What is PLA?
PLA stands for polylactic acid. It is a plastic that melts around 200 degrees Celsius (390 degrees Fahrenheit) that can be used in a 3D printer. PLA is made from entirely renewable plant sources such as corn. PLA can be recycled by some facilities, and it is biodegradable under industrial composting conditions. It is, however, very stable under most conditions and should last a very long time as my sculptures.
How long does it take to make one of your sculptures?
Each one takes at least 3 weeks, sometimes longer. The print from the 3D printer actually takes the least amount of time at around 1-2 days. The post-processing by hand takes the remainder of the 3 weeks. The larger sculptures can take several months to build.
What is the process you use to make your sculptures?
First, I design the sculpture in 3D modeling software called Fusion 360. That can take a few hours to several days. Next, I print the model with a 3D printer, which generally takes about 1-2 days depending on the size of the sculpture. Next, the print is post-processed with several steps of gap filling with joint compound and sanding until the surface is smooth. After that, the sculpture is primed and painted. Some sculptures are then coated with metal leaf, and finally sealed. Pure gold leafed sculptures do not need to be sealed. Some sculptures have interactive electronics in them as well. The largest sculptures are not 3D printed, but are made in more traditional ways with molds and casting as well as direct sculpting.
What 3D printers do you use for your work?
I use a RailCore II 300ZL that I built myself in 2019. I also use a Formbot Raptor 2 that has several upgrades, some of which I designed, to make excellent print quality. All of the smaller work was printed on the RailCore.
How long does it take to make one of your drawings?
Typically about a week. I also like to put copper leaf on the frames too, which takes a couple of days.
What is the process you use to make your drawings?
First, I design an object in 3D modeling software called Fusion 360. That generally takes a few hours to several days. Next, the object is imported into rendering software which is much like a photography studio with a camera and lights where it is rendered into a 2-dimensional image. This typically takes a few hours. The image is then processed with special software I helped to test and improve for my particular needs. Depending on the drawing, it can take up to 40 or so hours to process the image to prepare it for drawing with an AxiDraw drawing robot, which uses standard pens to create drawings, just like a human would. The robot is operated through a command-line interface with a Raspberry Pi computer that I assembled specifically for this purpose. The drawings also take a long time if they are more complicated, typically around 8 hours or more.
Why do you make so many electrical outlets?
One of my earliest memories is looking at an electrical outlet. It caught my attention like someone would if they were standing in a crowd and staring directly at you. This outlet was in our basement workshop and was attached to an open metal box and you could see the wires bending and wandering behind. The wires attached to large brass screws on the sides of the outlet’s body. It just sat there staring at me, and me staring at it. We seemed to have something to say to each other. My brother plugged his Dremel saw into this outlet and made it work. Something was inside this thing… something’s on the other side… something powerful. It comes through the outlets to our world and makes things work.
Ever since then I cannot walk into a new room without noticing all the outlets. Little portals with personality. Mystery on the other side.
Are you a real doctor?
Yes. Before I was a doctor, I was an artist living in Manhattan and teaching at the School of Visual Arts and Parsons School of Design. After I learned about Radiology, I decided to become a radiologist too, but I had to go to med school first. So I went to med school at Cornell and became a real doctor.
Are you a real artist?
Anybody can be a real artist, even me. However, I probably overdid it because I was an art major in college, then went to grad school at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago, then I taught art for many years. Though I was classically trained, as any art major would be, in drawing, painting, design, casting, etc., the latest tools in technology have always been an important part of my work since graduate school. It would certainly be easier to use more traditional media, but I think it’s more fun to use computers, lights, sounds, and robots.
Do you have an artist's statement?
Yes, here's one from my current exhibition:
Portals exist between two realms. A Portal hovers between your world, and the world on the other side. You may never experience the other realm. You may experience both worlds at once. My work exists entirely within, around, and through Portals. I begin by dreaming… longing… nostalgia… an old household appliance, an old toy, a long ago light, a surface, a smell. A shape forms in my mind and I draw it in my sketchbook. Next, I sit at a computer, gazing through the screen, pressing buttons and sliding my arm as an image of my next piece forms on the screen in 3D modeling software. This process generally takes days to weeks. The model can then be exPORTed in a form that a 3D printer uses to build the piece, layer by layer, which typically takes 1-2 days for a raw sculpture ready for finishing. The model can also be rendered and imPORTed into a form that a drawing robot can use to make a drawing with a similar feel as my own sketchbook drawings. Though I have a very fast computer, it can take up to nearly 40 hours for analysis and production of a file that will be used on a drawing robot. It generally takes anywhere from 4 to 10 hours for the robot to finish a drawing. Most of my drawings contain around 70,000 marks each.The computer, the 3D printer, and the Drawing Robot are all Portals through which my art is created… transPORTed from the realm of electronic zeros and ones to the realm of sculpture and drawing. The works themselves are all Portals. When you experience my work, you are in our realm of the everyday. Exactly what’s on the other side, I’m not certain. I may never know, but I’m curious and I yearn to know — which is why I keep making art.
Can I see your resumé?
Sure. Here's an abbreviated one: Satre's Resume