Colin Liotta

Liotta Design
Berkeley, California, USA

I create art that builds on my fascination with math and the way that simple 2D parts can create complex 3D wholes.

My pieces are made up of individual layers of laser cut paper or hardwood that are stacked together into intricate 3-dimensional patterns that are both organic and algorithmic.

I rarely start with an exact vision of what I want to make. Instead, I mix and match different transformations and concepts until I serendipitously discover something beautiful.

I enjoy working with natural materials since there is something particularly delightful in the intersection of math and nature, chaos and order. Plus, it's nice to make art that can be touched.

Falling Inward
Falling Inward
33 x 33 cm
16 thin layers of maple, walnut, and stained maple

I have always loved fractals, and yet we normally view fractals as flat 2-dimensional patterns. In this piece I wanted to show their depth and 3 dimensionality.

I started out by calculating a basic mandelbrot set and finding the continuous curves at the boundaries between different rates of divergence. I then cut those specific curves out of alternating layers of maple and walnut hardwood, and stacked them together to form the classic mandelbrot image. But now, instead of just a 2D image, the entire piece has depth and you can directly see how the different heights corespond to different rates of divergence. Plus, it looks beautiful.

Exploding Outward
Exploding Outward
33 x 33 cm
16 thin layers of red oak, and stained maple

Since I was a young child, I have always been fascinated by the way that collections of straight lines can approximate curves. I was even more amazed when those curves could combine together to form flowing organic shapes.

In this piece, I cut 16 individual sheets of red oak hardwood and layered them together. Each individual sheet consists of nothing but straight line quadrilaterals that have been cut out of the material, there are no curves and no lines drawn on the material. Yet when all of the layers are stacked together you discover a mesmerizing pattern of intertwined curves and a large exploding sphere, simply in the way the different cut outs interact with each other.