Apr 8, 2016 | By Kira

What horrors, mysteries and secrets lurk beneath the surface of our everyday lives? And what happens when we choose to let them out? Inspired by the classic cult horror writer H.P. Lovecraft, 3D modeler Shane Bevin set out to explore these questions and more in his 3D printed art project, Doorways.

“I’ve always loved the idea of creeping horrors lurking behind closed doors,” explained Adelaide, Australia-based Bevin, who also goes by the online moniker SpaceBovine. Doorways, still a work in progress, will consist of 15-20 distinct 3D printed and hand-painted vignettes, each representing the moment a particular ‘monster’ breaks through from the underworld and into our own.

Beyond a creative and fantastical visual representation, however, Bevin conceived of Doorways as a broader social commentary: “It is a comment on the idea that there is a lot to our world that we ignore, that we lock away,” he said.

Bevin, a self-described ‘techy kinda guy’, co-founder of Monkeystack, and Digital Media Lecturer at Flinders University, told 3Ders.org that he has always been a fan of horror in art, print, and film. In particular, he is inspired by the work of H.P. Lovecraft, one of the founding fathers of modern horror fiction.

Though he only achieved fame posthumously, Lovecraft is known for writing The Call of Cthulhu, upon which the celebrated Cthulhu Mythos was built. Exploring themes such as forbidden knowledge, the supernatural, and doomed fates, Lovecraft’s work often alludes to freakish, extraterrestrial and uncontrollable monsters: “My somewhat extravagant imagination yielded simultaneous pictures of an octopus, a dragon, and a human caricature,” he wrote. “A pulpy, tentacled head surmounted a grotesque and scaly body with rudimentary wings".

With this cultivated eye for detail, decades of animation and 3D modeling experience, and wild sense of imagination, Bevin set out to bring these fantastical creatures to life via 3D printing technology.

For Doorways, Bevin’s design process began with a brief written description of the particular mood or emotion he wanted to convey. Next, he gathered reference images, and began the first 3D digital sketches. “Most of my experience is in 3DS Max, but for this project I have attempted to follow a pipeline that includes a variety of free or low-cost software,” he told us. “I’ve been using Wings 3D, Sketchup, Tinkercad, Daz Studio, Sculptris and Blender.”

With this arsenal of 3D modeling tools, Bevin set about designing a series of distinct monsters peeking through various doorways of identical shape and size.

“I’ve plucked the theme of tentacles from the Cthulhu Mythos and based many of the monsters around this theme,” he explained. “I’ve also tried to link the doorways and the creatures that are emerging. For example, we have monstrous bug legs emerging from the asylum door, robotic tentacles pushing through the spaceship door and a leechlike creature emerging from the TV. My brain has been marinating in pop culture for years, so there are a few ‘in jokes’ and Easter Eggs among the vignettes.”

For 3D printing, Bevin used his PrintrBot Simple and white PLA filament, which he describes as a ‘forgiving and flexible’ medium. “Not much of my work needs to have structural strength, so PLA seems to fit the bill.” He added that his father managed a plastics company, and having grown up around the smell of melting ABS, the fact that PLA is near odorless is an added bonus.

Each vignette consists of several individually 3D printed components, taking no more than a few hours on the print bed. They are then hand-painted using acrylic paints, without much post-processing required. “The aesthetic that I tend to work in is rough, industrial, weathered and often Steampunk and so visible print layers has actually worked for me on most of my projects,” Bevin said.

The results of his work are so far quite impressive. Bevin’s imagination and artistic instinct are apparent in each miniscule detail: the waterlogged walls of a dingy old bathroom, the tiny antenna sticking out of a retro TV, and the exoskeleton legs of a terrifying insect monster, to name just a few.

Yet what is most striking about Bevine’s 3D printed Doorways project is the work’s overarching message to society:

“There are many lurking horrors in our world. Mental illness, violence, racism, terrorism, abuse, advertising…all things that we, as individuals or as a society, often lock away or ignore. Every now and then the doorway opens and the world sees a glimpse of the darkness beyond. Often we slam the door shut and pretend we saw nothing, but sometimes we instead open the door wider to meet the monster face to face. Once unmasked, we can choose to fight, or choose to hide…or choose to coexist. Should we open the doors? I think that at the very least a peek through the keyhole is the first step in understanding our demons,” explained Bevin.

“Doorways is my attempt to show the moment that the lurking horror breaks through into our world. It is a moment in time and it is up to the viewer to write the story to come.”

Bevin plans to finish the Doorways 3D printed project in the next few months, and hopes to exhibit it during the Adelaide Fringe Festival early next year with an accompanying virtual exhibition. Though Bevin has exhibited his art in the past, this will be his first 3D printed display.

Doorways is a surprisingly percipient comment on how we tend to deal with the issues, both personal and external, that nobody actually wants to deal with, the inner monsters lurking at the edges of perception--and it has been brought to life beautifully via 3D modeling and 3D printing. Be sure to check out Bevin’s other steampunk, horror, and fantasy-related 3D models over at SpaceBovine.



Posted in 3D Printing Application



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