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Meet the artist who custom-produces miniature sculptures using 3D printers

‘I fell in love with the hobby and how limitless it was’: How a Sunshine Coast shapeshifting entrepreneur models creativity
3D artist Jodan Rostau with samples of his work at the Run With Soup café.

Small business has taken on new meaning for modeller Jadan Rostau, who this year bridged the divide between high technology and handcrafted artistry by custom-producing miniature sculptures using 3D printers. 

The Chatelech Secondary School graduate is a longtime participant in role-playing games like Dungeons and Dragons, and currently runs the Dungeons and Dragons club at the Gibsons and District Public Library. Intricate avatars are a fixture of the genre.  

In April, when a friend announced he would sell his pair of 3D printers, Rostau’s imagination shifted into high gear. 

“I bought one off him,” Rostau said, “and after playing with it for a bit I fell in love with the hobby and how limitless it was. And it just so happened that no one else on the Sunshine Coast really offered that extensive of a service to be able to make anything through 3D printing.” 

Rostau launched a commercial enterprise, Pigmental 3D Printing. He produces his own models and accepts commissions from clients who want to translate digital designs into physical artwork. 

Guided by a computer, 3D printers shape plastic or resin filaments into physical shapes, which Rostau then painstakingly paints by hand. 

“I just kind of [create] whatever fancies my interest that day,” he said, “or something that’s a cool monster from a game or sport. I wonder if anyone has made a [digital] model of it or if I could make one myself.” Rostau, who is entirely self-taught, supplemented his fleet of printers with an airbrush system to colourize the models. 

“If it’s a commission, the client will give me a little palette to work with,” he said. “For example, they’ll ask for a range of blues with some yellow accents. And then I have to fill in the rest with my own creativity.” 

Rostau began marketing his creations through the thriving network of artisan fairs on the Sunshine Coast, starting with the Langdale Farm Market. His participation in the Davis Bay Night Market required him to step up production. 

“That was a big step for me,” he recalled. “I prepared by doubling, if not tripling, the stock that I normally have available.” He then booked a table at the Roberts Creek Community Farm Market.  

Then he was contacted by a former employer, chef Roksy Constantinau, who invited Rostau to organize a weekly Christmas market in her Run With Soup café. Over a sleep-deprived span of two weeks, Rostau recruited artisans to sell their wares.  

His Saturday market at Run With Soup opened in November, complete with live music. Rostau presides at the entrance, greeting visitors with a wide smile. An array of his 3D models is positioned adjacent to locally-produced watercolours, books and knit goods. 

“The biggest and only trend that I’ve noticed with my business is that whenever kids are dragged along to the markets by their parents, they are entertained by me, which is kind of cool,” Rostau said. “I’m always flattered when kids ask me questions about who the figure is or how it’s made or stuff like that.” 

To serve older demographics, Rostau recently invested in a laser engraving accessory, jerry-rigging it for compatibility with his current setup. Upon request, he transforms heirloom photographs into bas-relief metal tiles. 

“The most common thing that the general public tells me — even complete random people — is that I should charge more for my products,” Rostau chuckled. “But I want to keep my business small enough that I can move it if I need to, but big enough that I can keep it afloat.” 

A selection of photos of Rostau’s sculptures are available at his website 

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