The first artist we had visit UWM for this year’s Artist Now! talks was Charles Beneke. His work tends to be in the areas of print-making and multi-media, but he did mention that he’s used laser cutters for some of his work.
Here’s part of his talk where he mentions using laser cut pieces:
Charles seemed to indicate that the laser cutter was just a way for him to speed up production. This isn’t the first time I’ve heard this from an artist. Many artists seem to look for ways to make their current process easier, or faster, or both. Instead of cutting things by hand, they want a machine to cut them. Most of these artists don’t seem to view the laser cutter as a unique and primary tool to create work, but just a more advanced method of what they’d do anyway, with their own hands and a sharp blade.
In most cases though, these artists (and designers) are digitally designing things, and then using CNC machines to do at least a part of the production process, though I’m not sure any would say that they are working in the area of Digital Fabrication and Design.