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Date Minted:  June 28, 2020

Artist Description: Watch out for those heathens, they're not what you think they are. They never are. They never were. They never will be.

CohentheWriter’s Commentary:

If I didn’t know any better, I’d be tempted to go on another tirade about the limits placed upon 3D sculptures when trapped behind a flat screen. 3D objects are meant to be interacted with as real objects are; sculpture itself benefits greatly, if not fundamentally, from its ability to be seen at all angles, moved around, touched and turned around and such. In sculpture, perspective is key. In sculpture, angle is power. In sculpture, an observer revels in the power of their own agency; a flat piece on a museum wall this is not, but something that an observer isn’t just bringing their own sensibility to, but their own physical approach.

And yet, He(eath)3an’s’ finds a way to subvert all the fetters 3D sculpture is weighed down by. It’s a piece delicately and thoughtfully crafted, using its minimalism and its understanding of how it will be observed to find creative ways around the faults of its medium. He(eath)3an’s’ is unique amongst Animatttic’s oeuvre, this a piece that chooses to find engagement in its interactivity as opposed to many others —colorful, richly textured, lushly-visual— that seek to find connection via aesthetics. These pieces are beautifully-designed and technically astonishing, masterful uses of light and texture, portrayals of the human form in some pieces, abstract and spinning shapes in others, often mesmerizing, often scintillating, and looking through Animatttic’s Superrare page is like jaunting through some Postmodern State Fair, a thing to look at here, but oh oh, you’ve got to go see what’s over there! 

 At first glance, He(eath)3an’s’ appears comparatively dull. It’s got a very subdued color scheme: three tones of black and pink and white. And it’s bare, so so bare. An endless white void is the setting whereupon hovers an ever-so-slightly concave platform, and upon that platform stand four figures with variously monstrous features. Though seemingly similar if seen from far-away —and Animatttic does provide us with ample ability to zoom into and out of the piece— with closer inspection they take on, as mentioned, consecutively more disturbing forms. Their placement beside each other seems to evoke the classic Human Evolution diagram, whereby six or seven figures walk in a line, with a chimpanzee on one end, a human on the other, and every degree of evolved semi-humanoid in the middle. But this is outright devolution. Each subsequent figure has been cursed with longer and longer arms, ganglier and ganglier tree-branch fingers, more and more oblong kangaroo legs, their shoulders disjointed and their torsos curved.   

But this is where the aforementioned interactivity begins to play a role in our ability to explore the piece; we’re able to spin the platform complete around, see it from a top-down or bottom-up angle, get quite close to the disturbing features of the four figures in the center or stay safely far away, their details too distant to make out, and the piece itself appearing like some kind of exercise in digital miniatures. 

Various angles highlight the more grotesque qualities of He(eath)3an’s’ subjects. From a zoomed-in and side-angled view, we can see the full degradation of the human form that Animatttic toys with, whereas from others, the differences are a bit blurrier, and the whole piece seems to be some kind of Abbey-Road-esque character study in positioning and contrast. But there’s not too much else of note here. As mentioned the piece is rather empty, rather unexciting, and rather dull in terms of composition.

But let me tell you why that’s so genius.

Let’s not for a moment doubt Animatttic’s talent. The artist is capable of incredible feats of 3D-modeling, hyperrealist images and others that explore the fullness of imagination that digital art offers. Some are hypnotic, others are downright beautiful, and many are breathtaking. He(eath)3an’s’ does not outwardly appear interested in being any of those things. We must ask why! Why build a piece like this that doesn’t drain our attention, that doesn’t engross and astound us? Why provide us with the means to move mildly around the outskirts of overt minimalism, unimpressed and uninspired with so little to look at?

Do you not feel yourself subject to the artist’s wishes? Did you not do exactly what I did when I saw this piece? I said “There must be more,” and I clicked on the sculpture, spun it every which way, looked at it from way up above, from perfectly below, and examined the four figures from every conceivable angle. I noticed the weirdness of their proportions, their baby-doll-like heads, and variously found them descending into devolution and climbing on out of it. By being, for lack of a better word, bored by the subject matter, I took it upon myself to explore the very limits of the piece’s technological underpinning. I turned it into as close a facsimile as possible to a real sculpture because I had no other choice; I’m in the business of deriving meaning from all works of art, and this was the only way I could.

Now I sit here with A) a greater respect for 3D sculpture, B) a greater understanding of 3D-sculptures’ many limitations and its many strengths, and C) the somewhat enlightening knowledge of how easily an artist was able to manipulate me. He(eath)3an’s’ isn’t Animatttic’s masterpiece, it’s the artist’s thesis statement. It’s a declaration of yes, THIS is why 3D sculpture so excites me. And so now you go galavanting through the rest of their oeuvre, and it all makes sense: the artist’s attachment to the form, their ability to push its limits, and your newfound, glowing respect for it.