McArthur Freeman, II, Associate Professor of Video, Animation, and Digital Arts, University of South Florida will be artist in residence at ACCAD April 22-26th and giving a lunch time artist talk on his work April 23rd. McArthur Freeman’s practice explores how concepts of identity construction and hybridity are visually generated. His series “Finding Forms: Organic Abstraction” consists of globular, abstract forms and appendages that are spliced together and covered in skin. The strange mutations suggest familiarity, while simultaneously collapsing into abstraction, proposing the breakdown and reformation of new identities. One such sculpture, titled “Pine App,” began as a speculative drawing—a term used by the artist to express the automatic and intuitive nature of his process. From this step, Freeman translates the drawing into a digital sculpture, fabricates the object using a 3D printer, and finally casts it in bronze. The pseudo-scientific, multi-step process allows the artist to intentionally conceive forms virtually and then physically materialize them in the world. 

As an artist and Associate Professor of Animation and New Media at the University of South Florida, Freeman’s works have ranged from surreal narrative paintings and drawings to digitally constructed objects and animated 3D scenes. His recent works combine three interrelated emerging technologies: digital sculpting, 3D scanning, and 3D printing. His work has been exhibited in over sixty group and solo exhibitions. He has presented talks at SIGGRAPH Asia and more recently at The National Council on Education for Ceramic Arts (NCECA). Freeman is the recipient of the prestigious McKnight Junior Faculty Fellowship. Freeman earned his BFA degree from the University of Florida. He holds both an MFA from Cornell University in Studio Art and a Master of Art and Design from North Carolina State University in Animation and New Media.

In this presentation, he will discuss his reflections on adopting a hybrid creative process, and his journey with traditional and “digital clay” which he use in both his teaching and creative research. The artist notes, ”I push, pull, carve, and mold digital polygons to create sculptural forms.” His use of 3-D scanning and 3-D printing serve as bridges between working with data and physical materials. Additionally, using virtual reality touch controllers or pressure sensitive tablets allows a tactile approach in which he intuitively shapes the forms. Using a range of approaches including Virtual Reality (or VR) sculpting, pressure sensitive graphics tablets, and grayscale image based modeling, he will demonstrate how he and his students use these tools for 3D printing, CNC routing, and digital mold-making. The resulting objects are created in a range of materials including XPS foam, resin, bronze, wood, and ceramics.