In the Studio – Image Science

Image ScienceA transdisciplinary approach to the creation of art through investigation of image making technology and equipment. Dating back to the 19th Century and early photography, Image Science has evolved and led to the creation of video art, interactive art and digital art in its embrace of new technologies. Can be included as part of Visual Culture/bildwissenschaft.

Camera Obscura‘ is arguably one of the first glimpses of ‘Image Science’ the world was exposed to, a new technological advancement in the history of mankind. It was new, it was exciting and it was divisive. Since then artists have been swiftly embracing new and emerging technologies to further advance our art history in to new territories. ‘Image Science’ does not have one defined route but rather several ‘offshoots’, the explosive rate at which the internet and computer development has flourished has provided endless platforms of exploration for artists. We can now paint digitally, create three-dimensional environments, access and manipulate video content and transfer it into new contexts, make commentaries on our dependence on social media and even design 3D models and print them at the touch of a button.

I remember it being around 2010 when 3D printing really took off (and became more affordable). Were it not for the generous gift of a 3D Printer Pen for my birthday I may not have been investigating the area in which I now find myself.


Of course, the name ‘3D Printer Pen’ is quite misleading. The pen shares only very few similarities with the 3D printing process; it does not have any involvement with the CAD (computer aided design) process and could be more accurately described as a glorified hot glue gun.

The pen itself is simple to operate and I became confident in using it very quickly. It works through melting coloured thermoplastic filament at high temperature to make it malleable with the consistency ranging from string to paste depending on speed and temperature settings. As the user draws with the pen the plastic cools and hardens so once a base layer has been drawn the user can then draw upwards and create a three dimensional artwork.

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Initial experiments resulted in the creation of a spider web-like object testing just how fine I could get the material without it breaking. I found that the material can be worked thinly over a great distance, the only limitations for me at present are a short extension lead! The ‘web’ created is very light and surprising quite soft to the touch, having a similar feel to that of false hair. This piece has since been moved into a new studio and various joins within its structure held well.

I felt that the thin nature of the web made it difficult to see every detail, even with the alarming colours of plastic used. I feel that maybe there is an option to experiment here with light and shadow.

Further investigation will see me return to the subject of insects as the 3D printer pen could be that much needed bridge I need in order to translate my drawings successfully into sculptures.



Beards Brothers (2013) Andy Warhol’s – 15 minutes of pain. Available at: (Accessed: 25 July 2016).

Beards Brothers (2013) Supraliminal machines V2. Available at: (Accessed: 25 July 2016).

Beards Brothers (2012) Transparent playground. Available at: (Accessed: 25 July 2016).

Grau, O. (ed.) (2010) MEDIAARTHISTORIES. First edn. Massachusetts Institute of Technology: MIT Press.

Visual culture: Inventory of definitions (no date) Available at: (Accessed: 22 July 2016).


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