Cell by Cell

Creator of human tissue sculpture shows work

Robert Michael Smith is the first sculptor to use 3D print technology at Wake Forest Institute for Regenerative Medicine to produce a sculpture comprised of living human cells, and in a lecture this weekend in Healdsburg, he’ll tell you all about it. “What he’s doing now is just beyond,” says Hammerfriar Gallery owner Jill Plamann. “It’s absolute science fiction, its incredible.”

In his art, Smith uses the same technology used to regrow human tissue for organ transplants, creating his own artistic molds with a 3D printer in which the tissue grows. (Smith was an early adopter of 3D printing about 15 years ago.) His sculptures are mostly made with machines from his own CAD designs, including Paradise Bird Burlesque. “I recognized early on that it was a favorite,” he says. A six-foot version of the piece carved from stone sits in the National Art Museum in China. A smaller, plastic version is on display at Hammerfriar, but don’t let the size fool you—it’s still a stunning visual display.

“Regenesis” by Robert Michael Smith is on display Aug. 15–24 at Hammerfriar Gallery, with a lecture by Smith Thursday, Aug. 15 at 6pm. (Please RSVP to Jill Plamann 707.473.9600.) 132 Mill St., Healdsburg. 707.473.9600.

Sonoma County Library