Many people associate laser cut technology with the automotive and aeronautics industries, and it’s probably not the first thing that springs to mind when you think about art. However, this versatile technology is popular with many prominent artists, fashion designers and graphic design professionals because it allows them to create delicate and intricate patterns and shapes using various mediums.
Laser cut art is incredibly diverse, ranging from large-scale wood sculptures to mind-bogglingly detailed jewelry and wall art. Below, you can find out about some of the most talented and prominent laser cutting artists and discover how they merge fine art and graphic design principles with cutting-edge technology.
Gabriel Schama of Oakland, California, creates intricately detailed laser cut artworks in a variety of mediums. Although his body of work includes cut paper, leather and acrylic laser cut art, he mainly works with plywood. Gabriel Schama creates a sense of depth in his images by building up layers of laser-cut wood. Many of his impressive works feature silhouettes of human faces containing geometric shapes or mandala-like forms. Schama also takes inspiration from religious art and shapes from the natural world.
2. Tord Boontje
Tord Boontje is an inspired artist who incorporates laser cutting techniques into his art to create astonishingly delicate floral and nature-inspired shapes. The London-based artist combines modern laser cutting technology with traditional, folksy designs in a unique way to bring depth and warmth to interior spaces. His fabric collection titled Kvadat 1 layers laser-cut materials to create light and shade, a technique he describes as “like embroidery with light.”
Pakistani-born Anila Quayyum Agha is an extraordinary laser cutting artist who explored her complex feelings about Islamic religious spaces in her award-winning installation Intersections. The installation features a laser-cut lightbox made from wood showcasing breathtakingly intricate geometric shapes inspired by the Alhambra building in Granada, Spain. The box creates light and shadow around the entire room, producing the effect of patterned walls. Intersections was awarded the Public Vote Grand Prize at the 2014 ArtPrize awards.
The mysteriously named SpaceWolf is an illustrator and laser cutting artist who creates astonishing pop culture-inspired and original works. He engraves intricate illustrative designs on cherry wood using laser technology, although his art begins as an ink drawing. The result is a beautifully shaded wood poster that gives the impression of three dimensions. SpaceWolf ensures the sustainability of his process by planting a new tree every time he sells a piece of art.
Graphic artist Martin Tomsky is one of the most well-known laser cutting artists and creates his works from his London studio. His works are diverse, ranging from tiny items of jewelry to large-scale illustrative images. Martin Tomsky creates three dimensions by building up layers of detailed laser-cut plywood. His larger works often have a strong sense of narrative, and he creates complex natural scenes richly detailed with small animals, plants and other forms inspired by the real world.
Joshua Abarbanel creates complex wood sculpture artworks in Santa Monica, California, including impressive wall art in three dimensions. His work combines natural forms with industrial and mechanical shapes, all cut using laser technology. Abarbanel is particularly noted for his sculptural works inspired by coral reefs and says he bases his work on the relationships between people and places. His art primarily features layered wood pieces, although he also works with rock, concrete and other materials.
Laser cutting artist Jenn Liddiard and her husband Damian, a former architect, use their combined knowledge of modern laser technology and traditional crafts to create laser-cut jewelry and other accessories from wood. Each work begins with a hand-drawn illustration before evolving into tiny pendants, belt buckles or even bottle openers. The duo also sells personalized art and accessories from their website.
8. John Edmark
John Edmark designs and makes diverse wooden art and sculptures based on naturally occurring mathematical patterns and movement. His works feature cut or engraved spirals and geometric shapes, creating a pleasing juxtaposition between modern and natural forms. Edmark says he’s inspired by nature and enjoys using precise mathematics to create surprising shapes and patterns that reveal themselves to the viewer the longer they look at his art.
San Jose artist Eric Jacobson creates impressive sculptural works in various hard materials, including acrylic, glass, wood, and metal. Much of his work centers around the human figure, particularly the head, and uses layers of laser cut and engraved acrylic to create detailed transparent forms. Jacobson has a keen interest in electronics and often uses LED bulbs and other technologies to form illuminated works that highlight contrasting colors and textures.
In 2014, Dutch fashion designer Martijn van Strien launched his iconic Contradictions collection, the premier offering from his label mphvs. The garments feature laser-cut fabric panels with geometric designs inspired by architecture. Welded seams accentuate the architectural laser cuts by creating bold and eye-catching silhouettes. The laser cutting technique makes it more straightforward to create one-of-a-kind pieces to suit each individual, offering a technological slant on haute couture.
Mathew Rosenblatt is the artist behind one of Toronto’s most iconic modern art installations. His breathtaking wood sculpture Symbolic Peace is made from cold-rolled steel and features laser-cut symbols illuminated by an interior light source. Rosenblatt was inspired to create this work by the diverse religious and cultural identities of his local community.
12. Kate Raudenbush
Based in New York City, artist and designer Kate Raudenbush began her career as a photographer before learning to sculpt. Her works feature prominently at the Burning Man festival and are widely displayed in major art galleries, including the Smithsonian Museum in Washington, D.C. Raudenbush’s large-scale sculptures feature laser-cut wood lattices and panels and are inspired by the natural elements and diverse cultural influences. Many of her sculptures also serve as a shelter or meditation space and feature illuminated LEDS to create depth with shadows.
13. Eric Standley
Virginia-based artist Eric Standley creates intricately layered architectural and geometric images. While his body of work bears some similarities to that of Gabriel Schama, he uses laser technology to create intricate paper layers. Standley begins the creative process with paper drawings before employing modern technology to make laser cuts far more precise than a human hand could ever achieve. Standley takes inspiration from the shapes and patterns in religious art and takes a precise and labor-intensive approach to weave his images, and a single work can take him several years to complete.
Exploring the Possibilities of Laser Cutting
Hopefully, our list of the best laser cut artists has opened your eyes to the possibilities offered by laser technology. This versatile cutting and engraving technique is integral to many industries, from cutting parts for automobiles to creating laser-cut art and branding products. Therefore, it’s not hard to see why the demand for laser cutters is so high. If you’re considering starting a laser cutter business, you may be wondering how viable your idea is and how to get started.
Is Laser Cutting a Good Business?
A laser cutting business provides plenty of opportunities to thrive in a rapidly growing marketplace. Starting a laser cutting business is relatively inexpensive compared to similar areas such as 3D printing, and you should find that you have plenty of demand for your services if you choose your niche wisely. It’s also straightforward to learn how to use a laser cutting or engraving machine, so you won’t need any specialized artistic or technical training to achieve excellent results.
Can You Make Money with a Laser Cutter?
You can certainly make money with a laser cutter because there are plenty of potential clients looking for laser cutting and etching services. Laser cutting is a precise and affordable way to create shapes or patterns from various materials, including acrylic, wood and plastic. Many businesses also use laser cutting services to etch their branding logos into labels or products. With a bit of hard work and a good business plan, there’s good money to be made with a laser cutting business.
How Much Does It Cost to Get Something Laser Cut?
How much it costs to get something laser cut depends on several factors, including the material, the design complexity and the potential hazards involved. Many laser cutting companies charge for laser cutting services by the hour, and you should expect to pay somewhere in the ballpark of $13-$20 per hour. However, your project could be significantly more expensive than this if it’s highly complicated or requires a lot of input from the technician.
Ask the Experts
Creating outstanding laser-cut products starts with the right laser cutter. Thunder Laser USA is one of America’s premier suppliers of CO2 laser cutting machines and can help you select the most suitable laser cutter for your niche and budget. Get in touch today to discuss options with our team of experts and find out how laser cutting technology can benefit your business.