Joshua Harker (b.1970) is an American artist considered a pioneer & visionary in 3D printed art & sculpture. His series of “unmakeable” technically complex tangles is credited as the first to break the design & manufacturing threshold of possibility. His pursuit of a process to bring his works into the 3rd dimension culminated after nearly 20 years in a perfect storm of software development, materials engineering, & 3d printing technology advancements. He went on to navigate the creation of his “Tangle” series in the archival material of cast bronze, thus bridging the traditional techniques of the past with technology of the present. To fully appreciate the gravity of the pieces one must understand the practical impossibilities of their existence. This has been considered a landmark event in the history of sculpture & the chronology of the 3D printed medium & has made him one of the most recognized artists in the field. Along with his techniques, subject matter, & execution, his experimentation in the dissemination of his art through digital media & the internet has garnered him international recognition & acclaim. He holds the #1 most funded Sculpture project in Kickstarter history & is among thousands of collections. His work has appeared in countless publications & press worldwide.
Declared a prodigy as a young child, he assumed the identity of an artist from his earliest pursuits. His parents were both artists connected to Grant Wood through his colleague & former student John Bloom & his wife Isabel. Joshua’s young life included post 60’s off-grid communal living, Hell’s Angels babysitters, complete artistic immersion, and family tragedy. Joshua attended the Kansas City Art Institute and St. Ambrose University as well as later studying anatomy & forensic arts. Joshua’s fascination with digital sculpture and 3 dimensional printing technology began as a commercial sculptor and designer in the toy, invention and design, special effects, and product development industries. In the late 90’s he founded a boutique design and development firm servicing some of the largest global properties and corporations. He served as its president & CEO through 2008 after which he left his post to return to art.
“My art is about pushing the limits of form… an exploration into what can be made & how to accomplish it. I incorporate digital tools, software, & technology in my work not only out of utter necessity in the forms I make but also that I feel absolutely compelled to make art with it, to humanize the inhuman as we’ve done with stone, clay, metal, & wood… digital data as medium, computer as chisel, & 3d printer as forge.”
“My art touches on abstract neo-surrealism and is invariably contemporary. Stemming from 2D linear automatism explorations (pioneered by André Masson and practiced notably by Miró, Breton, Dalí, Arp, and Picasso), my “Tangle” series are intended to interpret and share forms evident in the mind’s eye but that cannot otherwise be described. My intent is to explore and give form to the architecture of the imagination. I have begun to apply this practice to representative forms. The linear pattern work is an exploration of the 3 dimensional surface giving a new identity to the shape & inviting the viewer to discover the form through the gentle visual lead of the pattern. I am currently bridging my 2D & 3D work via projection mapping my images & animations onto my sculptures in large scale live installations. The intention is to explore incorporating the 4th dimension of time into my pieces.”
“Bolstered by the advent of sculptural softwares, 3D printing technologies and material engineering, my visions are now able to be realized sculpturally in archival materials. Never before have forms of this organic complexity been able to be created. This boon of technology is a revolutionary time for the arts and one which will be boldly marked in history. I am honored to be considered one the pioneers in the medium.”