Fumage artist Steven Spazuk creates artwork using a lighter. Image: Zippo
If you believe in fate, destiny and all of those little inexplicable occurences, artist Steven Spazuk's story will give you warm, fuzzy feels. His artwork, made using fire, is often a trending social media subject. "Sure, fire is associated with destruction but it is also associated with power, warmth and positive things. When we discovered fire, the humanity started to evolve at a quick pace,” he says.
His journey from getting hired to paint hoods of cars when he was young to creating huge murals with fire started when he dreamt of checking out a black and white landscape painting in a gallery that he instinctively knew was created using fire. Spazuk recalls, "Ten years ago, I tried to recreate that landscape that I probably dreamt of but it didn’t turn out that great."
Spazuk has been painting using the fumage technique for over 15 years and has now collaborated with the lighter brand Zippo for designing an awesome lighter. He says, "It’s such a natural fit for me as a fire artist to be collaborating with a big brand like this."
And, even though he checks all the right boxes to be a bona fide, all-round cool person, the 56 year-old sheepishly admits to feeling like a relic. "Using fire was probably the first way cavemen started doing art and that is something interesting to think of because we are in 2017. We have the video, web and all the electronic gadgets that you can use to create art and I am here creating art like a pre-historic man," he says. Old-school or cave-school, we beg to differ. Take a dekko at his artwork for Zippo, for instance:
Just like his painting style, the tools used to create fumage art are equally interesting. His arsenal includes a Zippo lighter that works on butane and is used to light candles, wax candles, torches and... feathers. Yep, the artist has a can full of feathers from different birds that he uses as a brush. "Once the fire is applied on the paper it accumulates carbon or soot. The soot is fragile. So, if I use anything else, it can wipe it off. While drawing birds, I like using feathers since they give me that exact texture that I need. Using feathers to draw feathers makes a lot of sense," he explains.
If you had your childhood dreams of being an artist quashed in favour of job security and salaried life, you may want to share this with your parental units. Spazuk says, "It’s always the same feeling whether I sell a small painting or a huge mural. It’s a joyful and special feeling to have someone giving you money for something I do just because I love doing it." And why not? We don't know many people who wouldn't want to own a piece of gorgeous painting made using fire for the love of art or just for some badass cred.
But the appreciation seems to confuse Spazuk too. "Sometimes it’s a lot of money. People would give me thousands of dollars to create art and I am thinking don’t you want to buy food with this? I wouldn’t want to spend that much money, you know," he says. Well, who are we to put a price on art?
Check out Spazuk's cool collab deets: