Revolutionizing Art: Atang Tskikare’s Sculpture 3D Printed in Just 20 Days


3D printing consistently astounds us with its diverse applications. Many of these enable us to let our creativity flow freely and bring our thoughts and ideas to life. This is especially evident in the realm of art & design, where we can envision impossible designs with a 3D printer. In the most recent development, Artist Atang Tshikare, a native of Bloemfontein, one of South Africa’s three capitals, has successfully produced a striking design thanks to additive manufacturing in an incredibly short amount of time. In under 17 days, he fabricated a 3m long, 3D printed sculpture for South Africa’s Time Out Market.

Cape Town-based Atang Tshikare has carved a niche for himself in the art community. Some of his most well-known collaborations include Adidas, Puma, L’Oréal, and Dior, and his work was showcased at the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York two years ago. Over his career, he has cultivated expertise in numerous artistic mediums, from graffiti to painting. However, it is now, two decades into his art career, that he has employed 3D printing for the first time to create his sculpture known as ‘Hui! Gaeb’, translating as: where the clouds meet.

For his latest piece, the 3D printed sculpture, he drew inspiration from the natural landscape of Cape Town, encapsulating it in a transportation-themed design. A fascinating aspect of the sculpture is that the majority of the transport featured are boats, a testament to the city’s maritime setting. Besides demanding labor-intensive and complex work, the commission Atang Tshikare received to create the sculpture also required a swift turnaround. The deadline imposed was a mere 17 days, compelling Atang to operate rapidly. It was 3D printing and its capabilities that facilitated the punctual completion of the artwork.

Working alongside Form Farm and Crayon Artel, Atang Tshikare and his design studio, Zabalazaa Design, set about their task. Initially, they had at their disposal one functioning FDM printer and two resin printers. Scrutinising their 17-day timeframe, they quickly realised that with just these printers, it would be impossible to meet the deadline. Neo Waterson, co-founder of Form Farm, provides an insight into the solution, stating, “With almost the full order amount, and then some, we expanded our capacity to 20 Creality desktop 3D printers within a few days.

Once the 16 new Creality Ender-3 V2 3D printers and 20 kilos of filament were acquired, they set to work to manufacture the more than 1,000 pieces needed for the sculpture. All of them were glued and assembled by hand by the team, allowing them to finish on time. In addition, a curious fact is that there is very little filling in the pieces of the sculpture, specifically 1%. This is due to the fact that the sculpture is designed to be hung at a height of 4m, and if not, with more padding, i.e. more weight, it is possible that the support would not be able to support it.

Whether he will try and recreate this incredible feat remains to be seen. However, it is undeniable that creating such a magnificent piece in such a short period of time is only feasible thanks to technologies like additive manufacturing. In any case, we look forward to seeing what the next incredible masterpiece to come out of the art world thanks to 3D printing will be.

What do you think of this 3D printed sculpture from Atang Tshikare? Let us know in a comment below or on our LinkedIn, Facebook, and Twitter pages! Don’t forget to sign up for our free weekly newsletter here, the latest 3D printing news straight to your inbox! You can also find all our videos on our YouTube channel.

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“Why did the 3D printer go to therapy? Because it had too many layers of unresolved issues!”

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