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Tomandy gallery in Frederick exhibits 3D-printed artwork by Tony Karp

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FREDERICK, Md. - Tony Karp, 75, has worked as a writer, photographer, builder and in computers. He now works as a 3D artist in a genre he calls techno-impressionism, using computers and digital printing to create photographs and animation. He has worked for NBC, Disney and was nominated for an Academy Award in 1970 for a computerized zoom lens that was used to shoot the opening scene of "The Godfather." His work is currently on exhibit at the Tomandy Gallery at 25 E. Patrick St. in downtown Frederick. He lives in Haymarket, Va.

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— When did you get into 3D artwork?

I started working with 3D art last March, about a year ago. I developed a process for working in 3D that is based on images rather than shapes. When you look at piece of my 3D art, you see the image before you see the shape. I've spent the last year refining this process by actually printing out my designs, over 200 different pieces in all.

— What drew you to it?

I've spent my whole life building things of one sort or another. But always something new. Like Picasso, I get bored and love to experiment with new things. For me, life is about playing and having fun in everything I do.

— How did you decide to make art your career?

I didn't actually start out as an artist. I just got serious about it perhaps 15 years ago. I think I was waiting for the point where it became practical for artists to extend their work through the use of computers and digital printing.

— What do you like about the combination of art and technology?

The fact that they work so well together. For me, technology has allowed me to create art that wouldn't be possible in traditional media. To make the most of this, you have to be skilled in both art and technology. I use technology to both create the art and to develop new ways to display it.

— Why is 3D-everything so popular right now?

I think that people see the same sort of promise in 3D printing that they saw in the early computers. The future is wide open, and who knows what they'll end up printing. It's a chance to get involved in the future while it's still today.

— What is your favourite thing about the work you do?

When I create a piece, I only see a simulation on the computer. I send the files to New York to be printed. The real excitement comes when you open the box and see the finished work for the first time.

— What is the most challenging?

Every artist is challenged by the limitations of the media they use, and how difficult it is to control. It took a lot of exploration and experimentation for me to be able to harness the full potential of full-colour 3D media. The process by which the prints are made is very new, and in many ways it is difficult to control.

— Why should the public come out to your exhibit here in Frederick?

There are very few people doing 3D art in full colour. I am one of them. Right now, the Tomandy Gallery is the only place to see the pieces in person, to hold one in your hand. It's a chance to see a piece of the future.

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If You Go...

TOMANDY GALLERY: 25 E. Patrick St., Frederick, 11a.m. to 5:30 p.m., Wednesdays through Saturdays, 301-639-2707, http://www.tomandy.com

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Information from: The Frederick (Md.) News-Post, http://www.fredericknewspost.com

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