One of the biggest challenges sculptors throughout time have faced is how to make the inanimate come to life. When successful it’s a true wonder to behold and the best digital sculptors not only are able to re-create that core of classical sculpture, but also manage to push the art form forward in a new direction with the use of cutting-edge technology. One of the leading artists in the field is Los Angeles based Raf Grassetti, whose work anyone with a heart for digital sculpture should know or discover. I wanted to highlight this piece of his ‘Fragments’ series, which is a stunning exploration of the perception of the human face and body and the stories they tell. What I find striking about the works is not only the power they have when seen in motion, but the fact that when pressing pause or taking a still, the pieces retain that strong emotional resonance, just like a ‘static’ Rodin or Vigeland would. But when we do press play, we also discover how that added layer of motion really enhances the narrative of the piece.
Named Pressure, I was immediately drawn to the sculpture when I first laid eyes on it. One can perfectly imagine the moment of complete despair captured; a protagonist literary caught at their breaking point. The attention to detail is next level, from the texture of the tongue to the sculpted highlights in the bronze pupils. The work reminds us of how at moments we can be broken, but when watched till the end it also offers a glimmer of hope that whatever’s fragmented by the pressure of living, can perhaps also be healed again. We will all have a time when the cries of despair escape our hoarse throats, but we must also maintain hope that, this too, shall pass. The rest of the pieces in the series express different mindsets and feelings which I urge you to discover through Raf’s website and various social media channels. But in the meantime I hope ‘Pressure’ can be a perfect (re)introduction to the power of digital sculpture and one of its greatest talents.