posts tagged with the keyword ‘art’


Duchamp vs. Pete

About a month ago Bryan Cera invited me to print a copy of Marcel Duchamp’s favorite hand-carved chess set. The set had been lost to the ages, but he and Scott Kildall have resurrected it. It sounded like a fun project and it’s always interesting to collaborate with people I admire.

Duchamp Chess Set

Scott mentioned that I had a unique method of printing the pieces in parts and reassembled them in his post about the materiality of the project. I also painted my set with metallic silver paint to give it a unique look.

Duchamp Chess Set

Along the way, Patrick Lichty also printed a set, and Frankie Flood (being the Master of Metal) had to go way overboard and cast them in bronze!

Duchamp Chess Set

Anyway, my set is finally done, and I finally took photos, which you can see here. I actually spent a fair amount of time trying to replicate the shot of the original Duchamp set, getting the spacing and angles right, matching the lighting, and it’s close, but not exact. (See the top photo to compare.)

Duchamp Chess Set

Of course some of the shots I did were just because I wanted to experiment. The hot pink, and to some degree the black, show the reflective quality of the pieces, which is pretty neat.

Duchamp Chess Set

(You can view high resolution versions of each shot on Flickr, just click on the photos above.)


3D Drawing Pens

There’s a number of so-called “3D Printing Pens” on the market now, or coming soon, though in reality I think they should be called “3D Drawing Pens”. I mean, you don’t have a “2D Printing Pen” do you? Pens are for drawing, they are not printers that print.

I know a lot of people are excited about these things, thinking it’s the cheapest way to get into 3D Printing (if they work) because you’ve probably seed some amazing photos of things people are creating with these things…

Well, here’s my thought on these pens:

If you’re terrible at drawing in two dimensions, you’re probably going to be terrible at drawing in three dimensions.

Yeah, if you’re a skilled artist who knows how to work a pen, you might make some awesome things. That’s how art works, but don’t expect to pick one of these up and create a masterpiece the first time.

That said, I do think these “3D Drawing Pens” are interesting, and I look forward to see where they go, and I await an open hardware version.



Recently my pal Bryan Cera posted about resurrecting Marcel Duchamp’s hand-carved chess set, which is a project he’s working on with Scott Kildall.

Bryan shot me an email and asked if I’d be interested in printing a set as well. To be honest, most of the stuff I print on my RepRap is meant to be functional parts, and they typically don’t turn out pretty, but hey, I’m an art lover, and I like collaborative projects.


Bryan mentioned that the set should be printable even on a “homebrew” 3D printer, but personally, I hate printing with support, so I try to not use it. I took the pawn and split it in half and then printed it and glued it together with a bit of Acetone.


Oh, I also painted the pawn with metallic silver paint. You can see that this is not a super-high quality print, but I’m OK with that. I sort of like the way the lines appear on this piece.


I also printed the rook. I split this one by removing the top for printing and then reattaching it.

Bishop (in two)

I did the same with the bishop, and will probably do this with the rest of the pieces (and maybe re-do the pawn this way, or maybe do the opposite and re-do all the pieces the same way I did the pawn!)


Here’s the bishop being assembled. Acetone melts the plastic, so I just dabbed a bit onto the two surfaces and then hold things together for a few hours with some rubber bands. (Luckily the bishop has a rubber band-holding slot!)

It’s been a fun project so far, and the only reason I’ve not finished the entire set is that I’ve been traveling for work the last few weeks. Once I’ve got all the pieces, I’ll capture some nice images of the set.

And yes, the knight is going to be a fun challenge!

(Thanks to Bryan and Scott for including me in this project!)



Recently I was working with an artist, I mean a real artist. Someone who can work on a giant canvas and create something from nothing. Well, from nothing but ideas, and maybe some imagery. There’s gesso, and pencils, and paint and brushes, and a heck of a lot of time involved, and at the end is this amazing piece of artwork that just makes you happy when you look at it.

Art is pretty amazing when it’s done by talented people…

I was busy shooting photographs and I mentioned to the artist that I really liked her work, and admired the talent and skill it takes to create it. She then said “Well, I wish I was technical” and by this she was referring to my skill set. It weird to hear that, because even though I’ve been using computers for over three decades, I tend to forget the amount of technical knowledge I have. I think there’s a few reasons why.

First, everyone uses a computer nowadays. Well, not everyone, but chances are everyone reading this does. I was using computers at home when most people were using Sony Walkmans because CD players weren’t around yet. Of course the vast majority of people just use computers, but don’t really know how they work, or how to program them, etc.

Second, since everyone uses computers, everyone uses the web. I helped build the World Wide Web. Nowadays every jackass with a Facebook account and a blog is a “Social Media Consultant” or something. Oh, and everyone can build a web site. I wrote all the code for a large corporate web site nearly 20 years ago. That seems weird, but it’s true.

Third, I tend to hang out with people who are like me, meaning, people who know a lot about computers, and who know how to build the web. I like most of these people, they’re awesome, but you tend to forget that you know stuff 90% of the population does know when you hang out with that other 10% of the people who also know the things you know. That’s a strange dilemma.

Maybe I’m just a frustrated artist? I have all these technical skills, and on occasion I can be creative, but I often feel that I’m lacking in artistic focus. It’s all very strange, but I’m finding ways to deal with it.

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