"Do what you love for those who love what you do"

Engineer v/s Artist

cerveau de geekYeow! When personality worlds collide adjustments must be made. Two inner worlds within me are in competition. The engineering mind and the artistic mind. Not unbearable strife, but I need to tell myself which one to listen to… Ha!

The engineer is all about measurements and precision. Minute detail about size and precise shape. Designing by the numbers.

The artist is shape and form. All about appearance and impression. Nothing needs to be measured if it “looks right”. 

The reality is neither work alone. It is a partnership. When cutting wood to build a precise bookcase, dimension is important. If carving wood (or wax) or modeling in clay, exact measuring becomes a minor consideration. 

With pure art, sometimes the impression is more important than dimensionally correct details. Art has many variations with all the “rules” bendable and begging to be broken. Rules are self-imposed for the artist’s intended purpose. Teach the rules but explore the alternatives.

The engineer wants/needs everything defined. Leave no detail to chance.

Presently I am trying to explore the softer artistic side. More of the “organic”, natural look and feel that impression art can provide. Size and proportion are important, perhaps critical, but the exact measurement is not.

It’s like the difference between “hand crafted” and “manufactured”. There is a lot of manufactured, identical art, of course. 

Three-dimensional printing or CNC 3D wax carving is a manufacturing process. Either taken solely on its own, is not art or a craft. But it certainly can be a step in a more involved artistic process. That’s one of my goals. Use dimensional printing and CNC 3D carving as a tool for creative design. If I need or want identical items, the printer or milling machine can make them. Usually with more detail and accuracy than I can obtain by hand-work.

Software exists for creating organic drawing necessary for a computer-controlled manufacturing process. I am exploring the possibilities. It’s like “mechanical drawing” CAD without strict dimensional constraints.

I am not promoting what software is best or what I use. That is for another time, perhaps. I am a total novice, so what I may say, or think about software is not important. Just admitting it is a very new experience.

I have not abandoned the desire to go back to total manual (no computer) use of hand tools using conventional materials. I love carving wax by hand or three-dimensional printing something I have designed. I have often used a sketch or picture as a guide when using hand tools but no exact measurements.

The artist in me is telling the engineer to relax the rigid exact and accurate dimensional constraint inherent when designing on a computer. When that is not important. Don’t design to scale when trying to be organically creative. Scale is almost impossible with the organic design. Think about how sculpting and carving is done without the computer.

The difference is between an artists’ impression and a mechanical build drawing.

To me a highly detailed mechanical drawing is a work of art. Most people consider the artist’s rendering to be more like art. Must be why it’s call that. I am trying to be creative towards the latter.

Can the artist and the engineer be the same person? Or is that an Oxymoron? I hope not! Ha!


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