do you still feel like a kid?
No I mean I think that the 15-year-old Eric would think that this stuff (points to art) is kind of cool…but all the other stuff like your car not working, your career hasn’t happened yet, whatever that is.

german-artcartWhat do you think makes someone an artist?
Just saying that you’re one is kind of the thing. The question is, “Can you have too many artists in a culture?” Probably not. But you know with the creative websites and the ubiquity of creative software and Apple’s marketing campaign that everyone can be a creative, I mean that’s something that I think about. It seems like there is a lot of marketing that sort of convinces everyone that they are creative. Like the rise of the Creative Class or the Maker Class.

Are you trying to sell this work?
No, I’m not pushing any commercial sales right now. It’s all just being incubated here in this space. Right now I’m building this body of work and I’m kind of shopping for a gallery or exhibition space. Some place appropriate that I can kind of take over the space too. I’m actually this winter spending more time making the work and worrying about putting it out in the world a little bit later.

After moving from Grand Rapids, what are your initial thoughts on the Madison art scene?
The Chasen Museum has a pretty good collection, and I like their programming so far. And I really like MMOCA’s programming. And there’s lots of spaces that are orbiting around the University. I like seeing stuff that grad students are making and the faculty shows too. So there’s a lot of different art spaces, but I think it’s still lacking with really exciting, creative menus and programming that are independent.

I think this stuff would look best in a shop window on a little stage. Well you know where they put the dummies with all the clothes on them. Or it could work in a gallery. I guess I’m looking for more of a raw space so I can sort of make a mess, I mean not make a mess, but not have to worry about putting a few holes in the walls…