When we think of art, we don’t really think of model making, art brings up images of pencils and paintbrushes for most. But if you think a little deeper about the array and function of different models you start to see how creative the process is.
In reality model making is a hybrid of art and function. Usually, models are created for some purpose, there is of course the process of artwork fabrication and models that have been created purely for their aesthetic. But in the majority of cases models are there to do a job too.
Think about a model car for example, it needs to look beautiful, but it also needs to be, well, a car! I think the crux of it is that most models are not created to be artwork although most could be considered art. A bit like a handmade piece of beautiful furniture, it has a function, but it could also be viewed as artwork.
How Art and Technology Work Together
In the modern day process of model making, design, art, traditional skills and technology fuse together to enable the most amazing products to be created. Often using CAD software to programme machines to enable pieces to be created by machining and then often finished off or tweaked by hand. A combination of experience, skill and knowledge is combined together to turn ideas into a real tangible thing at the end of it.
This means that the model maker needs to have a wide range of skills and abilities or work in a team that encompasses all of them. It can be very difficult to be proficient in both using technology and creating art. Being to visualise the end result, programming a piece of software to create it, whilst having a god understanding of which materials to use and how to finish the piece off. That’s a lot of different processes to consider all at once.
Working with Artists and Designers
In the case of Artwork Fabrication, the model maker will need to work closely with the artist, trying to get a real understanding of the vision of the artist. Working out how to create what can sometimes be large and complicated pieces of art can be challenging, but often this plays to the professionals’ strengths. After all, what could be more exciting that working on solving a difficult problem?
Designers will also have exacting ideas about what the finished piece will look like as well as how it will function. Trying to draw out this knowledge alongside the images, descriptions and sometimes CAD generated drawings is far more involved than pressing a button on a computer and letting the machines do the rest.
So, is Model Making an Artform?
The answer to this has to be yes. You could argue that in creating prototype components there isn’t anything very artistic involved, so it could depend on the project. But overall, the creation of models has to be.
JH May has worked on a large number of projects with some incredibly creative outcomes, to take a closer look you can find some examples in our case studies section. Please do take a look and let us know what you think.