The designer spotlight this week highlights Melissa Ng! Melissa creates beautiful, whimsical masks, that she’s transformed into intricate pieces of jewelry. She’s also working to help entrepreneurs and creatives navigate the 3D printing world through motivational writing and art.
Update (February 16, 2016): We’ve followed an inspiring project with Melissa; The Dreamer Regalia Armor. Take a look at her process from ideation to final touches on a truly beautiful 3D printed piece.
Tell us a little bit about yourself: Who are you? Where are you located?
On my site, Lumecluster, I make intricate Dreamer Masks and fantasy wearable art for ambitious creatives who want to take people’s breath away. I’m a New York-based self-taught artist with a background in media & communications and public relations, When I’m not working on Lumecluster, I am managing two other small businesses.
I started 3D printing in 2014. Within less than a year in the 3D printing arena, I won the Adobe & Shapeways 3D Printing Design Competition with my very first 3D print, I designed the aesthetics on a gorgeous 3D printed prosthetic leg, and I worked on a JiHAE music video starring The Walking Dead’s Norman Reedus.
What’s the story behind your designs? What inspires you?
Mask symbolism, and specifically Venetian masks, have fascinated me ever since I was a child. And being an entrepreneur who has to be many people, wear many hats, and constantly wrestle with my emotions, it felt natural that my day-to-day would influence the direction of my art. My masks portray the unpredictability of the entrepreneurial and creative Dreamer’s wonderlands, like how the pursuit of a passion can bring illuminating clarity (Dreamer Mask: Illumination) or consume us with fear and uncertainty (Nightmare Mask: Fear). Overall, the masks aim to raise a discussion on how we choose to wear our dreams (or nightmares) at rest, work, play, and life.
What brought you to 3D printing with Shapeways?
I first heard of Shapeways when my sister bought me this awesome Portal 2 Wheatley ring. I was fascinated by how it was produced, but didn’t think much about pursuing 3D printing because I assumed that it was beyond my ability. However, once I began to build Lumecluster, my doodles felt increasingly restricted by my initial path (black and white ink drawings) and I knew I had to make a change. So this year, my resolution was to create my first 3D model and print it at Shapeways…and I did!
How did you learn how to design in 3D?
Right now, my tool of choice is Blender. In October 2013, I felt like I made a big decision to change my focus from black and white ink illustration to 3D modeling/printing. Fortunately, there are tons of resources now to teach you how to use these programs! Every night, after I closed up shop (in the daytime, I’m at my company, PianoVerse), I devoured as many online tutorials as I could handle until I mustered the courage to finally create my first piece, the Dreamer Mask: Illumination.
How do you promote your work?
I’m a big fan of guest blogging and blogging on my own site, Lumecluster.com. I’ve also taken to Twitter, Instagram and Tumblr, which have produced pretty interesting reactions, while my Facebook is a bit more personal I guess. So far, this year has been an exciting transition and transformation for Lumecluster and it’s thrilling to see some of my favorite sites take notice. A Kickstarter campaign will also be underway, which I’m looking forward to!
Who are your favorite designers or artists? Who in the Shapeways community has served as an inspiration to you?
I spent most of my life suppressing my love for art…until my dear sister gave me a book detailing the amazing work of Lee Bontecou, whose work seemed to inject new life into me. More recently, I’ve been inspired by the beautiful creations of the legendary René Jules Lalique and the haunting tree paintings of New Orleans artist, Tanner. In Shapeways, Nervous System‘s and Henry Segerman‘s pieces played a huge part in inspiring me to take the first step into 3D printing.
If you weren’t limited by current technologies, what would you want to make using 3D printing?
I wish I could print my own A.I. assistant (with all of its programming magically designed to read my mind). As a workaholic, we’d totally be best friends.
What is your favorite summertime activity?
My favorite summertime activity is sitting under a tree by a pond or lake with my Moleskine and trusty pens
Anything else you want to share?
I feel like 3D printing is the thing I didn’t know I was meant to do. I’m so thankful I was born in this age to be able to appreciate and access this amazing technology!
WHAT WE LOVE ABOUT THIS SHOP:
- Wonderful overall designs that go together
- Great photography
- Great branding
- Experimentation with materials
- Great pricing
Keep up the amazing work, Melissa! We cannot wait to see more of your imagination come to life. Start your 3D printing adventures today with Melissa’s motivational help: visit Lumecluster.com, and share the social love on Twitter, Instagram and Tumblr, and Facebook. As always, email aimee @ shapeways.com to be featured!