This weeks Designer Spotlight focuses on Justin Howlett, an animator who uses the 3D modeling skills he learned through animation to create steampunk inspired rings.
Tell us a little bit about yourself: Who are you? Where are you located?

Hi my name is Justin Howlett, I am 24 years old and I have lived in London for about a year. I studied animation at Bournemouth University where I used my computer model making skills to make 3D sets and props for animation productions that we would put on as students. After leaving university and now working as a freelancer I continue to develop my practice.

What’s the story behind your designs? What inspires you?

I’ve been working on my ring project for the last few months. Much like the steampunk aesthetic, I really like to imagine my rings as something someone from the future might wear or something you might find that was once lost in the ground centuries ago. I have always been interested in ancient Egypt and especially the pyramids and I often have this in mind when I start a design. I like to use triangles or other simple forms as a starting point for the shapes in my designs. Sometimes me and my girlfriend Jess brainstorm ideas together which can lead to interesting results! 

What brought you to 3D printing with Shapeways?
I was asked to design some 1/24th scale props for a stop motion short film, and we chose to 3D print them. Shapeways stood out as the most feasible and convenient place to produce them. Shapeways has plenty of materials and a boasts a good detail resolution which appealed to us as the props would be viewed close up and a good level of detail was very important. When I discovered people’s Shapeways shops and their designs I decided to give it a go myself. Holding my computer designed models, as real objects in the real world felt amazing, and now I’m hooked!
How did you learn how to design in 3D?

When I was 12 I bought a game and it came with an editor which lets you create maps for the game. Later on taught myself to use 3D modeling programs like Maya and 3D Max.

How do you promote your work?

I have recently used Pinterest and Twitter to get more exposure for my shop. My website is where I keep my portfolio of work and a link to my Shapeways shop, but I am new to this and I’m still figuring out the best way to do it.

Who are your favorite designers or artists?
I love the graphic design work of chrislabrooy it’s amazing that his pictures aren’t real! HR Giger and MC Escher have always inspired me too. 
Who in the Shapeways community has served as an inspiration to you?
I love the skull rings hdrop has made, his designs are fantastic. I like the dark nature of them and how the skulls form seamlessly into the ring shape . I especially like the ‘masked skull ring’. Other designers that I admire are: kacheric, sbruins, jeff.  I also love the impossible triangle pendants by SB3D, Eragatory and The Museum of Small Things.
If you weren’t limited by current technologies, what would you want to make using 3D printing?
I can’t wait until I can print larger 3D printed interlocking parts in metal and silver.