On Thursday (Jan. 4), artist and CalArts alum Zachary Aronson (Art BFA 14) was featured on KPCC’s arts and entertainment podcast, The Frame.
As host John Horn explained, “There have been a lot of tragic stories about the fires in California. With homes, property, and vast amounts of land now scorched, it’s hard to see any sort of beauty in the flames, but there is one artist who, in a very controlled way, uses fire to create art.”
Perhaps “the only artist in the world who paints with blowtorches,” Aronson discussed his work in pyrography – writing with fire on wood–with reporter Adriana Cargill along Southern California’s iconic Venice boardwalk.
Using sandpaper and blowtorches to etch charcoal-life drawings into oversize pieces of redwood, white oak, birch, and pine, he prefers to work with live models, feeding off the energy of his subjects and the crowds his work attracts at art walks, festivals and live events.
Aronson’s pyrographic technique was born while a student at CalArts, when he forgot to bring paper to class and decided to experiment with wood instead.
Said the artist, “My favorite thing about working with fire is the idea of using a traditionally destructive element to make something new and beautiful.”
—by Katie Dunham