May 1, 2016 | By Tess

The expression “heart of gold” typically conjures ideas of generosity, kindness, and good nature, as even Canadian folksinger Neil Young sang about the eternal search for his own heart of gold. Now, however, Toronto-based artist Brendon McNaughton is hoping to add another dimension to the expression through his recently exhibited sculptural piece, Heart of Gold. The sculpture, an actual heart made of gold, was made using 3D scanning and 3D printing technologies and is raising questions about the inequalities that exist in the gold industry, as well as within wealth at large.

The 26 year old artist, who was raised in Toronto but has traveled all over the world, was inspired to create his piece after seeing first hand the conditions and the plights of gold mining workers in Kalgoorlie, Australia. Not only was he struck by the conditions however, but also the contradictions within the element of gold itself, as the miners who risked their lives everyday to extract the valuable metal, were payed almost nothing.

Wanting to shed some light on the problematic and unbalanced gold industry, as well as to make his audiences question the consequences of wealth and value, McNaughton set to work on creating his anatomically correct Heart of Gold.

To create his piece, McNaughton consulted with the Toronto-based 3D scanning and 3D printing company Objex Unlimited, to see how best to create his provocative sculpture. After creating a digital 3D model of a human heart based off of an MRI scan from an anonymous donor, McNaughton and Objex Unlimited set to work additively manufacturing the model. The heart was printed on a ProJet 6000 Stereolithography 3D printer, and subsequently cast in bronze. The gold plating of the heart was done by hand by McNaughton, who used 22 carat Manetti Gold Leaf, the very same type of gold leaf used in the opulent decorations of the Palace of Versailles, as well as the Windsor Castle.

McNaughton, who began creating his 3D printed Heart of Gold project in 2014, is currently showcasing his piece as part of his most recent exhibition Nest Egg, which will be on until May 1st, 2016. The exhibition is hosted by Toronto’s Corkin Gallery. Aside from the exhibition, McNaughton will also continue to create his hearts of gold on a commission basis, for the cost of $30,000, which he will donate to further cardiac research at his alma mater York University.

“I want to provide a foundation for people to have dialogues about the relationship between the ultra-wealthy and the wage workers who might be getting injured or are just scraping by in life. What [the sculpture is] doing is that it’s trying to understand our ideas and our perception of gold,” explained McNaughton.

McNaughton’s 3D printed Heart of Gold surely reflects his own heart of gold, as the conscientious artist is also planning on beginning a collection of stories about people with hearts of gold, in the traditional sense.



Posted in 3D Printing Application



Maybe you also like:


truth wrote at 5/2/2016 10:52:41 PM:

really what passes for art now days?

Leave a comment:

Your Name:


Subscribe us to Feeds twitter facebook   

About provides the latest news about 3D printing technology and 3D printers. We are now seven years old and have around 1.5 million unique visitors per month.

News Archive