Corinne Whitaker – “Solutions to many problems are suddenly possible with 3D printing”

Corinne W H I T A K E RCorinne Whitaker has been a pioneer in digital imaging.  In 1994 she set up the Digital Giraffe, a monthly online art journal which she edits, publishes, programs, and designs.  Her works have been exhibited all over the world, in more than 300 group and solo shows.

If you are located in the Bay Area, some of her pieces will actually be featured at Stanford University from Sept. 19 – Nov. 19! More information below this article and in the blog’s agenda!

Corinne, you have been working in digital imaging for more than 34 years. What is your perspective on digital creation? 

Corinne: The initial challenge was, and still is, how to actualize sculpture created on the computer. Years of digitally designing CAD models left me itching to produce sculptures that I could physically touch.

I have been working digitally for roughly 35 years, and the goal from the start was to work in 3D. In those early days, Mac Computers did not have either multi tasking or parallel processing, so, for example, one early piece that I tried to render took 48 hours, all of it down time, and then the Mac froze at the finish and I had nothing. That of course is not true of Mac’s today, but it is what drove me to the PC at the time.

What and when was your first experience with 3D Printing?

Corinne: I first tried 3D printing about 9 years ago. We were producing tiny prototypes then, similar in size to what the desktop 3D printers will output today. Once I had the prototype, I could go the traditional route to making/carving/molding sculpture. The promise, and the joy, of the new 3D printers is that we can move from computer to computer, at least theoretically. Due to the complexities of the software, some human intervention is still required, but we are making progress.

What do you think of the 3D printing industry today? How would like to see this industry evolve in the future?

Corinne: The technology is really in its infancy. We are just learning what it can do, and are still limited in terms of the materials that can be used. But the future is extremely bright. I think that solutions to many problems are suddenly possible with 3D printing: think only of biomedical procedures and manufacturing short cuts.  Cost savings, shortened time, educational opportunities, artificial limbs, housing, just to mention a few, will benefit hugely from this technology. I am extremely optimistic about the future and what it will bring.

Do you have any thoughts on how we could have more women involved with 3D Printing?

Corinne: Why are there so few women in the field? For one thing, we need to encourage more women to go into coding, into computer science, into engineering. Right now most of the people who output my work are mechanical engineers, overwhelmingly male. There is no reason why women can’t fill these jobs, and it is important that we encourage them to do so. We need to start at the elementary school level, to convince women that they can and should go into computer science and engineering.

Thank you Corinne for your time and your involvement with Women in 3D Printing!


If you’re interested in learning more about Corinne, check her website, The Digital Giraffe. You should also check her catalog of CAD models available for sale on Amazon.

And don’t forget to join the Women in 3D Printing group on LinkedIn, click here to join!

 

3 comments

  1. Congratulations Corinne, Its great to see another article about women in sculpture using this technology. I have been watching your work grow, since I wrote the article Perspectives: The Interface: Computers, 3-D Modeling and Women Sculptors (by Mary Visser) for the Sculpture International journal. I have enjoyed your work and its a pleasure to see and read about you on line. http://www.sculpture.org/documents/webspec/visser/women.shtml
    As you know I am passionate about this technology and use it in my own work. I am sorry you could not attend the 37th Brown Symposium on What Things May Come, 3D Printing in the Fine Arts and Sciences at Southwestern University this past spring. You can watch the video’s of the panel discussions at http://www.southwestern.edu/academics/brownsymposium/
    And you can view the exhibition at http://www.arsmathematica.org/BS2015/

    I use the computer as an educational tool, a design tool, and a “what if” tool for creating sculpture which is based upon the dialectic in human and gendered interactions. I have been using this medium since 1985, to help me visualize and present my work. For many sculptors the computer model has opened up a Pandora’s box of unanswered questions and endless possibilities. How has it impacted upon their work, does it change the way they approach their medium, can it really facilitate the execution of their work, does it control their vision too strongly, and most of all why do they use it at all? These questions may not seem gendered related since they apply to the term sculptor. But this article and the panel, I organized for the Computers and Sculptors Forum came about because of my interest in gender differences and an encounter I had with a sociologist. We had been talking about our respective research when he mentioned to me that it was highly unusual for a woman to be interested in computer imaging. He then went on to comment on the rather numerous studies that demonstrated the lack of interest by young girls in using computers or in becoming sculptors. His implication was that it was rare for a woman to be involved in these two very different fields (his words) based upon gender studies. He asked me how many women were involved and I couldn’t give him an answer. Later his remarks caused me to pondered the issue. But it changed from one of how many women, to who and what were they doing with computers? Did it change the way they made or thought about their work? This conversation with someone outside my field made me want to know what other women in sculpture were doing and specifically how they might be using the computer in creating their work. So, I begin my search over the Internet and through my peers for any information on women sculptors who use the computer as a tool in the creation of their work. Well, as I suspected there were a number of women sculptors using computers. Everything from using it as a sketchbook or storehouse for ideas in text form to animating a 3-d model or actually constructing their work via rapid prototyping. For most of us we began in much the same way, looking for some device that would resolve a problem that appeared in the process of creating sculpture. “What I did discover in my search was that there are a large number of sculptors who are using the computer at various stages of development and they just happen to also be women.” … Mary Visser

    Liked by 1 person

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