See the Video: Artist-in-Residence Jesse Colin Jackson Engages and Educates Tartans With Unique 3D Projects (Updated)

Building blocks of various shapes and sizes were scattered throughout the main corridor of the Johnson Wallis Visual Arts Center, and for an entire week this spring, those cubes were transformed into art ranging from eccentric works of architecture to scaled-up sculptures to a 9-foot-tall structure resembling a person in a distinguished pose.

The visual arts department welcomed Jesse Colin Jackson for a week of creation and education as Artist-in-Residence, turning the visual arts center into a fun and interactive hub for creative construction.

Mr. Jackson is an assistant professor of art at the University of California, Irvine, and brought his interactive project “Marching Cubes” to the Alisa and William Reising Gallery. The project consists of hundreds of 3D-printed magnetic shapes that allow for endless creative possibilities.

Mr. Jackson engaged students with his “Marching Cubes” project throughout the week, building various pieces as students passed by and classes took breaks to come observe. He also lectured in the Upper School’s AP art history and digital photography classes, shared his art with students during a tutorial and hosted a lunch where students could share their projects with him.

“The purpose of bringing an Artist-in-Residence to St. Margaret’s is to give our students the opportunity to see an artist at work,” St. Margaret’s Visual Arts Chair Jesse Standlea said. “Mr. Jackson’s artistic process is different from what we traditionally envision an artist having. He often did not know how his work was going to turn out when he started it. I thought it was incredibly insightful for our students to see how his creations developed throughout the week.”

The shapes Mr. Jackson brought can be used to build structures from the ground up, as many Preschool and Lower School students did during their visits. Yet they can also recreate other forms of 3D art, using a program Mr. Jackson created that digitizes pieces using a 3D scanner, creates an algorithm and gives layer-by-layer insight into how to build a replica at a larger scale.

Among his many activities, Mr. Jackson “scaled up” a piece of art, using a student's ceramic project as the basis for a much larger replica made from the 3D-printed shapes.

Mr. Jackson also made his own creation—3D-scanning a human pose and recreating it into a 9-foot-tall sculpture named “Boris” that students could watch and help build.

“It’s unique to have a project that can engage so many levels and ages,” Mr. Standlea said. “Every division here at St. Margaret’s really got something out of it.”

UPDATE: Here is a time-lapsed video of the evolution of the “Marching Cubes” project during Mr. Jackson's week at St. Margaret’s:

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