Creative work, driven by youth, is flourishing in shared virtual spaces. This activity falls within the artistic scope of grunt gallery’s recently appointed media lab, gruntKitchen. gruntCraft was a youth engagement pilot program developed by grunt gallery to bridge the creative work being done by youth in the popular online video game Minecraft and the artistic inquiry occurring at the gallery.

All 3D prints on a table

The program featured a Minecraft server operated by grunt gallery, designed to provide youth participants with an online virtual studio for creative exploration. Open houses and workshops were held at grunt gallery, while a YouTube channel was created to feature video of this creative work. Professional artists were also invited to provide feedback on the work occurring in the virtual studio. Finally, support was provided for the youth participants to 3D print their sculptures built in the game.

grunt-gallery-3D-print Take a look at our Google+ Page & YouTube Channel


Player Activity

gruntCraft was a youth engagement pilot project programmed as part of grunt gallery’s media lab gruntKitchen. A server based virtual studio was created using the popular online game Minecraft for the youth participants to explore this medium through the production of creative work. The program featured feedback from professional artists, a YouTube Channel, and 3D printing.

Youtube Channel

One of the key principles of this project was recognizing the significance of creative expression occurring in online virtual environments, for many youth a primary creative outlet. This project was designed to give youth participants a forum for expressing themselves within a virtual world, and having this work acknowledged and considered by their friends and family; professional artists; and grunt gallery’s community.

Josh Silickas and Ryan Smith


  • Igor Santizo - Youth Outreach Coordinator/ Guest Artist
  • Josh Silickas - gruntCraft Youth Technical Intern
  • Connie Freitas - gruntCraft Volunteer Camera Operator
  • Ryan Smith - Server Administrator
  • Demian Petryshyn - Project Director
  • Igor Santizo - Guest Artist
  • Jeremy Bailey - Guest Artist
  • Erica Stocking - Guest Artist
  • Allison Hrabluik - Guest Artist

Studio Participants

batmanbren33, Talisume, avidgamer92, Carry, Sanish Maharjan, hippy_stick, ablol123, quinnzy, kevensquint, SpastikMuffin, schnoobus, supershare, Bobby_Joe08, Grnt_Outrch, Osimous, Beckettbrett, Skye_Hawk, happygreengirl, Cypress II, Mr.Ken, Davrocks777, cheesered


This program was made possible through the support of the British Columbia Arts Council and the TELUS Vancouver Community Board.

gruntCraft is a grunt gallery project.

Guest Artists

The following artists were engaged in the project to provide feedback and perspective on the work going on in the virtual studio.

Igor Santizo is a Vancouver based artist and a teacher keenly interested in Wholism & Consciousness. His is a multidisciplinary practice of experiential discovery and experimental communication. In the capacity of teacher & facilitator, he introduces participants to the creative process, foundational principles and visual / cultural literacy; all while freshly encouraging students with their creative potential, emerging selves and budding art practices.

In the Media Lab with Finn

Jeremy Bailey is a video and performance artist whose work is often confidently self-deprecating in offering hilarious parodies of new media vocabularies (Marisa Olson, Rhizome). His work has been featured in numerous exhibitions and festivals internationally. He received his MFA in Art Media Studies from Syracuse University in 2006. Bailey’s practice is firmly rooted in digital exploration and dissemination.


Erica Stocking received her BFA in 2004 from Emily Carr Institute and lives in Vancouver. Her exhibition at the Lobby Gallery, within a Vancouver hotel, created a functioning, half-sized hotel room behind the existing gallery wall. Her work has been included in local exhibitions at the Helen Pitt Gallery and the Butchershop Gallery. She is a founding member of Norma, a Vancouver based collective whose work often deals with group identity and draws from visual and performance art histories, pop culture, and social behaviour. Norma’s performance and installation works have been exhibited locally at Artspeak, LIVE Biennial of Performance Art, grunt gallery, and Access Gallery.


