Steven Spazuk is a Canada-based artist who uses candle soot to create elegant drawings. After depositing soot on his media with a candle or torch, he etches lines and patterns in the soot with pencils and feathers.
Though Spazuk has spent the last 14 years developing and perfecting his soot painting technique, the creation process always has an element of random spontaneity and improvisation.
Regarding the idea to paint with soot, Spazuk said; “The truth is that I dreamt of it. I was in a gallery (in my dream) and was looking at that black and white landscape and I knew that it was done with fire and completely understood the technique.”
“In the morning when I woke up I remembered that dream and started to experiment. The first attempt at drawing with fire that I made did not work out very well. Sure enough the first paper I put the flame on caught fire. I soon realized I had to use a cardboard paper, one that was thicker and more coated than mat paper.”
“It was then that I immediately knew that drawing with soot would work. It was a instant love affair with the medium. All my ideas related to soot came in those first weeks [in 2001] . The imprints, the entomograms etc… I had a great field of work to explore, and I was aware of all the potential ahead of me. I never stopped since…”
“The biggest challenge in the beginning was to keep the drawings intact. It took me lot of testing with fixatives and spray varnish. Now I can say that I am mastering the spray varnish. You need a really fine spray and you need to shoot at a certain distance.”