Inspiring The Young In Art And Technology

You never know when you will inspire someone with your story.

Yesterday I spoke to a group of 12-14 year old girls at a conference called Expanding Your Horizons in Science and Math. So, why is an artist speaking at this type of conference? Well, as many of you know, we now use many technological tools, such as 3D sculpting, 3D Scanning, 3D printing and CNC milling in my studio. Studying the interaction of technology in the traditional sculpting studio was the focus of my graduate work a few years back. I have been writing on it since 2007, and I am now finishing up a book titled 3D Technology in Fine Art and Craft.

While I was at 3D Printing World Expo speaking I was introduced to a girl who was showing a poster at the conference. Coco told about how she was given a 3D printing kit and put it together documenting her experience. I suppose Coco, reminds me of myself. At 12, I was asked to participate in a conference and had my first speaking engagement. I had no idea what “speaking” meant, other than what I did in every day life. “Just tell your story.” Someone said. Well, I have always been good at that. The most profound thing for me was when a young girl came up to me and said, “ Thank you, I know if you could make it through that difficult experience, I can also do it.” I was hooked, I was giving someone hope and inspiring someone. With my many achievements in life, inspiring and giving hope is what I consider my highest calling. You see, I was not speaking about technology all those years ago. I was telling my story about growing up with a mom who was an alcoholic and was, at the time, recovering from this horrible addiction. I spoke about the dynamics of a family suffering from addiction and what I have learned about myself in the process. The story was heart breaking, but it must have been hopeful. Today, I have no idea who that other young girl was that said those words to me so long ago, but it is the reason why I love public speaking.

Don’t wait to grow up. Be a tech girl now!

When I see Coco, I see a young lady with a spirit, drive, and fortitude. I see someone who is willing to put her story out there. It may not be a story about surviving addiction, but it is just as important. It is empowering. It is saying to young girls, as I said in my lecture at Expanding Your Horizons, “You don’t have to wait to grow up to discover, and explore these things that inspire you; you can do them now. And if you do, you will have an advantage over those who wait.” I wish young people could understand the advantages that they can have, just because they are kids and doing “special” things. For example, a 13 year old writing a good novel will certainly have an advantage at getting published, because well.. they are 13 and doing this profound thing. If that same 13 year old waited until they were, 21 then they are grouped with the rest of the 21 year olds. There is no harm in standing out. You can tell your story and inspire others.

I wanted to videotape Coco so that the girls could see, first hand, that I didn’t make her up. Who knows if Coco and I inspired just one young girl to push herself a bit more. Maybe, by our appearance and encouragement, we gave them “permission” to be all they could be. Maybe one girl will go on to invent something important, but more importantly we may have given her the opportunity to have a more fulfilling life and purpose.

Thanks Coco for being… you. Thanks for sharing with me and for giving me permission to share with the girls. If ever you need a mentor or someone to look up to, I would be honored to help. Keep doing what you are doing.

If you would like to know more about Coco, check out her blog. Yes, this young lady has a blog, and she reviews products. Hey, tech companies, you really should send Coco things for her to review. ( Coco, offer your services for this. Lets talk about this further.)

I’m going to add my list of resources that I passed out to the girls at Expanding Your Horizons. Free software, and other such things are important for anyone wanting to explore and needing to do so without a paycheck.

Sculptor Bridgette Mongeon

Bridgette Mongeon’s Books
Digital Sculpting With Mudbox: Essential Tools and Techniques for Artists.
3D Technology in Fine Art and Craft Coming 2014/2015

Coco- Very Happy Robot

Free software and apps for tinkering in 3D technology
123D Catch and other apps

Free sculpting software

Where can I get something 3D printed? These websites let you 3D print, also check these web sites for programs.

Shapeways – look at their Make + Sell tab for easy free creator apps.
i.materailse – look at the creations corner tab for free apps

3D printers to make
Coco’s printer

3D printer to buy
Maker bot

Free poser software

Where to learn about 3D printing, scanning etc.


Leave a Comment