The annual SIGGRAPH exhibition brings together the best minds in 3D graphics and design for a week of sharing acacemic papers, emerging technology and remarkable creative ideas. This year’s art exhibition, Hybrid Craft presented artists who merge high tech and traditional processes to create vibrant art objects that speak both to history and technology.


Shapeways designer Brian Chan was included in the group show, presenting a collection of hand painted invertebrates. Fully articulated and highly detailed, these 3D printed creatures are created in the ‘jizai okimono’ Japanese tradition of making lifelike sculptures of small animals.

While beautiful in their own right when freshly printed in White Strong and Flexible, Chan then carefully hand paints each model with water color paints. Chan notes the laser sintered nylon has similar qualities to fine textured water color paper and soaks up the paint well, allowing for multiple layers of pigment with delicate precision.


The show also included examples of Chan’s foldable instruments, created from a variety of materials and using parts printed at Shapeways and CNC milled components. These fully working instruments are based on historically accurate designs, but are more than meets the eye because they can be deconstructed and turned into a box like a Transformer.

As the art exhibition was curated to investigate, Brian Chan’s work combines high tech (but accessible) technology and old fashion craft to achieve incredible results. As a dedicated tinkerer and teacher, Chan constantly pushes the boundaries of technology and creativity while paying tribute to traditional or forgotten crafts.