During my final quarter at UCSD, I had a thrilling opportunity to experiment with a laser-cutting machine. The playground for my exploration was an honor class project. I decided to do not just paintings but three-dimensional artworks. They were to be sculpted out of plywood, taking shape from the depths of my imagination and translating into reality through the wizardry of a laser cutter.
The process began with my pencil and paper, sketching out intricate designs that would become the foundation of my art. These designs were not destined to remain as sketches on paper; they had to be transformed into digital forms and vectorized. Inkscape, an open-source program, a tool used at UCSD to bring such artistic visions to life, emerged as the bridge between my sketches and the laser cutter. However, the most challenging part was envisioning how each piece would interlock and overlap to form the final masterpiece.
As the laser cut through the wood, it left behind a smooth, black, charred edge that added a touch of elegance to the finished product, lending an unforeseen depth and dimension to my artwork. The laser cutter was not just about cutting; it was a masterful carver of delicate folds and intricate shapes. Watching it in action as I recorded the process was nothing short of mesmerizing.
As the time came to infuse color and life into the wood, I opted for acrylic colors. To preserve the natural beauty of the wood, I applied an acrylic medium that acted as a barrier, preventing the paint from seeping into the raw surface. This way, the wood's innate charm could shine through as an integral part of the artwork itself.
The next step was bringing the meticulously cut pieces together. Wood glue became the force that bound them, and weights applied pressure until the glue dried, ensuring a solid, seamless connection. These artworks were meant to be displayed, so two of them featured wire hangers at the back, while the third had a clear picture hanger, ensuring an even and secure hanging.
But as I gazed upon my finished pieces, an intriguing question began to linger in my mind. Was it still a painting, or had this innovative fusion of laser cutting and painterly approach given birth to a new art form?
The boundary between painting and sculpture had blurred, and in this enchanting realm of creativity, definitions seemed to dissolve, leaving us with an artwork that was uniquely its own.