U.S. Markets closed

How a Ford Torino became a liquid metal sculpture


For as often as artists have used cars as canvases — like BMW's ongoing art car series with painters from Andy Warhol to Jeff Koons — many of them maintain the vehicle's shape. Here's a new example of one that goes much further, thanks to an Illinois' artist embrace of 3D printing technology.

Ioan Florea has created several works using a combination of 3D printing and a custom mix of materials and coatings to create the look of liquid metal. For the Torino, on display at Southern Illinois University of Carbondale, Florea says the shapes were first printed and then "enlarged," using the printer, a 12,000-lb. milling machine and other tools. "My goal is to obtain a seamless texture that completely encapsulates the object," Florea said.

Born in Romania and now living in Illinois, Florea says he chose the Torino as a subject because it reminded him of his childhood. "Growing up in Communist Romania, the only way to see was through movies — and I remember the cars were big and wide and fascinating." And there's the name of the car, a bit of Italy in a Detroit hunk of iron. Outside of a Clint Eastwood film, few people consider the Torino a work of art — although Florea preserved the model name in the coating of the car's trunk, just to be sure.