Photos by Will Atwood

When you’re staring straight at them, Will Atwood’s three-dimensional resin paintings appear at first glance to be just that — paintings. Look a little closer at one and you’ll see the drop shadow. Approach it from an angle and the separated layers will reveal themselves.

Atwood’s pieces average about 20 layers. He works on several simultaneously to optimize time spent mixing resin and waiting for layers to cure. “If I’m working nonstop,” he says, “I can make a few pieces from start to finish over the course of a few weeks.”

To plan out his pieces, Atwood uses design software like Illustrator and Photoshop, as well as Blender, Rhino, and Fusion 360. “Resin makes it easy to erase the layer you’re working on, but if I want to prototype something that would unfold over multiple layers, I’ll turn to digital tools to make mock-ups to see how the idea might work,” he explains. “I’m inspired by the technical aspect of merging the analog and the digital, using a vast array of tools to help realize a novel idea and create something new.”

The medium of resin itself often complicates his planning, though. He says the most difficult part is just the finicky nature of the material itself. It’s impossible to cure it with absolute pristine clarity — hairs, smudges, and bubbles are inevitable hiccups. When unsightly imperfections happen, Atwood has to change course. “Sometimes these adjustments to unexpected problems can yield a more interesting final product than what I’d planned!” he says.

Atwood is now experimenting with unframed pieces so that the layers can be admired from all angles, such as Second Law.