3D Printed Art on the Rise with Artists & Sculptors

by Tracy Leigh Hazzard

Here are four artists using 3D Printing in their art or artistic process. You be the judge. Are they Artists or Makers?


3D printed work by artist Kate Blacklock

Vessel collection, 3D print ceramic by artist Kate Blacklock


Every time I turn around there is a new art tool introduced on the market. My mom, abstract artist RoseMarie Davio’s studio is full of the latest brushes, sponges, glazes, papers and paints. Over the last couple of years, you can even find 3D Printed pieces lying around as well. For those of you not familiar with 3D Printing, it is a desktop (or industrial) printer that either extrudes or laser fuses materials like plastic, metal and ceramic. Because of lower costs, 3D Printing has been changing the face of design with makers adopting at a rapid pace. But artists using 3D Printing in their art and as a part of the art-making process is also on the rise.

Many artists, like my mom, have been introduced to 3D Printing because a family member (like me) is an avid techie and 3D designer. Yet others discover that 3D Printing can solve a significant process or cost problem to make them more productive creating art and sculpture. Some even flip back and forth between art and making, selling on-demand 3D Print reproductions of their art.

Here are some artists that I have profiled and met over the last couple of years as host of the WTFFF?! 3D Print Podcast. Their art and process have inspired me, and in my opinion, the use of 3D Printing has expanded their artistic creativity.

Ceramic Artist Kate Blacklock

After being introduced to 3D Printing by a student in her Rhode Island School of Design tableware and ceramic production class, Kate was fascinated by the artistic and sculptural form possibilities with 3D Printing. Things that could only be hand-produced before can now be made. She works in collaboration with a computer modeler so that she can concentrate more on the artistic part of the process and less on the technology. Beyond artistic impression, ceramic 3D Printing will really afford the opportunity for more artistic bespoke commission opportunities in the commercial production.

Kinetic Sculptor Ryan Buyssons

I absolutely had to stop and stare at Ryan’s Kinectica sculpture and was fascinated by the mechanized grace he has managed to achieve. Ryan was born and raised near Detroit, MI and developed a rich, lifelong influence from the automotive industry’s mechanical culture. He chooses to use 3D Printing and Laser Cutting to help him create and express more, but always puts the “hand” back in, dyeing components, combining and varying parts. The sculptures have a viewer interaction component as well, by being motion triggered.


Desert Sand, Crystal Coral by artist Leisa Rich

“Desert Sand, Crystal Coral” by artist Leisa Rich, made with PLA, resin, heat transfer from artist original photos, mixed media


Fine & Fiber Artist Leisa Rich

Leisa’s work caught my eye because of her unique use of texture and textile arts techniques combined with 3D Printing. She has a fiber and fine arts background spanning 41 years, with a MFA, BFA and Bachelor’s of Education degree. Introduced to 3D Printing by her innovation-loving husband, John, she has incorporated 3D Printing into her work but really made it transcend the technology with handwork, coloration and mixed media applications. She told me recently that she has really begin to dream up new ways to use the technology but unfortunately her CAD skills are holding her back from fully utilizing the tools as she would like.

Sculptor & Author Bridgette Mongeon

Bridgette was the very first artist interviewed on the podcast and she really opened my eyes to how expensive and labor intensive the sculpture process is for artists. She has mastered her craft over 20 years of traditional sculpting experience and found 3D Printing out of necessity when she became injured and unable to sculpt. The use of digital tools has really motivated Bridgette to go beyond traditional sculpting techniques, made her even more productive than before, and made her an advocate for other artists using digital tools. She wrote a book featuring many artists and their techniques called, 3D Technology in Fine Art and Craft: Exploring 3D Printing, Scanning, Sculpting and Milling. I was especially fascinated with how 3D printing plays a role in helping her sell clients on new commissions.

3D printing is a huge part of my product design business, and interestingly, it has allowed me to be more artistic and creative in the process. Whether you consider 3D Printing to be an artistic aid, a new tool in the toolbox, or a commercial sales boost, advances in the technology and software to be less tech and more artistically intuitive are becoming more and more within the reach of any artist interested in exploring.


Tracy Leigh Hazzard is a 3D print designer, podcast host and author and founder of 3D Start Point. Her expertise has been featured in Working Woman, Wired, Forbes and Fortune Small Business. Her weekly column By Design is featured in INC.com.

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  1. Very encouraging indeed. Although 3D printing is proving to be helpful to almost every industry but i believe it will be more beneficial on creative front. Artists, Sculptors, designers can give wings to their creativity, as 3D printing can help create even very complex designs with ease.

    • Yes, absolutely. I have found from my own experience that you can either approach 3D Printing from Science first, but you will always end up into the art and design of it eventually. When approached through Art first, I see a more experimental less constrained use of a tool that helps push the tech to be better and opens even new possibilities for the creator. More artists and designers pushing 3D Printing will bring about a better industry.

  2. Thanks for sharing this. It was so much fun podcasting with you. There were some delays, The trip down the rabbit hole is almost complete as the park expects to install it this spring. But the technology is not done with this project. We already had a company come to the studio and scan the large works of art so that we can reduce them down and 3D print them in wax. We will be making a limited edition bronze – with exact replicas of the monumental sculpture- thanks to technology. That same company will come back to the park and 3D scan the sculpture in its setting. Then we will have a virtual reality made with the scene.That means you can visit the sculpture wherever you are. I’m still looking for companies to help with that as I would love to see that virtual reality made into an educational tool. We also created a detective series where people can learn about the story, the 150 hidden objets, and the tech. Hope to put some videos out about that in 2018. The entire project is a great focus in STEAM education- STEAM incorporates Science, Technology, Engineering, Art and Math. I was delighted to be the keynote at the Texas Art Education Conference in 2017. Can’t wait to share STEAM with other educators and inspire them. A great project that keeps growing. Here is a link to https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=B3xhXqbJSl0 and people can follow along with the project on the Finding Alice Sculpture Page on Facebook .https://www.facebook.com/FindingAliceSculpture/


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