- by Dhemerae Ford
Meet Dhemerae: The Longer Story
A little insight into just what 1/2 of TheLaserGirls is all about. This post will go through some of my personal interests as well as catalogue a bit of my history before Sarah and I ended up getting to where we are now. I'll try to keep it as interesting and short-winded as possible.
Nausicaa, from the manga "Nausicaa of the Valley of the Wind" by Hayao Miyazaki
2004 - Mitaka, Japan
It all started here. Well, I wasn't born there or anything, but the beginning of what I would consider my creative spark began here when I was 12. Born and raised in Utah, I was both blessed and cursed with a father who was always travelling for work. As I got older, I was lucky enough to tag along on some of his more interesting trips out of the country. This trip was one of them.
If you've never been to the Ghibli Museum in Mitaka, or if you've never been to Mitaka in general, I highly reccomend it. It's a beautiful and quiet town, a great break from the hustle and bustle of Tokyo city. The museum itself is gorgeous and I invite you to take a look at some pictures to inspire your own trip to Japan. This trip was what inspired me to want to become an animator, or at the very least an artist in my own right.
Entrance to the museum, 2004. You can see the giant, life-size metal statue of the robot from "Castle in the Sky"
I was always into painting as a child, and I also had an extremely deep love for animals. Naturally Hayao Miyazaki's movies really spoke to me. Totoro and Princess Mononoke being my two favorite. Oh, and Kiki's delivery service if I could pick a third. Truthfully, they're all brilliant films and if you have kids, I would actually start them on his films before getting them hooked onto Disney. Truthfully, the stortelling coupled with strong independent (mostly female) main characters, makes them much better films for kids.
There are SO many hidden surprises like this at the museum, so keey your eyes out when you go. I almosted missed this little gem outside the entrance.
2009 - New York, NY
Fast forward to my college days as a Studio Art major with a painting concentration at New York University. I truly loved painting, I had been painting my whole life. However I realized quickly that:
a) I'm actually not that great of a painter
b) I not good at the whole painting spontaneously from my brain thing that the others seemed to be doing
Technically speaking, I was pretty good. Oil painting and Silkscreen grew on me quickly because it allowed me to create more photorealistic work. I was particularly inspired by man-made mechanical structures, and found myself replicating photos I had taken of oil refineries, calculators, typewriters and random machines. Basically anything that had an excessive amount of gears, I was replicating on a canvas. That was really what I loved, trying to make something look exactly like the thing I was trying to copy, and I enjoyed the challenge.
"Untitled", silkscreen exctracted from some mechanical drawings (2012)
But alas, this was not something that was going to make me a great artist and it certainly wasn't very respected at the art school I went to. At the time, my program was geared more at conceptual thinking and creation, rather than focusing on learning studio techniques. And to be honest, even though I wasn't as interested in making conceptual work at the time, my program gradually changed my relationship with modern and conceptual art. And soon enough I was craving a different relationship with my own work, one that was very rooted in a conceptual framework.
Well, battling with the rather shallow nature of my work during my sophemore year of college took a toll on me and I fell into a bout of depression. I had lost a lot of the inspiration and drive to make work anymore.
After I had decided not to transfer schools, I made one of the best decisions of my career which was to try something else. I took almost every other class offered by my department unrelated to painting (exlcuding ceramics which to this day I regret!). One of these classes was an "intro to digital manufacturing" class. I had no idea exactly what that meant at the time but I had heard that we would get to learn about 3D printing. Now me being a hardcore sci-fi/cyberpunk nerd, I was sold by that prospect alone and signed up for the class as soon as I was elligible to take it.
That class was really what changed my depression around. I had found a completely different way of creating art that challenged me technically and reignited my inspiration. I was fascinated by the up-in-coming new manufacturing method of 3D printing. I was excited to hear about all the new materials that were creating 3D printed objects.
"Peeps!" (2012) Polymer Powder Print, My first 3D Printed Project
Even more inspiring was the conversation around where 3D printing was going, and how it could be useful in pretty much every industry you can think of, from aerospace to consumer electronics. I imagine this excitement was very similar to the discussions surrounding the future of computers in the late 70s and early 80s.
(fyi, if you want a great history lesson on computers and want to see some old historical working relics. I highly recommend going to the Vintage Computer Festival in New Jersey. They even have some old video game consols you can play)
Anyway, all it really took to get me out of my funk, was trying something new and having a professor who's philosophy was to make what you love, and do what you love. I was hooked on 3D modeling and printing and that's all I wanted to do for the rest of my undergraduate career.
"Planned Obsolescence" (2013) Polymer Powder Print, ongoing series
And that's exactly what I did. Long story short, I helped found TheLaserGirls and continue my healthy obsession with 3D modeling, 3D printing and everything inbetween. This blog will hopefully become a forum for me to share what I've learned and what I continue exploring in my own art-making process.