paul chojnowski: fire drawings paul chojnowski: fire drawings
jun 08, 2011

paul chojnowski: fire drawings

‘approaching storm’ by paul chojnowski burned and scorched paper (30 x 40 inches)

american artist paul chojnowski works with fire and water on paper and wood, creating photograph-like and narrative images by selectively burning and charring the surface.

chojnowski developed his unconventional technique in the early 1990’s, while working with wax and raw pigments on wooden panels. discovering that he could burn marks into the wood’s surface using handheld torches, chojnowski began creating ‘fire drawings’, first on wood and then also on paper.

his current technique involves the use first of a water dropper, which he uses to soak each part of a sheet of watercolour paper to a different level of wetness. taking a torch to the surface, he then burns the image; the wettest areas of the piece are the slowest to burn, and thus remain lighter in tone even as the driest sections char to black. control is critical in the process, as even a moment of overheating can cause the entire work to burst into flame.

chojnowski also uses the natural textures of his surfaces as a layer of detail; for example, in his ‘evening of the deluge’ and ‘after the deluge’ prints, burned and highlighted regions align carefully against the grain of the wood, offering the impression of water ripples.

‘search lights’, burned and scorched baltic birch plywood (40 x 60 inches)

‘after the deluge’, burned and scorched paper (30 x 40 inches)

‘beacon’, burned and scorched baltic birch plywood (48 x 36 inches)

‘candere 1’, burned and scorched paper (22 x 15 inches)

‘evening rain’, burned and scorched paper

‘ribbons and ring’

‘times square 11:20pm’, burned and scorched paper (30 x 22 inches)

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