Tispr Stories: Zachary Aronson is Setting the World on Fire

Every Friday we check in with a freelancer or small business person who is following their dreams and doing what they love. This week, we’re chatting with Zachary Aronson, Los Angeles based artist and freelance Pyrographer. His artwork has been shown in dozens of galleries and is regularly sought after by art collectors.

Here’s what Zachary had to say about being an artist, his process, and playing with fire.

Why do you do what you do?

Being an artist has never been a choice for me. I have an insatiable compulsion to create.  It’s something that I need to do just like eating and sleeping. 

“I am, and have alway been, an artist.  I’m creative to my core and have never questioned what I wanted to do with my life.  I’ve built my life around this certainty.”

How did you get into pyrography?

One day I forgot to bring paper to a drawing class in college and, after wandering around for a while, I found an abandoned piece of wood by a dumpster. I did a charcoal drawing on it and really liked the result so I continued to draw on wood panels. Later, I had the idea to use a small butane torch that I had for silversmithing to fill in the background. I started incorporating fire into my artwork and eventually stopped using pencils, drawing only with fire. 

How do you feel when you’re working, doing what you love?

When I’m working, the rest of the world disappears.  I get lost in my creative process to the point where I often lose track of time and don’t get tired or hungry.  All that exists is my craft and the subject of my current portrait.

What kinds of subjects do you explore in your art?

Most of my pyrographs are portraits or figures. There’s something inherently fascinating about people to me. I enjoy exploring ideas surrounding identity and anonymity, studying what features and expressions make individuals similar and unique.

“When I’m working, the rest of the world disappears.  I get lost in my creative process to the point where I often lose track of time and don’t get tired or hungry.”

What it's like making a living from being an artist?

My work can include making art for traditional gallery shows, creating private commissions, designing immersive installations for theater, dance and opera productions or even performing live art at concerts and festivals. I love the spontaneous nature and creative freedom that my work allows me.

How has your craft evolved over the years?

I am constantly learning new things as a pyrographer. My technique is entirely self-taught, so the invention and application of new techniques happens on a regular basis.  I am currently doing things with blow torches that I wouldn’t have thought were possible when I first began exploring the medium.

How has pyrography changed your life? 

The discovery of pyrography has opened a lot of doors for me.  I have created an artistic process that, as far as I know in my eight years of developing it, is still unique.  I love being able to consistently present viewers with an experience that they have never seen before.

To learn more about Zachary and see some of his amazing artwork, follow @zacharyaronson on Instagram.

This interview has been edited and condensed for clarity.

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