Zachary Aronson Discusses Why He Doesn’t Play Favorites When it Comes to His Art

Zach is always pushing the limits when it comes to his art. So, when it comes to choosing a favorite. He’s pretty reluctant to make a decision. “My favorite is almost always one of the last few I’ve done.” It’s pretty rare that he will go five pieces without saying that one of them is his new favorite. 

Constant Improvement

Because he is improving so dramatically and so rapidly, his most recent works usually become his favorite. “That’s one thing that might not be reflected in other mediums,” Zach explains. “Because I am always experimenting and evolving and taking the best of what I’ve learned.” Whether it’s improving on the proportions, getting faster, or using new and different tools to advance his art, Zach is always striving to perfect his work by any means possible. 

For instance, Zach saw a substantial improvement in his art when he started incorporating a flame thrower. How does an artist decide that a flame thrower would be a good addition to their work? Zach explains, “ When I first heard about Elon Musk’s company putting out a flamethrower, I  thought it was a joke. Elon Musk sold 10,000 flame throwers to raise money for LA company, The Boring Company.” Zach continues, “ When the company tweeted that their next project would be a “Not A Flamethrower” I was intrigued.  Zach continues, “It looked fake - like an assault rifle. I thought to myself, this is a terrible idea for everyone else, but a perfect creative tool for me.”


The pandemic is actually what inspired Zach to try out the flamethrower. “Because human interaction is such a huge inspiration for my work, I was bored without people,” Zach recalls. “I went into experimental mode.” He continues, “ I tried it and realized it was burning the wood at an even pace. The flame was so large it was coating the wood in ash.” Prior to that when he was using the torches it would make marks that covered less surface area. Now Zach uses the ash to make features and the shavings and ash become something to essentially finger paint with. 

Zach explains, “So, now I start a portrait using this, and then take it to the studio to essentially paint the features. Near the end, I take it outside and hit it with the flamethrower with more accuracy to fill larger areas with more precision.” Recently, Zach has started burning the bottom to create almost a solid ash. It gives the portrait a moodier feel.  

Sentimental Value

That said, Zach sees his art as more of a sentimental representation of the moment. So, there can’t really be an ultimate favorite piece. Zach keeps everything that he hasn’t sold. He’s developed an entirely new medium, so watching the progression is ongoing and something that he really loves. “My pieces are a snapshot of that time,” Zach explains. “Sometimes it represents a turning point.” He continues, “I have a timeline of my work on display in my house. I have my first pieces.” In fact, Zach has kept everything, even from when he was a kid. His works are all dated with the name of the person that had the portrait done. If you think of your craft as a way to constantly improve, you might also have a new favorite every few pieces. The trick is to keep experimenting and evolving. 

How to Talk About Your Art and Promote Yourself: Zachary Aronson

Like most industries, self-promotion is a necessary evil. As an artist, there’s no doubt you’d rather spend the majority of your time perfecting your craft. That said, if you don’t learn to put yourself out there, along with your art, you’re going to end up stifling yourself. Zachary Aronson is a successful artist that can attest to this. Although Zach is mostly unconventional when it comes to self-promotion, he has spent some time promoting his work. “You have to,” Zach explains. “It does you no good if you are the only one that understands your passion for the work you create.” 

Zach gathers his inspiration from other people. He naturally feels comfortable talking to people about his process. That is a big part of self-promotion. “It’s a combination of the artist and the art. That’s what people are investing in. It’s about passion and inspiration.” He continues, “People who can spend all day talking about their art will have a much better following because it’s interesting. People will want to support your unique ability to create if they can see your passion.” 

It is rare to see an artist succeed that doesn’t possess the ability to talk about their art. Unless there is someone willing to advocate for these artists, they might be in for a rude awakening. You have to take yourself out of the studio. There are so many artists out there. You really run the risk of being lost in the mix, especially on social media. “Think of it this way, making art is only part of your job,” Zach explains. “If you want your art to be seen, the other part is self-promotion.”

