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The worlds of technology, art, and anatomy are combined at Area515 Makerspace to create art that offers viewers a unique look at the human body and nature.

Partner Organization: Area515 Makerspace

Walk into Area515 Makerspace on any given day and you might see a leatherworker crafting an apron, an aspiring entrepreneur 3D printing a product prototype, or a professional artist using a laser cutter. This creative space opened its doors to the artistic community by establishing an artist's residency which waived membership fees, provided training on the various high and low tech tools in the space, and awarded a stipend for materials. 

I was selected for this residency alongside three other local artists: a sculptor and two mixed media artists. After familiarizing myself with the high tech fabrication tools inside of the makerspace I worked on finding a direction for my art. I have always been fascinated by the beauty of the structures that make up our bodies and how you can often find very similar structures in the natural world such as the similarities between blood vessel patterns in the eye and the branching patterns of rivers. 

I drew on my background in scientific visualization and anatomy education to experiment with fabricating structures found in the body and in nature using makerspace materials and technologies. 


My final art pieces were created to inspire awe about the human body, the natural world, and how different but similar the structures found in both are.

The first piece I created featured a 3D printed ribcage juxtaposed with laser cut branches of the lunges. Both the ribcage and the lung branch pattern were created using a real patient's chest CT scan that had been published for educational use. 


The next piece combined a 3D printed skull, again created from real patient medical images, with the celosia flower. The flower has an incredibly brain-like appearance and placement of the flowers inside of the 3D printed skulls was intended to provoke this realization of the similarities in form for the viewer. 


Crystals were grown on a life-sized 3D print of a section of the spine to simulate osteoarthritis, a joint disease that is often characterized by the growth of bone spurs in the spine. The crystallized, osteoarthritic piece was placed next to a 3D print of a section of healthy vertebrae (bones that make up the spine). 


Cellular landscapes depicting animal cells in one piece and plant cells in another piece were created by drawing every single cell in Adobe Illustrator in order to create a file for laser cutting. The final laser cut pieces were placed next to each other to show how similar two wildly different organisms look at a cellular level. 

These pieces were accepted into and displayed at "Maker Made" an exhibition of projects and art pieces crafted by local makers which were displayed in a formal gallery show at the Boulder Public Library.

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Dig Deeper

Neuron lamp

3D printing for patient education

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