About my Laser Cutting


What's a laser cutter?
Instead of a blade, a laser cutter uses the very intense light of a laser beam to cut through materials (e.g., plastic, wood, etc.). I design my pieces on a computer using Adobe Illustrator. Instead of printing them out, I send them to the laser cutter. The lines I have drawn become paths for the laser to cut.


How is my laser work informed by my earlier artistic endeavors?
For years I've worked with anodized aluminum, layering sheets of colored metals to create evocative imagery. I am now using my laser cutter to apply techniques I learned using aluminum with sheets of colored acrylic. However, because of the laser's precision, I am no longer forced to create separate stacked layers. Now, I can cut separate pieces and assemble them like a puzzle - much the same way woodworkers employ techniques of marquetry. I mostly like to create functional pieces such as trinket boxes, wearables, mirrors, and night lights.


How do I get all those little pieces to stick together?
Although my work is quite precisely cut, it is all hand-assembled. I use a special solvent to fuse the pieces of plastic. Unlike traditional glue that sticks pieces together, the solvent I use actually dissolves the plastic, causing it to chemically bond with the adjacent pieces.


Why on earth did I buy a laser cutting machine?
After doing some informal calculations, I realized that there was no way I would be retiring from my day job any time in the near future. I had always thought I would spend my retirement making the art I had always wanted to create. But with the knowledge that this wouldn't be happening for quite some time, I gradually came to accept the fact that I might as well start right now. So I took the plunge, and bought myself a laser-cutter. Since then, I've been having a great time exploring all the many things it can do. 


What's up with my site name?
I derived my site's name, "Projective Art" from my background in clinical psychology when I used to administer "projective tests" like the Rorschach that allow individuals to see their own stories in ambiguous stimuli. Similarly, I have designed many of my pieces to elicit a story. But what that story will be is up to you.


Do I sell my work?
I truly dislike marketing. So, although I have an Etsy Shop, I do nothing to promote my work. I'd much rather make art for fun, than risk having it become a chore.


How can you get the schmatics for my pieces?
When I first got my laser cutter, I was baffled by all its possibilities. Although I learned quite a bit through trial and error, I was always grateful for sites I found that shared insights for how they created their work. I even found some sites where I could actually download example files. In an effort to repay those early debts, I am happy to share my files with other laser enthusiasts. Just email me with your request.