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  • 26 September 2014
  • Nicole Cox

Artist Captures Real-Life Moments in 3D

Artist Josh Hunter finds inspiration in everyday moments. One of these moments recently occurred when he was in Bankers Hill, a small urban community near downtown San Diego, Calif., and he spotted a homeless man careening down a huge hill on the back of a shopping cart. Josh was inspired by the uninhibited joy on the man’s face who for this moment, appeared not to have a care in the world. Josh wanted to capture this moment in time and share it through his art.

It began with a photograph, but the two-dimensional medium did not do it justice. Josh then began sculpting the man out of clay; it took a month to recreate every detail, including the way the man used the bottom of his foot as a parking brake. The next step was to embody it in plastic. Josh wanted to utilize a method that was quick and inexpensive so if the plastic replica did not turn out just the way he had envisioned, he could easily tweak it and make changes.

It began with a photograph, but the two-dimensional medium did not do it justice.

Josh researched and called numerous places that offered 3D Print but all of them said his sculpture was too large or too delicate to 3D print. After hearing multiple “no’s,” Josh was about to give up until he heard The UPS Store offered 3D printing services. He picked up the phone and called The UPS Store San Diego. He spoke to the manager, Larry, who told him that while the object was larger than usual, he should bring the sculpture in to see what could be done.

“Literally, in a matter of a few minutes, Larry let me know it was possible,” said Josh. “It was very cool to find someone who saw my vision. With The UPS Store, I finally found a way to bring that vision to life when no one else would touch it.”

Larry and Josh scanned the sculpture to create a full rendering, ensuring the 3D design file captured all of the intricate details. They treated the object like a prototype and created a small-scale version first. When it came to creating the full-size version, Larry recommended slicing it into four segments, rather than printing it in one single piece to reduce cost. After printing the four pieces, Josh glued and sealed them all together and painted it gold. Josh now has a full size version of the sculpture with every detail carved perfectly.

“It’s amazing to be able to use a material like plastic to convey the human spirit,” said Josh. “As an artist, innovation is so important, along with the realization of an idea. 3D print allowed me to do both; realize my idea through innovation.”

Now that Josh has found a quick, easy and cost-efficient way to bring to life his ideas, he’s already begun his second project.

When asked whether he believes 3D printing will become a more common method used among artists, Josh replied, “It’s only a matter of time before people begin to understand how 3D printing works. Through more exposure to technology and equipment, more artists are going to embrace it. 3D print is kind of a boundless technology.”

Josh is looking forward to sharing his 3D-printed art piece with the world in the hopes to inspire, intrigue and better educate people on our homeless. To view Josh Hunter’s artwork, visit

A 3D Printing Story from Route 3 Films on Vimeo.

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