January 11, 2022 – May 22, 2022
In this Community Corner Exhibition, local artist Rudy Flores and his partner Teresa Estrella reflect on the past year and the ongoing pandemic to present Army Man Project Vol. 2, a follow up to their 2017 project. This exhibition of 100 figures of Tucsonans, rendered using 3D printing technology as plastic green army men, celebrates the spirit and resiliency of our community.
A Cultural Army of Tucson
Army Man Project Vol. 2 is a follow up to Rudy Flores and Teresa Estrella’s 2017 Army Man Project, which featured more than 300 Tucsonans whose personas were captured and immortalized as green plastic army men using 3D scanning and printing technology.
As an artist and designer working in a wide range of mediums, the Army Man Project grew out Rudy Flores’ interest in 3D printing, which he began exploring in 2015. When approached to design an album cover for a heavy metal band, he conceptualized 3D scanning each of the band members and then manipulating their scans to appear like classic green army men. The resulting 3D printed figures would be photographed for the album artwork as well as become remarkable mementos from the collaboration. Not only was the project successful, but Flores was so pleased with the results that he was eager to create more.
Flores and his partner, Teresa Estrella, invited family and friends to their studio to be scanned and turned into army men figures. They began sharing pictures on social media, and soon the excitement for the little soldiers grew into a community art project– funded by a very successful Kickstarter campaign. Eventually, Flores and Estrella were 3D scanning people from all over Tucson, creating an army of little green figures representing a wide and diverse range of community members. Flores even designed custom, laser-etched cardboard packaging for each figure; including the person’s name and photo to make each figure appear as a collectible toy.
For Flores and Estrella, one of the joys of this community art project was meeting so many Tucsonans, getting a glimpse into their lives, and hearing their stories. Flores encouraged his models to bring props with them when they came to his studio– items which defined some aspect of who they are or what they love. Some brought small items like a skateboard, a briefcase, or gardening tools; others came with their motorcycle, a tuba, even a floor loom.
By May of 2017, the couple had scanned over 300 Tucsonans, creating what they dubbed the Cultural Army of Tucson. That same year they began exhibiting the Cultural Army at galleries around Tucson, including The Mini Time Machine Museum of Miniatures at which it was the inaugural Community Corner Exhibition in 2017.
Fast forward to 2021. Flores, like so many of us, was ready to get out of his home and back into the community. As he reflected on the past year and the ongoing pandemic, he began wondering how Tucsonans had weathered 2020. This thought spurred a desire to launch a second series of his Cultural Army, exploring the resiliency of his community. He announced the Army Man Project Vol. 2 in June 2021 and set to work scanning and capturing the likenesses of fellow Tucsonans.
This series has even more personality than the last, due largely to advances in 3D printing technology since 2017. The process is faster now and less cumbersome. Flores and Estrella can scan community members in their own settings, rather than the studio– which allows for a more personal interaction with their models. The artists have also advanced their skill at touching up the figures once printed, achieving a higher level of detail than before in these 3.25" figures.
The Army Man Project Vol. 2 presentation at The Mini Time Machine Museum of Miniatures will feature 100 miniature green figures from this collection, representing a cross-section of Tucson community members.
Be a Part of the Cultural Army of Tucson
Get your likeness immortalized as an army man action figure. Sessions are still available to be scanned and become a part of the Cultural Army of Tucson. Scan sessions for single or multiple people include the scan session and one packaged 3.25" figure (per person). Upon your request, a duplicate figure will be made to include in this spring 2022 Community Corner Exhibition at The Mini Time Machine Museum of Miniatures.
Details and pricing are at hexandhew.com
About the Community Corner
The Mini Time Machine Museum of Miniatures’ Community Corner is exhibit space dedicated to featuring the work of Arizona artists working in miniature. Exhibits are selected to demonstrate the diversity of miniature artwork that is being created in our community.