Allison Hrabluik is from Calgary, Alberta and lives in Vancouver. She completed post-graduate studies at the HISK in Gent, Belgium in 2007, and received her BFA from ACAD in Calgary in 2000. Allison's work has been shown in solo and group exhibitions and film festivals across Canada and internationally including Tatjana Pieters Gallery Gent, Belgium; The Or Gallery, Vancouver; Presentation House Gallery, Vancouver; G Gallery, Toronto; and The Western Bridge, Seattle.


Project Director – Demian Petryshyn is a Vancouver based artist whose practice has been focused on the intersection of videogames and art. He received his BFA from the Emily Carr Institute of Art and design in 2000, and an MFA from the University of Western Ontario 2005. As an instructor at the University of Western Ontario he taught courses in new media and visual art foundations.


Grunt Gallery grunt gallery media lab grunt gallery office

One of the first structures built in the gruntCraft virtual studio was a model of grunt gallery, including the media lab and office. This model was built by a youth intern and was later 3D printed as the first test.


Another structure built by a youth intern was the gruntCraft town hall.

cave of forgotten dreams classroom

As part of the programming in the virtual studio structures were built to help focus the conversation on pertinent conceptual and creative questions. For example one recommendation was to watch the Herzog film, “Cave of Forgotten Dreams” that features one cave explorer who uses his sense of smell to find new caves. Participants were asked to consider how smell might operate in the medium of Minecraft. Other questions posed focused on:

Brancusi’s Infinite Column, Repetition, iteration; every material expresses itself in certain forms. What is the material in Minecraft? What can it do? What patterns does the material hold? Manzoni’s Base of the World and Op Art / Judy Chicago, Why do complimentary colours seem brighter when placed next to each other?

ethan platforms

TNT dispensing drilling platforms built by a youth participant.

grunt tower

A 34 story office tower featuring a functional fire alarm system.

gruntCraft castle sign 2

A castle used as a space for studio participants to coordinate their activities.

animation studio

Location for building animation experiments.

Diamondship network hub

Each location in the virtual studio was connected to the Diamondship network hub via teleportation.

top view of 3d print zone 3D Print Zone 2 3D Print Zone 3 3D Print Zone 4 3D Print Zone 5

Much of the building done by the youth participants was in the 3D print zone. Constructions that were built in this zone were later 3D printed.

IMG_0274 IMG_0274b IMG_0275 IMG_0277 IMG_0278 IMG_0278b IMG_0279 IMG_0280 IMG_0281 IMG_0281b IMG_0282 IMG_0282b IMG_0283 IMG_0283b IMG_0284 IMG_0285 IMG_0286 IMG_0287 IMG_0287b IMG_0289 IMG_0290

Examples of 3D prints made from the 3D print zone.


Building grunt gallery

3D print of grunt gallery

Built by a youth intern, one of the first undertakings in the project was a model of grunt gallery in the game. This model was then 3D printed as the first printing test.

gruntTower alarm test

The first construction built by a youth participant was the 34 story gruntTower. This tower featured space for other virtual studio members to build apartments and a functional fire alarm system.

Cloning with gruntCraft

Cloning the Diamondship Network Hub

One of the techniques used in building in game was the cloning command function. It was used to build the “Diamondship Network Hub”, a teleport hub that connected all the different building sites in the gruntCraft virtual studio.

The Director is in

This video from early in the project is a recoding of the project director going from his office in gruntTower, down to grunt gallery, through the “Cave of Forgotten Dreams Classroom”, to a giant hole sculpted by a youth participant.

gruntCraft Promotional Video

This video features some cloning action and was used to promote the project via YouTube’s advertising system.

Guest Artist Allison Hrabluik Visits the gruntCraft Studio

As part of the project, a series of guest artists were invited to go into the virtual studio to provide feedback on the work being done by the youth participants.

3D Printing Workshop Area Set-up

Early Stages of the 3D Print Zone

Late Stages of the 3D Print Zone

A special zone was set up for building 3D prints. This space developed over the course of the project until it was filled with 3D prints.