Spazuk: Playing With Fire

Since 2001, French Canadian artist Steven Spazuk has been working with a technique he developed that allows him to use a flame from a candle or torch to create his paintings with the trails of soot that remain. He then uses tools to manipulate the soot left behind on the thick paper to develop breathtaking images. His work, which is mostly monochromatic, evolves as he is working and he allows the images to emerge naturally.

He was a regular painter working with acrylic paint and collage before he began “playing with fire.” Over the years, he has perfected his technique and his work, especially the portraits, which are simply stunning.

He often works with smaller pieces of paper that assemble together to form a large portrait mosaic. The self-portrait below is composed of 272 pieces that can fit into a shoebox that makes transporting to a gallery much easier.

He sometimes incorporates paint into his work.

Watch how he creates his work in this video:

Caroline Williamson is Editor-in-Chief of Design Milk. She has a BFA in photography from SCAD and can usually be found searching for vintage wares, doing New York Times crossword puzzles in pen, or reworking playlists on Spotify.