Centre for Fine Print Research University of the West of England Centre for Fine Print Research
  The British Channel Seen from the Dorsetshire Cliffs (detail) 1871

Paul Laidler and Brendan Reid

Professional Practice

Ray Kinsella

Medium: 3D Rapid Protoyping Print
Substrate: Plaster and binder
Substrate dimensions: 5cm x 5cm x 5cm
Image dimensions: 5cm x 5cm x 5cm
Edition size: Limted

Ray Kinsella was produced as part of the series of artworks Build it and they will come; a collaboration between myself and the artist Brendan Reid that refers to architectural practice within a fine art context. The work contains a series of four quotes that have architectural connotations and are printed using rapid prototyping technology to create three dimensional, text-based objects. The three dimensional printing process is used as device to create a series of self-referential dialogues within the work.


For example the three-dimensional printed text of Sol LeWitt’s statement "The idea becomes a machine that makes the art" (Sol LeWitt (1928-2007), in "Paragraphs on Conceptual Art", Artforum, Summer issue, 1967) refers to both idea and process. Here the rapid prototyping process is used for its industrial function - as a machine that produces prototypes rather than creating final artworks. The technology is commonly used in architectural practices to produce concept models/ ideas, which makes the three-dimensional printing device essentially an ‘ideas machine’. In this instance the machine becomes an idea that makes the art. Reid and I share a mutual interest in the oscillation of two-dimensional and three-dimensional graphic forms, and we approach this from both perspectives. The fine art context emanates from collaborative practice in art and the ensuing self-referential play between image and object, process and idea.

From these dual perspectives Ray Kinsella exists as a series of artworks that include 3D and 2D printing methods. The marriage of these two spatial and graphic concerns is alluded to through the photographic recording of the 3D print, both upon and within a 2D printed surface (see illustration). With this in mind photography is not used as a means to objectively document the physical work. Instead the photographic recording is indicative of a ‘photosculpture’ that utilises the inherent qualities of photography to recreate the sculptural form anew.

Ray Kinsella (played by Kevin Costner in the 1989 film Field of Dreams), a crop farmer, is walking through his field one evening where he hears a voice uttering the words ‘If you build it, he will come’. After pondering the meaning of the words, Kinsella decides to construct a baseball pitch in his cornfield despite the financial risks to his farm and family. Not completely sure why he is making the pitch the compulsion to do so outweighs any thoughts of purpose for, or economic return from the pitch. The compulsion to make has many parallels with art and its intended function (to be received by an audience). Towards the end of the film the baseball pitch becomes an attraction as it is deemed that ‘people will come’. Ray Kinsella was the first text piece that initiated the Build it and they will come project, and as with the film character Ray Kinsella, the work had no intended audience, it was just a feeling that something had to be realised. The realisation was due to the fact that for the idea to function as an artwork, it had to be more than an idea. As an idea the words ‘build it and they will come’ remained a solitary and silent voice. For the idea to be ‘heard’ the text requires audience participation, therefore the work refers to itself as an object for exhibition - to physically exist in a space where ‘people will come’.


The design and photographic recording for the 5cm2 text block was developed using an open source software programme called SWTSG 1.2.1. This specific software allows users to modify and generate the complete animated title sequence for 20th Century Fox credits. The image above was captured as a screen grab before being printed framed and presented in the style of an LCD screen. Both the 3D printed text piece and the wall mounted printed were exhibited at the 3D2D3D: Object and Illusion in Print, at the Edinburgh Printmakers Gallery, 18th Sep - 30th Oct 2010.


Another three-dimensional printed artefact in the series, references more specifically the notion of art collaboration, and is a printed quote “This town ain’t big enough for the both of us” produced as an artwork titled The Western Code (in homage to the first time this phrase was used, spoken by the character Nick Grindell, in the film The Western Code, 1932). The work itself poses a question - can artists really collaborate given the individual status assigned to the discipline? Art’s association with individual expression as the highest form of originality has devalued the collaborative venture in art. Art as a discipline is predominantly taught from an ‘individual’ perspective and historically the making of art is steeped in self-indulgence and vanity. Unlike art, the acceptance of collaboration as a means of making is a common practice within architecture. ‘This town ain’t big enough for the both of us’ intends to bring to the foreground art’s collaborative dilemma as a means to ‘build’ a successful collaborative work.