(French-Canadian, b. 1960) Steven Spazuk paints with fire in a technique he refers to as “fumage,” reinventing traditional artistic approaches.  Since 2001, Spazuk has refined this skill – creating exquisitely vivid figures and animals from the residue of his candle’s brushstrokes. To achieve his painterly depictions, Spazuk gently and deliberately directs a candle's flame to the surface of his panels.  The fire scorches and kisses wisps of black carbon residue, which shapes the silhouettes of his figures.  He then carefully scratches away and removes the soot to reveal each composition.  In order to achieve color in his artworks, the artist often begins his pieces by applying acrylic paint before "smoking" them with fire.  As he scratches away, he reveals the colors underneath, which help define the subjects of his works.  He has become an Internet sensation, and was recruited as a sponsored artist by Zippo.  Search for his name on the Internet and you will find dozens of videos of him in action.  His process is mesmerizing to watch, and the final products are even more inspiring.  The transparency, fluidity, and unpredictability of smoke affect his images and propel the evolution of his technique.  The subjects of his work relate to the duality of his chosen medium.  Fire has destructive and constructive properties, which can give life and take it away.  His compositions allude to this force in nature, as they reflect the fragility and grit of life on earth.

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