Film, I shall miss you, R.I.P.

Actually, I don’t miss film at all.  I love digital photography and carry a real digital camera (not just a phone camera) on my belt all day, every day.  When I do want to shoot analog I go back to the 1860’s and do wet-plate collodion pictures.  I am perfectly happy to skip the 20th century picture taking technologies.  But I do miss some things about film.  It did force me to think carefully about what was important or interesting enough to photograph.  On the flip side, digital gives me the freedom to experiment and not worry about running out of film or the incremental cost of each exposure.


Thinking about the demise of film inspired me to make a new sculpture – a 3D printed artist book titled “Undeveloped” which contains a roll of 35mm film.  As in all of my 3D printed book sculptures, the content is sealed inside and inaccessible.  The book is an edition of 10 and is 4.75″ x 3.625″ x 1.25″ translucent PLA resin, the box is 3D printed PLA 5.75″ x 4.75″ x 2.25″ with a sliding honeycomb grid top and has a hand rubbed silver patina finish. I just can’t escape those silver processes!  Since Kodak is the poster child for the casualties of the transformation from film to digital I used a yellow PLA for the box which is visible inside but not outside.  You can figure out the symbolism.

Bill_Westheimer-Undeveloped_21 Bill_Westheimer-Undeveloped_22


Dead tree books

I feel like I might be the last person who is reading words on paper.  I like the newspaper, I love books (I even love e-books) I love holding a real old fashioned paper book of words and pictures.  But the pace of change in the publishing world is dizzying.

My recent 3D printed book is all about that change from dead tree books to the future of publishing – kindle, nook, and who knows what is next?  Titled “Cellulose” this PLA resin book sculpture contains pine shavings and a raised image of a tree debossed on the front and embossed on the back.  It lives in a handmade basswood box with a burgundy velvet lining and walnut trim.  Yes, I even know how to make stuff like the box with my hands and no computer.

Bill_Westheimer-Cellulose_book__0005 Bill_Westheimer-Cellulose_book__0006 Bill_Westheimer-Cellulose_book__0009 Bill_Westheimer-Cellulose_book__0010 Bill_Westheimer-Cellulose_book__0022

I am thrilled that the first place Cellulose will be exhibited is Alicia Bailey’s Abecedarian Gallery in Denver for the upcoming Content: Artifact show curated by Katherine Crowe, Curator of Special Collections and Archives, University of Denver Libraries, Denver, Colorado. Running from September 17th to October 31, 2015 the opening reception is September 18.

The book in an edition of 10 and is translucent PLA resin with pine shavings sealed inside 4.875” x 3.75” x 1”, the box is basswood with walnut trim and velvet lining 6.125” x 5” x 2”

Paper Work

Massoura Breaks

Borderlands returns to Denver at The Mike Wright Gallery for the show “Paper Work” which opens July 31 and continues until September 5, 2015. The gallery is at 1412 Wazee Street and is open Tuesday – Saturday 11am – 8pm.

Featuring works on paper by Valerio D’Ospina, Sabine Danze, Yunior Hurtado, Laura Guese, Doug Kacena, Bill Westheimer and introduces artist Samuel Gomez.  Gomez, a new addition to the gallery’s roster, will be showing two monumental works and debuting his first ever set of limited editions. He will be in good company, exhibiting along side some of the gallery’s most collected talents, many of whom work primarily on canvas. “Paper Work” represents a unique opportunity to collect these artists at their most affordable.

Two of my Borderlands images were shown at Hinterland Artspace for the Denver Month of Photography, so I am thrilled that I can shown them again in Denver for those who missed the first show.

The Mike Wright Gallery is a very cool place where you can enjoy art, have a beer or a glass of wine, or join them for a free movie Tuesday nights all summer long.

Silver Sunbeam

In 1864 the world was fascinated with the new technology of photography.  Images were being captured in new and exciting ways, reality was being fixed using light and chemistry.  Artists and enthusiasts and alchemists were experimenting with all sorts of ways to create photographic images.  John Towler M.D. wrote “The Silver Sunbeam” a ground breaking book of recipes for the first handbook of photographic processes.  He subtitled it “A Practical and Theoretical Text-Book on Sun Drawing and Photographic Printing: comprehending all the Wet and Dry Processes at present known, with CCollodion, Albumen, Gelatine, Wax, Resin and Silver; as also  Heliographic Engraving, Photolithography, Photozincography, Celestial Photography, Photography in Natural Colors …….”  Digitized versions of the 1864 original are available.

It was a very special book and a rousing success “due to it’s remarkable comprehensiveness. There is hardly a single photographic process then known [in 1864] that is not described in such detail that any competent operator can work it now.  It is a prime source of information about photographic technology in the formative years between 1839 and 1863.” (from the Morgan and Morgan reprint dust jacket.)  Morgan and Morgan published a reprint of the book in 1969 which can usually be found on Amazon despite being out of print.

