This story is over 5 years old.


Van Gogh's Flowers Brought To Life With 3D Printer

From canvas to bronze bouquet.

Vincent Van Gogh's iconic Sunflowers painting from 1888 is so lurid (and, well, famous) that it's fun to imagine what it would be like to pick the flowers from the frame and put them in a vase in our kitchen.

Artist duo Rob and Nick Carter have made that fantasy a semi-reality with their 3D interpretation of Van Gogh's work in an exhibition called "Transforming," that's currently on display at London's Fine Art Society. Cool Hunting tipped us to this sui generis work, and we have our fingers crossed that this installation will come to the States.


The duo paired with visual effects studio Moving Picture Company--known for its computered generated imagery for mega films like World War Z and Life of Pi--to translate Van Gogh's original work into 3D digital files.

The team had to take the 19th century painting's idiosyncracies, such as the lush brush strokes and impressionistic nature that are definitively Van Gogh-ian, and translate them first to digital files before they could 3D print the designs. Then the Carters cast the printed flowers in bronze, making them hyper-detailed without jeopardizing the original style.

Mengers expanded a bit on the process, noting that they built a "base mesh," or a 3D model, that could elucidate details such as the volume of the flowers and their dimensions, before turning the sunflowers into something physical. By using this method, museum visitors can look at the flowers from any angle and the Van Gogh style will remain consistent.

Moving Picture Company's Creative Director Jake Mengers said that they had to apply "creative license to the areas that aren't visible in the original," but the results are stunning.

Moving Picture Company and the Carters used a ProJet 3500 printer (which can cost as much as $20,000) to make a resin material called Visijet-X. It's stronger than most 3D printed plastic, and has been used in the past for objects such as 3D-printed guns. After they were printed with the resin, the objects were then cast in bronze, giving them a treasure-like effect.


The Carters have worked with Moving Picture Company in the past, translating work such as Bosschaert's Vanitas (aka theinfamous dead frog painting) into a three-hour looping image.

This is 3D printing at its most mesmerizing. By combining art of the past with technology of the future, we can grasp (literallly, and figuratively) art like never before.

Now imagine what other famous works this technology could be applied to. Georgia O'Keefe's flowers certainly come to mind. If you have a favorite iconic masterpiece that you'd like to see in three dimensions, share it in the comment section below.

Images courtesy of Rob and Nick Carter and Moving Picture Company. See more of their inspiring work at their website.

Via Cool Hunting