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When Art Meets Technology

July 13, 2018 Talent
Man sitting behind 3D art


When it comes to relocating, job seekers want to know that the Ann Arbor region is a great destination for work and play. One of Michigan’s premier events — and a summer tradition for more than 50 years — is the Ann Arbor Art Fair. In the midst of preparing for the 2018 event, marketing and communications coordinator for the Guild of Artists and Artisans, Nick Clark, shared how he uses technology to create his sculptures.  

“I am considered a new media artist, specializing in 3D printing and virtual reality,” Nick explained while he swiped through some images of his latest projects. In high school, he started primarily with 2D mixed media. “When I went to college, I fell back into what was familiar until I took a class called Studio Concepts which really opened my mind. It was during this class that I started to explore the relationship between technology and art.”

Nick described the process for each of his sculptures, starting with creating his very own custom plastics on a machine he constructed. At the beginning of a new project, he creates a 3D scan and navigates between the computer and virtual reality, sculpting the project using around 15 different software applications.

“When color photography came on the scene, there was a lot of resistance to it as art. In a similar way, more traditionally trained artists are hesitant to accept 3D printing as a new art form. People tend to see the products as toys or mass productions. But with my approach and technique incorporating custom plastics, none of my pieces can really be replicated.” 

Nick holds a Bachelor in Fine Arts with a concentration in digital fabrication and watercolor, mixed media from Eastern Michigan University (EMU). He was the first to graduate with a digital fabrication concentration and received the Sheldon Iden award for his achievements, and for spearheading the structure of a new program.

“When EMU started the new digital fabrication program with 3D printers, I immediately took to it. I created some incredible multi-media installations as a student, and as I progressed as an artist, the program progressed with me. I still run the lab, maintain the equipment, and even secure grants.”

Before Nick sought out his BFA, he was a professional video game player for six years, traveling the country and even some parts of the world. “I grew up in the area and got to travel through the circuit. I always came back during the offseason, though. I always found everything I needed here.”

Nick has been working with the Guild since the summer of 2010, filling the roles of many different positions. This includes managing the social media campaigns, doing graphic design work, maintaining the website and newsletters, and much more. “The Art Fair contributes to the vibe of Ann Arbor — it’s all part of Ann Arbor’s magic.”

In 2017, Nick was awarded two art residencies: The Neutral Zone’s Visual & Media Arts: NEA Artist in Residency Program, and a seven month live-in Frisco Art Residency. During this time, Nick produced hundreds of unique pieces.

Check out Nick’s work on his website or follow him on instagram @nickclarkk. Also, be sure to check out the Ann Arbor Art Fair from July 19 to July 22.