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Jo Fairfax's 3D printed sculptures take cues from Jungian psychology
(L-R) Caregiver, Creator and Explorer archetype sculptures by Jo Fairfax
Image: Courtesy of Jo Fairfax

Jo Fairfax's 3D printed sculptures take cues from Jungian psychology

Carl Jung's 12 archetypes inspire artist Jo Fairfax to create a collection of sculptural interpretations, blending traditional craftsmanship with 3D printing technology. 

by Ria Jha
Published on : Mar 04, 2024

An adventurous cerebral explorer, renowned Swiss psychiatrist and psychoanalyst Carl Jung explored the depths of the human psyche to uncover its mystery. Among his numerous accomplishments, his theory of the 12 archetypes shines brightly, shedding light on the collective unconscious that moulds our thoughts and actions. The archetypes, namely Ruler, Creator/Artist, Sage, Innocent, Explorer, Rebel, Hero, Wizard, Jester, Everyman, Lover, and Caregiver serve as ageless models woven into the fabric of our consciousness. Using Jung's prism, we see ourselves not just as unique people but also as resonators of ancient stories, with each archetype serving as a window into our most ingrained hopes, fears, and desires. By deciphering these archetypes, we uncover the intricate web of human experience—a shared reservoir of ideas, emotions, and traits connecting us to the very essence of our humanity.

In his latest project, artist Jo Fairfax crafts sculptural interpretations of Jung’s 12 archetypes. The figures, which are mostly white with subtle colour accents, are the product of combining traditional craftsmanship with 3D printing technology. For printed components, the product designer uses bio-sourceable cornstarch. The sculptural art also skillfully combines handcrafting, putty application, intricate painting, custom decal positioning, and finishing with wax and varnish. The sculptures are on view from February 2 to March 3, 2024, as part of Somerset House's Collect Art Fair in London.

“I wanted to feel my way through this set of 12 sculptural archetypes. I allowed my subconscious a lot of space to absorb ideas and suggest forms. I oscillated between my subconscious voice and my conscious sculptural analysis voice. I asked myself questions about each form, and what each component was adding to or subtracting from the piece. It was a weird collaboration. I love this form of collaboration,” the product designer shares. While creating this series, Fairfax let his subconscious direct the creative process by fully immersing himself in Jung's archetypes. The next step was carefully examining the product design as an experiential object. The result is an eclectic collection of white sculptures with subtle colour pops, geometric features, and elegantly curved and linear parts. Fairfax skillfully imparts qualities into form, giving rise to a collection of minimalist sculptures imbued with a deeper meaning.

Fairfax opted for an Ender 3 V2 3D printer and utilised bio-sourceable cornstarch-based PLA to create the sculptures. The sculpture artist used Blender and Tinkercad to learn how to turn his digital ideas into physical prints. He approached the process like modelling, adding and eliminating elements when required. For Fairfax, a 3D printer is a tool that helps bring inner visions and aspirations to life, similar to a carver's gouge. Fairfax meticulously prints each final element after being pleased with the subconscious and sculptural analysis; some elements take up to two days to produce. Before assembly, the components are methodically filed, trimmed, and sanded lastly, one to four layers of spray putty are then applied. After applying two coats of final paint and polishing the sculptures through sanding and filing, Fairfax uses Photoshop and Adobe Illustrator to create and add decals. The final step is adding two coats of Briwax to the sculptures.

Fairfax's exploration of Jung's 12 archetypes through sculptural interpretation and 3D printing technology stands as a testament to the relevance and depth of Jungian psychology in contemporary art. Themes of perception, time, and space are frequently explored in Fairfax's work, drawing spectators into immersive encounters that straddle the line between art and technology. He creates dynamic and thought-provoking compositions using a variety of media, including light installations, kinetic sculptures, and interactive artwork. His creative approach to material selection and meticulous attention to detail showcase not only his technical proficiency but also his profound comprehension of the human psyche and its enduring narratives. Viewers are invited to go on a voyage of self-discovery where traditional wisdom meets modern technology when they interact with Fairfax's sculptures.

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