Facebook | Unseen Art

3D Printing Project Gives Blind People Their First Experience Of Classic Art

I'll admit that it took me a very long time to appreciate art galleries. As a kid, my parents often used to take me to them, but I always found them incredibly dull.

After all, a room where you have to be quiet and can't touch anything is about as far as you can get from a good time when you're that age.

However, that inability to touch anything becomes a serious obstacle when that's the only way you can get a sense of what something looks like. For the blind, this can make art galleries about as boring as they were in my childhood for a much more unfortunate reason.

However, one Finnish artist is looking to change that.

As Marc Dillon of Helsinki, Finland outlines on his project's Indiegogo page, many people have heard about famous works of art all their life, but can never see them.

Reddit | aidanhype

For the blind, the only option might involve relying on someone else's (hopefully) vivid descriptions of a given piece.

For the visually-impaired, what they can make out doesn't necessarily tell them a painting's full story.

For this reason Dillon started Unseen Art, a project that aims to give those with no or low vision a chance to experience this famous works for themselves.

Facebook | Unseen Art

He and his colleagues plan to do this by creating a space where artists can create 3D models that can eventually take the form of tactile representations of the original paintings.

This completed model can then, for instance, capture the facial features of the Mona Lisa so they can be identified by touch.

Facebook | Unseen Art

From there, they can then share their own impressions and opinions of her, which would have otherwise been filtered through someone else's perspective.

After all, no matter how objective they try to be, people can often tip their hands without realizing it.

And in at least one case, that conversation has already begun.

Facebook | Unseen Art

According to Business Insider, Unseen Art presented their Mona Lisa sculpture to Riikka Ha╠łnninen, who was born blind.

In a Facebook video, she mentions that the Mona Lisa's nose really pops out and that her face didn't have the level of conventional beauty that the painting's reputation would suggest.

So now that we've discussed the impact this could potentially have, let's get into how it works.

Twitter | @Unseen_Art

As Business Insider reported, artists involved with the project begin with a high-resolution photo of a given painting.

From there, they essentially translate the work to the third dimension using 3D art software.

Since the emphasis here is on how easily touched the resulting sculpture is, this requires some reinterpretation of the original artwork.

Indiegogo | Unseen Art

As Dillon said, "Some details may be brought forward, and some may be simplified to highlight an impression of the painting."

Ultimately, the goal is to reach out to various artists and have them upload their 3D models to a space provided by the project.

Reddit | RagingPrepper

As Dillon said on the Indiegogo campaign, this then allows anyone in the world to download it for free wherever they can find a 3D printer, such as a library or a university.

Since the models will be provided for free, this gives their fundraising attempt particular significance to the project.

Facebook | Unseen Art

The campaign has raised $4,205 dollars of a flexible goal of $30,000, but has apparently closed. The page says that all promised perks will be delivered regardless of funds raised.

h/t: Indiegogo