Interview: Lars Jacquemetton
Lars Jacquemetton is a software developer and 3D printer in Santa Fe, New Mexico. He received his MS from the University of Texas at Austin. See more of Lars' work on his etsy account.
L.E. Brown: Tell me about the art that you make.
Lars Jacquemetton: One of the first 3D printed sculptures I created was exhibited at my university a few years ago. It was a crazy, organic, one-meter-tall spiral cylinder. I designed it in a program that basically creates a 3D model based on different parameters that you enter manually. I just played with it until I had something that I liked, and printed it out. I built my own printer so no one else had the ability to print something so large. That, to me, is what made it novel and artistic.
LEB: How would you say that 3D printing differs from other artistic mediums?
LJ: I’ve always been better at using a computer than using traditional artistic methods; I could never paint or draw anything. But being able to apply digital model editing skills to real world objects was really powerful for me. And it’s still a pretty new medium, so it’s fun to play with.
LEB: What is it about 3D printing that changes how you design an object?
LJ: If you design an object that can be easily printed, and can be printed without support materials or having to clean it up much, it saves so much time. If you can design an object that doesn’t need to be supported, you can design objects that take advantage of being more complex with less complications. Whatever embellishments you want to add, you can do so and it will print in the same time. So you’re able to make these changes before you create something, rather than during its physical production. You can make changes to any object you want to print, and you can make it more your own or more useful to you.
LEB: A big criticism of new media art, like 3D printing or virtual reality, is that it doesn’t have much craftsmanship. It’s very technological and you can google how to create almost anything, or just download it. A lot of people argue that new media is not a valid art form. How would you respond to those criticisms?
LJ: Clearly there are a lot of people who only believe in the value of old media and traditional art mediums, and that new media is less artistic. I would argue that it’s not less artistic, it’s just different. Many artists working within older mediums are worried because this is unprecedented and new territory to them. New medias can iterate on themselves and copy freely distributed material and completely change how art can be created. Does this make old media less valuable? Probably not by much. But can you discount new media as being not artistic? That’s hard to argue.
LEB: To me, an important part of new media art is that it’s more accessible to people who may not have been able to create work using traditional media. This is a way for so many different types of artists to express themselves, and it builds upon accessibility.
LJ: Exactly. In my case, I’m a full-time software developer, and I was a full-time student when I created my first sculpture. The only way I had time to create art was because it was a new media that I was already exploring. It was just the matter of teaching myself to change numbers in a system to create a new model. Because of that, I was able to create something without being a full-time artist and devoting myself completely to artistic pursuits. And if you want to be an artist but you’re lower income, you often have to have full-time employment, plus having a studio on top of that, and accessibility to materials is incredibly expensive. It’s a lot easier and cheaper to go to a library and design something for free.
LEB: How would you define art within the confines of what you create? How do you think the definition of art is changing, especially now that new medias are considered art in some circles but not in all?
LJ: I guess the only way you can define new media objects or ideas as art is if you strongly associate them with art. Even though art has become an abstract concept, there clearly is an actual definition that exists. But the idea of art is always subjective. You can hang something on a wall, and to a lot of people it will just be a thing on a wall. To others, it’s art. I guess the definition of art is always going to be completely subjective and personal.
LEB: What kind of work do you hope to create in the future? Both in the near future with the materials you have access to now, and the long term, with new technologies that have yet to be created?
LJ: There will always be new emerging technologies. Even 3D printing, as it exists now, is evolving. The 3D printing that will exist when we have refined technologies and materials and processes will be different. These changes will make several generations of better fabricating machines, and each of those machines will be able to make a whole different world of objects. There’s plenty of room to explore those different worlds of production and make things that we can’t even dream of making now.
LEB: How do you think the fabrication of artistic material and production of art will change in the future?
LJ: Virtual reality, as a new medium, is something that people have only just begun to explore. Not only is it a 3D medium, but it’s 4D, because not only can you move animated objects in time but you can actually have responsive environments that are interactive and respond. This new medium could be seriously profound. There’s no experience that’s closer to stimulating every single sense than the VR experience. Ten years from now, this technology could be incredibly mature. I think that’s definitely the way of the future.✶