What is Laser Cutting and how is it used by Artists?

Laser Cutting is something I use a lot in my work.  A question I often get asked is what is it and how does it work?  Well, I am going to attempt to provide an answer today. Laser Cutting is a method of cutting materials with a high powered laser which, like 3D Printing, is controlled by a computer. Parts are designed on a computer and then sent to the Laser cutter to be cut. The technology was invented in the late 1960s and in the 1970s was used by the Aeronautics agency to cut extremely accurate titanium parts. 

As well as its use in industry today, it is also used in schools and by hobbyists. In the photo below you can see a screenshot of one of my candle holder designs from my Art with Light collection. A CAD (Computer Aided Design) program is needed to draw up the designs to be made. The CAD program then communicates with the Laser cutter and allows the machine to interpret the design drawing to be cut. The Candle Holder (Below) was designed in software called 2D Design to scale and it was then sent to the laser in the same way that a document is sent to an inkjet printer. 

Screen Shot of Candle Design. 

The computer plots the coordinates of the design and this information is processed by the Laser Cutter that then accurately traces the design out with the Laser at the desired scale and measurements. In the video below you can see the parts of the candle holder being cut out of Laser Ply. The material is vaporized by the laser as it follows the path mapped out by the design. The laser beam itself is only a fraction of a millimeter wide. This allows for extreme accuracy in the cut and production of parts. 

  

Once the pieces are cut out the parts were then stuck together to create the final product (Below).  All of my Art with Light collection has been created using Laser Cutting or 3D Printing. you can view them here. I am not the only artist that uses Laser cutting in their work. This technology is being used by many talented creatives in the mainstream art community and by Muslim artists as well.

 

Arabesque Candle Lantern by Ian Garrett

 

Shaheda O: Islamic art and design is a contemporary art and graphic design company working out of Brisbane, Australia. They create stunning laser cut and printed traditional Islamic art of outstanding quality. This is a small example of their stunning work.

 

They have been creating simple, beautiful and elegant designs that fuse Islamic art and imagery with minimalist style since 2015. The quality of the outcomes they produce is a very good example of Laser cuttings use in the field of art. 

Shahedao Prints

Tom Green opened Lazique Laser Creations in 2016 after taking a career break from being a professional Graphic Designer and illustrator. Tom creates extremely intricate art from his studio in Newquay, Cornwall. He has produced some amazingly beautiful designs that truly show the full potential of laser cutting as a tool for the creation of art. One of his best pieces is Helios (Below). This sculptural is wall art is a geometric representation of the sun. Tom describes the piece in this way:

"Worshiped as a god in many ancient cultures and seen as the giver of life, our sun is symbolic of birth, growth, and healing. In this simple piece, the central overlapping rings represent the fusing nuclei releasing their energy. This energy, which we see as light, radiates outwards from the center in the form of multilayered spiked rays."

Helios by Tom Green

Mohamad Aaqib runs The Archist, his design studio in Leicester which he opened in 2018. A graduate of architecture at De Montford University Mohamed became intrigued by the use of Islamic geometry in Architecture and furthered his study in this field. The repeating patterns and arabesque designs, the rhythmic motifs of free-flowing infinite patterns inspired him to create and make his own designs. The main inspiration being the Alhambra in Granada Spain. 

He describes his work as: "A fusion of old and new."

Mohamed (like Tom Green) creates multilayered masterpieces of Islamic inspired Geometric art. Oblivion, 2018 (below) is an outstanding example of Mohamed's eye for detail. Exhibited at the Open 29 exhibition in Leicester last year (2018) this piece pushes sculpture to new heights and lives up to Mohamed's philosophy of fusing old and new. 

Badau is a design studio that was set up in Birmingham, England in 2015. Badau means from the desert, or of the desert in arabic. The concept behind the name is a cosmological minimal design, which differs from scandinavian or japanese minimalism by embracing complexity, but still retaining raw functionality. Badau is run by Yaseen, a graduate of the architecture degree at Birmingham City University. Yaseen uses his Laser cutting skills to great effect to produce really cool wall art. This multilayered piece boasts traditional Islamic aesthetic with a modern twist. 

Layered Wall Art by Badau

Badau also creates Islamic accessories using their cutting edge machine. Their Nalain Pak Car Hanging and Pin Badge designs (below) are extremely popular judging by the amount of extremely happy testimonials they have on their site.

Nalain Pak Car Hanging and Pin Badge by Badau

He is also pushing out the frontiers of what is possible with Laser Cutting as a tool for art. Inspired by his background in architecture Yaseen has thought of a way to fuse the concrete aesthetic of buildings with the Islamic art of calligraphy. Using Laser cutting and Silicon to create molds, he has produced affordable Islamic Sculpture for the Modern Home. His Kufic Calligraphy Sculpture Series is quite different from anything out there at the moment. He describes the concept behind it like this:

"Badau has been a creative outlet for a few different material studies. The concrete Kufic series I produced used laser cutting and silicone to create molds for concrete. The concept behind this was that the historical origins of concrete and the Kufic text are from the same area and time period, I wanted to examine this relationship to form a something that looks very ancient but is in fact completely made from contemporary systems and materials."

Concrete Sculptures by Badau

All of these artists are pushing the boundaries of art and their work proves the worth of using Laser Cutting as a tool for creating intricate sculpture and art. There are many more artists out there that are incorporating Laser Cutting into their practice. Why not follow the links and check their art out. 

What do you think? Have I missed out someone out? To join the discussion why not leave a comment below.


Older Post Newer Post


Leave a comment

Please note, comments must be approved before they are published