Coimbatore-based artist D Vasanthakumar is perfecting his technique of using fire for his paintings

Creating art using fire

Four years ago, D Vasanthakumar a student of art, had to submit an assignment. “ I noticed a few leftover fire crackers in a corner of the room and decided to use the powder inside them for my work. I mixed it with camphor, applied it on the canvas and set it alight. I was taken aback at the pattern the fire left behind. That is when I began to experiment with using fire to create new paintings,” recollects the 25 year old. Vasanthakumar had organised an exhibition of his ‘fire paintings’ but it had to shut down due to the lockdown, he says.

It was a challenge, says Vasanthakumar, to take forward this technique. “I had no references and had to learn on my own. There were times when my entire canvas caught fire and I had to throw it away. It was through trial and error that I learnt about the precautions to take, the quantity of the flammable substances to use, and so on,” he explains.

Coimbatore-based artist D Vasanthakumar is perfecting his technique of using fire for his paintings

Obviously the works using this technique are largely in brown and black. “The amount of the powder decides the shades; the larger the fire, the darker the mark will it leave behind,” he says. Of course the artist is aware of the dangers and challenges. For one, if he makes a mistake, it can’t be covered up. More importantly, it is potentially dangerous.“I always make sure to work in an empty room for safety,” he says.

Know Vasanthakumar better
  • Vasanthakumar works as an assistant professor in the Department of Visual Communication, Dr GRD College of Arts and Science.
  • After school, while he signed up for a course in Computer Science, he realised painting was where his heart lay
  • He joined Lalit Kalakshetra for a degree in fine arts where he learnt the nuances of compositions, techniques and different mediums.
  • For now he wants to focus on his fire-painting technique

Speaking of one of his favourite works, he says, “It was a realistic fire painting of a sculpture that I saw online.”

Vasanthakumar is sure he will hold another exhibition.“Obviously, the dates cannot be finalised yet,” he says.

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Printable version | Jul 7, 2020 9:54:44 PM |

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