The thing that has really worked in Zach’s favor is that he gathers his inspiration from people. He didn’t have to learn how to promote himself. He merely went out and met people, the way he always has. Because of this, his biggest piece of advice is to get out in the world and show people your art. “Experience how it feels to be seen, listen to critiques of your work, and talk to people,” Zach explains. “It could lead to something.” Zach continues, “I don’t recommend relying on social media. Your work needs to be seen in real life. 99 percent of people that saw and liked one of my posts on Instagram already follow me, so that is not getting me any new exposure.” 

Even if you submit your work to an art sharing page, they will ask you to pay for your post. This might not be a bad way to get your artwork out there in the beginning, but simply learning to speak about your art is better. Zach encourages artists to just get seen in person and be open to talking about it. Make it feel special. Find opportunities to be seen creating your art. You could try local shows or concerts. 

Whenever people visit Zach’s studio, they are astounded. It’s like they know what he does because they’ve seen it on Instagram, but seeing it in person is totally different. They also can’t believe that the process is just going to involve fire. Even they know they know, they don’t really know. Zach takes as many opportunities as he can to do live art. In fact, he just started a residency in Hollywood where a lot of celebrities and influencers coming through. Doors open for him because they see him live not just on social media. This is the best way to promote yourself. Show as many people as you can how passionate you are and be willing to talk about it. 

How to Make it as an Artist: Zachary Aronson

We are all familiar with self-defeating phrases such as starving artists and struggling artists. Why are artists always depicted as having a tough time? Most people find art fascinating, so why would artists be starving or struggling? Zachary Aronson, a successful freelance artist is going to provide us with some insight and help steer us in the right direction to becoming more self-sufficient artists. 

Digital Media and Art

Zach explains, “The art world has transformed dramatically in the last 2 decades. The rise of the internet and social media has and continues to offer artists the opportunity to share their work directly with the world.” So, it’s not because the artist’s work is too accessible? Zach answers, “No, art galleries are still the gatekeepers to certain areas of the art world, but have been forced to adapt to the rapidly changing climate.” He continues, “In the future, I believe that the art world will continue to trend towards the digital world as consumers have the ability to interact directly with their favorite artists for more personal experiences with the artists they admire and collect.”

Zach’s Art Work and Success

Zach offers artwork created with fire, utilizing a unique medium that he has developed over the last 10 years.  While he focuses on portraits and figurative work, he is able to create any type of imagery that the client can imagine. In addition to having a large body of artwork that clients are able to choose from, he offers custom commissions.  All his portraits are created freehand, from life, with fire. Clients are able to visit his Los Angeles studio for portraits or he can travel all around Southern California, or beyond.  

He also offers services as a mural artist. He is able to create my artwork on any wood surface, no matter how large, including interiors and exteriors of buildings. I also offer my services as a live artist. 

Zach expands on his services, “Clients can hire me for events such as galas, parties, concerts, festivals, and more. I can either bring my own model and burn their portrait from start to finish during the duration of the event, create custom imagery relevant to them, or be more interactive and do small portraits of guests at the event.” He continues, “With an MFA in set design from the California Institute of the Art, I also design and build immersive installations out of my artwork.  With proper space and resources, I can create installation sculptures that can double as sets for theater, dance, and music productions as well as other various special events.”

How Success is Measured

For Zach success is freedom. He explains, “Monetary success merely offers me the ability to invest more into my art, to create larger artwork, and to continue having more engaging experiences.” What about people that want to make a name for themselves? “Notoriety offers me opportunities to share my work on a global scale and to create artwork for and in more notable environments so that it can be appreciated by more people. I feel that true success occurs when an artist has the ability to have full creative freedom with what they create and has the resources to create and share whatever they dream of with the world.”

Advice for Other Artists

Zach ends by saying, “Always do what you love. Across all fields, people are drawn towards your excitement and energy.  Find something that you are both passionate about and are uniquely or especially skilled at and build your business around that.”

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