Melissa Ng shares her story of process and product in part two of our interview.
You can find part one here.
As you become more enmeshed in 3D printing and in work with high-profile clients like Marvel, how are you dealing with a higher profile for your work? Does it change your process?
“It’s interesting and flattering to know that people enjoy and admire my work. We’re our own worst critic and I’m also a huge perfectionist, so the increased attention on my work has sometimes made my impostor syndrome run wild. Having a good support network in place has helped immensely.
In terms of process, I’ve been ruthlessly trying to refine it and make it more efficient. I’m just doing whatever I have to do to live healthier and happier to help me create better works.”
What was it like the first time Adam Savage pointed out your work?
“Not gonna lie. I started hyperventilating. The online traffic was so insane that it broke my website. It was also surreal because I’ve looked up to him ever since I was a teen watching him on ‘Mythbusters.’ That show was probably one of the reasons I believed I could take a chance and give myself a shot.
It taught me how to be curious and to see the lessons in the frustrations and failures. It helped me believe I could try to step into new territory and come out armed with greater knowledge and experiences…and maybe something new and awesome too.”
What inspires you? Your work itself? Your approach to work?
“I found solace in fantasy novels and RPGs as a child since I was often bullied and didn’t have many friends. It also saved me from being consumed by my anger by engaging my imagination and teaching me to appreciate other people’s stories. It gave me hope that I could also one day find the ability to create something that could uplift or maybe even inspire others who are also going through tough times.
One of the first artists that inspired me was my cousin, Stephanie Pui-Mun Law (Shadowscapes), who is a fantasy artist. I was also inspired by artists like Lee Bontecou, Alphonse Mucha, René Lalique, and Claire Prebble. Since childhood, I’ve also loved armor, but it wasn’t until 2016 that I’d fallen deeply in love with 15th century gothic armor and 16th century tournament/parade European armor design. Like a lot of folks, nature is also a big inspiration.”
What do you think will help the greater 3D printing industry to grow and mature?
“I know this sounds like I’m saying this only because it’s relevant to me, but I’d say focusing on the small businesses and their needs, which a lot of companies are already doing.”
What are your favorite technologies and materials to work with?
“I love working with my Form 2 printer and their standard clear, durable, and high temp resins. I’m also grateful for how much my TAZ 6 has helped me along and use mostly PLA and Taulman PCTPE.
Aside from 3D printers, I also spend a lot of time mold making and casting in various resins.”
What else should we know about your work and your upcoming project launch/es?
“I’m planning to release my new fantasy armor line(s), which will be released in parts and be made available in my shop. Right now, the focus is on the most challenging part of the armor — articulated gauntlets. The images I’ve shared are only prototypes and not the final versions. Official announcements about armor and mask shop releases are shared in my free newsletter.”
Elizabeth C. Engele (Lizzy) is a designer for social good, and a founder of MakerGirl.