Old Techniques & New Technologies: A Match Made In [creative] Heaven

UAP’s creative process involves the marrying of new technologies with traditional techniques. Art and its methods and intentions has been in existence for as long as humanity. Over time techniques used to create art evolve and new technologies are constantly being developed to assist and streamline processes. Our designers and manufacturers recognise the importance of embracing new technologies, in addition to tried and true processes, to best achieve a creative’s vision.

Senior Principal of Art + Design, Jamie Perrow describes the Art + Design team mission to

“extend creative practice, explore and experiment with new manufacturing techniques and process-enhancing technologies we now have at our disposal.

While certain technologies might be new for use in the art and architecture industries, many are adopted from other sectors and given significance and purpose for the creative process. Take, for example, robotics: traditionally used in the automotive industry to assist in car manufacturing, robotic arms are now being used to design and create works of art. Permanently located in the UAP Brisbane workshop, the Kuka six-axis robotic arm, was recently used in the production of an editioned artwork Poll, by Melbourne artist Emily Floyd.

Virtual Reality originally introduced for the world of gaming, is similarly being used by UAP to allow artists to better visualise their concepts in the public space, and as a method for designers easily manipulate scale in real-time. Most often used in the medical industry, 3D scanning is also being adopted to inform the creative process. Models or maquettes are often scanned and turned into a digital file, streamlining the ability to make iterations and refining a creative’s concept.

While these modern technologies are ‘borrowed’ from other industries, there are many traditional tools, methods and know-how, which fabricators must call upon to truly deliver a creative’s vision — some of which span centuries, if not more. For example, the best way to capture elements in Judy Watson’s Tow Row sculpture and Florentijn Hofman’s Kraken playscape, was to use and collaborate with local and indigenous experts on weaving, and crocheting techniques.

Other traditional trades and skills are also adopted, including carpentry (used to make models for Emily Floyd’s Poll), glass-making (for the coloured glass inserts placed into the canopy structures of the Bouroullec brothers’ Nuage: Promenade), spray painting (used to create a vibrant gloss pink finish for J. MAYER H. und Partner’s XXX Times Square with Love installation) and blacksmithing (used to mould, pour and carve Brian Robinson’s Ocean Guardian).

With a wealth of experience from varied backgrounds, UAP staff lend their knowledge and expertise to both emerging and established creatives, offering insights into specific technologies and techniques, championing creative vision. Artist Liaison Mary Stuart is a mosaicist who created the Centenary of Women’s Suffrage Fountain at Old Parliament House and worked alongside artist Marion Borgelt to create Murdoch Music. Adam Meisenhelter a Project Manager from the Brisbane studio used his trade in fine furniture and joinery to advise on the Helensvale Plaza Stone Animals and the timber divide symbol artwork at the Silkstone Shopping Centre. Pattern Making Lead Ian Kath worked as a prop designer on movies for many years — and used the same textures and assembly methods for Laurel Nannup’s First Contact, as he did making an impact wall on The Matrix. A qualified boiler maker, Head of Finishing Matteo Fantini understands all the properties of metals and how they behave when physically manipulated. Richard Stride is a practising visual artist, in his role as Lead Designer Stride calls upon his knowledge of form, scale, material and finish to collaborate effectively with artists who work with UAP.

The power of mixing old and new can be seen in the varied artworks UAP has developed. Each project is unique, and the UAP team are able to lend their experience and knowledge to collaborate with creatives and assist in achieving their vision. New technologies will continue to be embraced as they add value and scope to design and manufacturing — processes already rich in knowledge and techniques.

Subscribe to stay up-to-date with new collaborations and industry news now.

Text by Clare Christensen for UAP

Images Inline (top to bottom): 1. Leecee Carmichael weaving for Judy Watson’s tow row.  2. Pattern Making Lead, Ian Kath working on the pattern assembly of Laurel Nannup’s First Contact.
Images Gallery (top to bottom): 1.3D visualisation in virtual reality at UAP Brisbane. 2. Artist Emily Floyd with UAP Design team during 3D visualisation of a new collaboration. 3. Ditto Labs 3D scanning artist maquette