Students explore technology’s role in creating art

Technology is everywhere in our world, and now Cornell College students are exploring where it belongs in the world of art.

Students were assigned to create a sculpture on a computer-aided design (CAD) program, print it on a 3-D printer, and build a larger model of it out of cardboard in their 3-D Studio Art Basics class.

3-D Model Art Class
Eddie Madden ’21, Maddix Stovie ’21, and Tyler Ortmann ’19 (left to right)

“I had never used CAD before or any process like it,” said Tyler Ortmann ’19 of Forsyth, Illinois. “I thought it was pretty cool.”

Professor of Art Susannah Biondo-Gemmell teaches the course and has since she started at Cornell eight years ago. Block 4 of the 2017-18 school year, however, was the first time she incorporated the use of 3-D printing and a design program into one of the class projects.  

“We talked about the role of technology when I introduced the project—artists are using CAD, 3-D printing, and all sorts of digital technology right now,” Biondo-Gemmell said. “There are even 3-D printers in ceramics as artists develop forms. I want my students to ask bigger questions about the role of the artist and what is considered art materials for a contemporary artist.”

Art, for the contemporary artist, has changed a lot over the years.

“It’s cool to learn about the evolution—the movements that impacted different artists as they go through the years,” said Maddix Stovie ’21 of Cedar Rapids, Iowa.

Students said it was interesting to discover how digital technology is playing a bigger role in creating art than ever before.

“I think technology is definitely going to change the way people view art,” said Eddie Madden ’21 of Stuart, Florida. “You could even just use the 3-D pieces and make art out of those.”

As conversations about the importance of STEM (science, technology, engineering, and math) take center stage, Biondo-Gemmell hopes the realization that technology plays a big role in art making today will open a larger conversation about adding the “a” for art—changing  STEM to STEAM on Cornell’s campus.

“These projects really evolved throughout the creative process, from the virtual design phase to the printed and fabricated physical forms,” she said.

Any student can take the course, from first-years to seniors.


  • 3-D Model Art Class

    Maddix Stovie ’21 explains her project.

  • 3-D Model Art Class

    Professor of Art Susannah Biondo-Gemmell listens as students talk about their projects.

  • 3-D Model Art Class

    Eddie Madden ’21 talks about the process he went through to create his piece.

  • 3-D Model Art Class

    Tyler Ortmann ’19 says he's never done a art project like this before, but he thought it was pretty cool.

  • 3-D Model Art Class

    Eddie Madden ’21, Maddix Stovie ’21, and Tyler Ortmann ’19 (left to right)