Visual Art debuts new technology lab

The Department of Visual Art debuted a new, innovative lab that has greatly enriched the studio curriculum this year.

The Visual Art Studio Technology (VAST) Lab contains a laser system, 3-D scanner and 3-D desktop printer systems. It is also staffed by VAST Lab coordinator, Garrett Brown.

“These technologies have enriched the studio curriculum by providing new methods and materials for creative output,” Brown said. “The lab also has fostered opportunities to explore how these methods can be incorporated into existing handmade studio practices.”

Although the laser system has been the major focus in the lab so far, students use it for a variety of applications. The lab’s capabilities include creating various molding dies for castings and different metalsmithing techniques, engraving printing blocks and plates for printmaking, engraving papers and boards as expanded drawing and painting, engraving and cutting textiles and using modeling software to create assemblages of flat planes into 3-D objects.

An expanded media course on installation art recently took advantage of the efficiency and precision of the VAST Lab for a recent Art & Design Gallery exhibit with a very intricate design.

“With the VAST Lab, we were able to get a huge amount of material cut perfectly, so the wild idea we came up with was actually realized,” said Rachel Brown, visual art graduate student. “The VAST Lab made the project run more smoothly, which then gave the team more time to think about presentation, installation and advertisement for the show.”

The lab is available to all students enrolled in a visual art course. The department offers a number of courses to all KU students, so the VAST Lab has been used by students in computer science, engineering, architecture and design for various projects.