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Taking the high-tech route to comic-book-inspired art

He’s an angry comic book mutant with facial spikes — who happens to be created through a 3-D printer.

It’s hard to know which is the more remarkable aspect of Avery Andrykew’s fantastical sculpture, The 6th, which is showing at the Red Deer College library as part of a faculty art exhibit.

Andrykew, who has always been inspired by comic-book art, imagined a “biologically altered human being” with no capacity to turn off his anger — something like The Hulk, “but he doesn’t turn colours or grow bigger.” Instead, spikes on his face, shoulders and back extend with every angry outburst.

Andrykew conceptualized his sci-fi character with the ZBrush three-dimensional computer program. He then inputted his original digital design into the college’s 3-D printer, a rapid prototyper, which took 18 hours to extrude polystyrene plastic into the dimensions of The 6th.

The finished head and torso are about seven cm high, and Andrykew plans to eventually finish his creature with arms and legs also created through the printer.

While the machine was purchased to create prototypes for college manufacturing programs, it has many other applications, said the artist, who noted such printers are being used to make art and jewelry moulds.

One advantage is Andrykew can make more than one sculpture from the same design, allowing him to work like a printmaker.

The art studio technician at RDC, who sees “tons of possibilities” with this technology, also has two-dimensional artworks displayed in the exhibit that show how The 6th progressed from digital design to hard plastic.

That’s the goal of the 18 works in the Process exhibit at the RDC library: “We wanted to show the process and the methodology” of how art comes about, said James Trevelyan, chair of the visual arts department and a painting instructor.

Paintings, prints, drawings and mixed media works will take viewers through different stages in the creation process.

Instructor David More is exhibiting two finished paintings, as well as the drawings upon which they were based. He also shares some of his reactions to painting outdoors, with changing light and temperatures, to reveal his mental process as he engages in a day of painting.

Instructor Megan Bylsma has united a number of her artistic passions, including embroidery and cake decorating (the latter involved using moulding plastic instead of icing).

“I adore visual whimsy in artwork,” said Bylsma, who describes her work as “combining ancient arts of sugar and thread craft with the modern aesthetic of abstraction.”

The show runs to Jan. 24. A public reception will be held at 5 p.m. on Tuesday with refreshments served and the artists in attendance.



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