Denis Kraškovič is an independent Croatian artist, best known for sculpture. Although you can find his studio in Jakovlje, his works are present in all parts of Croatia, as well as beyond the borders of our beautiful country. He spent a full two decades as a professor, imparting his skills to young artists, ten of which were dedicated to the Academy for Culture and Arts in Osijek, at the Department of Visual Arts.

We met Denis five years ago when he was a professor at the Academy, seeking a solution for the physical realization of student projects using 3D printing technology. Since then, we’ve maintained a good relationship, and he recently approached us with a much larger project, which brought along a more complex task.

Denis was tasked with creating a large stone sculpture titled ‘Snail,’ which was executed as part of the Mediterranean Sculpture Symposium in Labin in 2020. The sculpting process is by no means easy, just like the process for any artist – it’s important to have a clear image of what you want in physical form, and when you factor in the size of the sculpture, the process becomes even more complicated.

Denis found an excellent solution to that problem. A solution that can serve as an example of the excellent potential of the collaboration between art and 3D printing technology.

The idea was very simple – 3D Tvornica would 3D print a smaller model of the sculpture, a model that Denis could rotate in his hands and examine from all angles. Based on that model, he would work on the actual sculpture. This printed model would serve excellently in transferring the form to a large dimension – sculptors are mostly confined to using photographs for this purpose, but since sculpture is a 3D art form, it’s challenging to capture the depth and size using a 2D representation of the model.

The use of a smaller model, which is physically tangible in the sculptor’s hands, brings a completely new approach to sculpture creation and significantly eases the sculptor’s job by providing a clearer representation of the model. It is then up to the sculptor to scale up the model. Until now, this process has been slower and more challenging because the artist had to create a sketch in dried clay or gypsum – 3D modeling and 3D design are faster and more precise.

Although the most significant advantage of the printed model is facilitating the representation for the artist, it also allows for the quality development of the project, the strength and durability of the model, as well as the possibility of model modifications.

Denis himself realized how much this has eased his work, so he has embarked on learning to use Zbrush, a 3D modeling program. This way, he can further facilitate our work and shorten the time needed for future projects.

Denis personally emphasizes the pleasant communication and the fair client-company relationship as virtues that have made this collaboration pleasant and productive. The new possibilities revealed through this innovation and collaboration between artists and 3D printing experts enable a higher-quality presentation of models and build a bridge between technology and art, making the work of artists much more accessible in the future.

Communication is extremely important, especially when dealing with highly detailed models. It’s crucial for the client to communicate all essential details so that we can create a high-quality model based on those instructions.

Denis agrees with this and claims that quality communication is responsible for discovering new possibilities, especially highlighting the scanning of sculptures using photographs. By overcoming obstacles and building a bridge between technology and art, we have opened a whole field of new possibilities and are creating new values together.

Moreover, we are currently collaborating with Denis and working on a new sculpture, but we’ll keep that as a surprise for the future.

For the print model itself, it took a week, after which Denis immediately started working. Of course, as in any job, we cannot control all elements – so, part of the first model broke during transport with the courier service. Thanks to the client’s understanding and the prompt action of 3D Tvornica, a new model was quickly sent, and this time it safely reached Denis.

At the end of the job, the model itself became the permanent property of the Mediterranean Sculpture Symposium, making it part of the archive of one of the most important sculpture institutions in Croatia.

To quote Denis himself, who speaks not only about this project but observes the bigger picture:

‘The greatest value that this project brought us is the discovery of new possibilities in digital sculpture and the identification of flaws in transferring information through photographs. The possibilities of 3D printing are enormous, and I believe we are just at the beginning of a significant technological process. You have helped me a lot, and I look forward to further collaboration.’

In conclusion, we want to agree with Denis and emphasize the need for greater collaboration between visual artists and professionals in 3D printing technologies! There is still ample room for progress, and we hope to see many more beautiful sculptures in the future in which we have also participated in creating.



Disclaimer: This article was created in collaboration with Denis Kraškovič. All data and statements presented in the article are provided with Mr. Kraškovič’s personal permission.