And now I have published my own limited edition artist book of this iconic book.

Silver Sunbeam Silver Sunbeam Silver Sunbeam

In my edition of ten the book is 3D printed in a translucent PLA resin with a wet-plate tintype on the front and sealed inside is a USB flash drive holding the PDF of the 1864 edition encased in a facsimile of the book. The 3D printed hinged box is hand rubbed silver patinated PLA resin with a unique glass plate photogram in the cover.

book 5.875″ x 4″ x 1″, box 7″ x 5.125″ x 2″ Edition of 10, $4000 each

Concealed Confined and Collected

Two of my 3D printed artist books “Wm. S. – The Complete works of William Shakespeare” and “Visions in the Dark” are included in the exhibit “Reader’s Art: Concealed, Confined and Collected” at the Minnesota Center for Book Arts 1011 Washington Ave. S. #100, Minneapolis MN 55415  from May 8 – July 26, 2015

3d printed book

Wm. S. – The Complete Works of William Shakespeare

3D printed book

3D printed Visions In The Dark book and slipcase

Closing reception Friday, July 24; 6-9pm as part of the Book Arts Art Crawl

I’m honored to have my work shown with these featured artists:

Islam Aly (Iowa City, IA)
Alex Appella (Salem, OR)
La Thoriel Badenhausen (New York, NY)
Young-ju Choi (Goyang, South Korea)
Pam Cooper (Upper Saddle River, NJ)
Cecile Cote (Montreal, Quebec, Canada)
Christopher Davenport (Tuscaloosa, AL)
Livia Paola Di Chiara (Flumeri, Italy)
Su Fahy (Bristol, U.K.)
Jean Formo (Savage, MN)
Susanna Gaunt (Duluth, MN)
Cindy Gipple (St. Paul, MN)
Barbara Harman (Minneapolis, MN) with Kari Bloom
Pat Hodson (Yorkshire, U.K.)
Monica Howell (Minneapolis, MN)
Robert S. Hunter (Colonial Beach, VA)
Joan Iverson Goswell (Valencia, PA)
Ravikumar Kashi (Bangalore, India)
Carole P. Kunstadt (West Hurley, NY)
Sammy Lee (Denver, CO)
Anna Mavromatis (Houston, TX)
Kevin McFadden (Charlottesville, VA)
Cathryn Miller (Grasswood, Saskatchewan, Canada)
Elizabeth Munger (Iowa City, IA) with Mark Munger
Hanne Nieder (Boca Raton, FL)
Leslie Nobler (Little Falls, NJ)
Erin Paulson (Philadelphia, PA)
Maria G. Pisano (Pleinsboro, NJ) with Michael Pisano
Bernd W. Plake (Luneburg, Germany)
David Ruhlman (Sauk Rapids, MN)
Lucy May Schofield (Fukuoka, Japan)
Jaime Lynn Shafer (Reno, NV)
Betsy Stirratt (Bloomington, IN)
Carmen A. Tostado (Yucca Valley, CA)
Bill Westheimer (West Orange, NJ)
Sara White (Tuscaloosa, AL)

AIPAD 2015

I’ll be back at AIPAD April 16-19 at the Park Avenue Armory at 643 Park Avenue between 65th & 66th Streets.  The annual art fair of the Association of International Photography Dealers is a highlight of my year. A whirlwind opportunity to see great photography old and new, see old friends, meet new friends, and sell some of my work.  I’ll be at Charles Schwartz Ltd.’s booth #423 (in the “exclusive” back left corner of the Armory) Thursday through Sunday, every day 11am until closing.

Ezekiel Hawkins - Portrait of Jaguar Tamer

Ezekiel Hawkins – Portrait of Jaguar Tamer

Charles will be showing an amazing collection of vintage photography including this wonderful half plate daguerreotype by Ezekiel Hawkins of a jaguar tamer. This photo session with Hawkins yielded what are probably the oldest surviving daguerreotypes on this rare subject (a wild animal in the presence of a human).

3d printed book and box

Not nearly as historic, but perhaps as interesting (if I say so myself) will be my new 3D printed artist books.  I’ll be featuring this “Coolpix” which contains a Nikon camera complete with a memory card holding stills and video of the making of the book.  The camera and memory card are sealed inside the book.  It comes in a 3D printed custom box.  I’ll have some other new 3D printed artist books at the show, too.

Ascent at The Montclair Art Museum Gala

Ascent animation

A group of seven of the 3D printed sculptures from my Ascent Project will be auctioned at the Montclair Art Museum Gala of the Arts on April 11th.  Come to the gala, have a fun night and support the museum and pick up some art for your collection!

