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According to trendwatchers, 3D-printing is the next big thing: in the near future, every household will own a printer that is capable of printing digital three-dimensional objects into a physical object. In the process that is best known under the name ‘Additive Manufacturing’, a 3D-printer builds up a model layer by layer by selectively hardening liquid or powder.
If this powder is a plaster-like material, a model can be directly printed in full color. The 3D-printing of delicate and colored models is far from being just pushing a button, but requires great technical skills. Therefore only a few specialize in this technique and there is no artist who pushes the boundaries colorized 3D-prints as far as Eric van Straaten.
There is no technique that is capable of achieving such a great degree of hyper(sur)realism as 3D-modeling. At the same time, 3D printing is the only technique with which virtual models can be made actually physically touchable. Physical expressiveness in form and content is the biggest strength of the work of Eric van Straaten: while the sculptures remain to have a certain digital feel to them, the pieces contain a weirdly eroticized corporeality. Balancing on the edge of kitsch, the marzipan-like quality of the material resonates beautifully with the apparent innocence of the scenery.