Blade Brilliance

Knife-carved paper drawings by LUCHA RODRIGUEZ are a study in composition and light—and extraordinary patience

Some people are obsessed with shoes or cars, but Atlanta artist Lucha Rodriguez is obsessed with paper and light, and she creates masterpieces with her extraordinary attention to their interplay. “Understanding how the light interacts with a sheet of paper helps me create a sculptural form, and I’m always inspired by the process,” says Rodriguez.

Armed with a master’s degree in Fine Printmaking from SCAD, Rodriguez began her studies with etchings and wood carvings, then moved into knife creations. There are many differences in paper arts—including the papers themselves. “Western papers bounce light while most Eastern papers retain light,” says Rodriguez.

Rodriguez spends significant time planning each piece by carefully evaluating how water and warping will shape the paper and affect the cuts. Next she applies watercolor to the paper, and once dry, she begins the process of carving tiny incisions. The result is a highly textural, organic, fluid design that appears to connect multiple pieces of paper, but is actually one large sheet. Her work with plastic involves similar cutting expertise, but the material responds more boldly than paper and results in a different sort of sculpture. In a recent series, her carved plastic spirals swirled out from the sheet into one large circle.

A native of Venezuela, Rodriguez builds bridges through art. While teaching an after-school program on a goat farm, she found it empowering to witness the children’s increased self-esteem as they learned to create. Today Rodriguez’s pieces can be found in museum collections including the High Museum of Art and the Museum of Contemporary Art of Georgia, and she’s participated in public art by creating a temporary sculpture on the Atlanta BeltLine.

“Art has made an impact in my life. It’s made me more patient, given me clarity and it allows me to connect with people,” says Rodriguez. From her home studio where prisms and crystals refract the light, Rodriguez continues to find peace and inspiration for her extraordinary paper creations and sculptures.

Artist Lucha Rodriguez is adept at carving paper with a tiny knife so that incised paper, watercolor, shifting shadows and light combine to reveal movement and depth in geometric forms. See more of Rodriguez’s work on Instagram, @luchapink, or on her website,