Featured Artists: Mona Brody,  Gwen Charles, Nora Chavooshian, Willie Cole, Lorraine DeProspo, Dan Fenelon, Andy Foster, Alyce Gottesman, Diane Israel, Joyce Korotkin, Robert Lach, Jennifer Levine, Monica Litvany, Yvette Lucas, Susan Marx, Tom Nussbaum, Sharon Pitts, Claire Rosen, Elizabeth Smith Jacobs, Jon Taner, Janet Taylor Pickett, Katie Truk, Kati Vilim, Bill Westheimer, Lisa Westheimer

Mud and Fire and 3D Printing

Tayo Heuser's 3D printed ceramic sculpture

Tayo Heuser’s 3D printed ceramic sculpture

3D printing is fascinating, witness the media hype (3d printed guns?) and artists are not immune.  I got the bug early and have been 3D printing since working on the Ascent Project back in 2010. Ceramic artists are doing it too.

I spent a few days at the NCECA ceramics conference in Providence RI where I saw two presentations about 3D printing ceramics.  3D printing is a broad term that covers all sorts of technologies. And the ceramics people have tried several – FDM (Fused Deposition Modeling – which is like the PLA resin process I have been using) where a slurry of ceramic slip is extruded into the sculptures.  This is much like old fashioned coil construction that potters are familiar with.  But more common in the ceramic arts today is a powder which is solidified by a binder which is sprayed on the powder layer after layer.  When the shape is completed the un-sprayed, un-bound powder is removed (and can be reused) revealing a piece of green-ware ready for bisque firing, glazing and final firing.  This process allows for much more complex shapes thanks to the support provided by the un-bound powder.  Another 3D printing process I saw was using the 3D CAD file to define a shape which was CNC milled (subtractive manufacturing) in aluminum which was then used to cast a plaster mold which was then used for conventional ceramic slip-casting.  In theory they can simply FDM print in PLA and then use it for a “lost PLA” mold like the traditional “lost wax” molding technique.

ceramic robot

Marnia Johnston’s TE+ND ceramic robot

The first lecture was by Marnia Johnston, an artist and educator in San Francisco who talked about her project to build a ceramic robot. The robot is inspired by Theo Jansen’s strandbeests. She did some very sophisticated CAD designing in Rhino and Grasshopper and Solidworks which was rapid prototyped in a FDM PLA process until it was ready to be CNC machined in aluminum that was then used to create a plaster mold for slip casting.  It seemed a long way around the barn, but I suppose it was necessary to use the aluminum castings instead of PLA models to ensure the molds were precise enough to make the functioning robot sufficiently robust.  The slip-cast parts were fired and glazed and assembled with real bearings, motors, and a computer to guide the robot to follow the sun.

The second event was a panel discussion centered on “HIfire RESolutions – 3D Printing in Clay” an exhibit of 3D printed ceramics at Chazan Gallery . The show included work by Kate Blacklock (curator), Jonathan Bonner, Chris Gustin, Tayo Heuser and Andrew Raftery. They used a variety of approaches, but mostly used the powdered ceramic technology. All of the artists worked with a digital tech to realize their visions.

Chris Guston tea bowl

Chris Guston’s wood fired, 3D printed tea bowl

I found Guston’s work most appealing because it combines his non-digital aesthetic with the new ways of working.  He started by recording the resonant tones of a song being sung into one of his traditionally created urns.  Then he used the wave-form of the song to create a shape which was then repeated to become a cup shaped form.  Finally he digitally deformed the cup form to be more like a tea bowl like those he makes by hand.  The piece was 3D printed and wood fired.

I continue to be amazed at how each artist uses the technologies in their own personal ways. Affordable 3D printing for artists is in it’s infancy so there is going to be a lot of experimentation and learning.  I left NCECA with a lot to think about.

Las Vingeles comes to Jersey City

My panoramic landscape “Las Vingeles” from the Borderlands series will be included in the “After Image” exhibit at Art House Productions in Jersey City from April 3 to May 29, 2015.  The show was curated by Arthur Bruso and Raymond E. Mingst of Curious Matter.

Las Vingeles

The print is 24″ x 110″.  ArtHouse is at 136 Magnolia Avenue, Jersey City.  The opening is Saturday April 4th from 3 – 6 p.m. I will be there, please come by to say “hey.”

Photonic Drawing at CORE New Art Space

My photogram tintype “Photonic Drawing #10” will be part of the “Rendered” show at CORE New Art Space March 26 – April 12, 2015.  Juror Lesha Rodriguez selected only 23 photographs from the 250 submitted.
Photonic Drawing 10

Photonic Drawing #10 is a photogram on a 8″x6″ collodion wet-plate “tintype” on powder-coated titanium.  Lenses were balanced on the wet collodion surface and exposed with a hand-held light.

The gallery is located at 900 Santa Fe Drive, Denver and the artists reception is Friday April 3 6-9 p.m. Unfortunately, I cannot attend.