Seeing the World as an Artist: Zachary Aronson

Ever wonder how people learn to harness their artistic abilities and make a name for themselves? How does one start to see the world through an artistic lens? For the freelance artist, Zachary Aronson, it’s always been natural for him to look over and draw the person sitting next to him. He can’t help but notice the way the light falls on a person’s face or the way their facial expression shifts in conversation. 

Zach’s hope is that his artwork will inspire others to consider other unorthodox approaches to art. His medium has evolved from scotch tape and printer paper to various types of wood and blowtorches. He has always felt a strong desire to create with his hands.  

Zach’s Vision

Zach developed a novel art form called open-flame pyrography. He has spent the last ten years developing this art form.“ Working with fire is a direct result of working with what was accessible to me.” This was the most effective way for Zach to carry out his artistic vision.

His work continues to progress as he uses different elements of wood and torches. “There has been no one to draw inspiration from in regards to pyrography, Zach explains, “It’s been trial and error this entire journey.” Most of his techniques came about unintentionally. Because this element can get out of control, he had to really push himself in order to understand and control the fire. The larger-than-life faces he creates are exposed and vulnerable, visceral and raw, created using a traditionally destructive element. Zach views his artistic practice as a collaboration with nature, instilling new purpose and identity by transforming wood to ash in the primal fusion of fire and earth. 

Being Personable

Zach’s artwork has always been a very social experience. He is not at all someone that draws inspiration from being alone. When he begins a piece the goal is to capture the essence of that person. His art is the result of really listening and seeing the person for who they are. 

Zach explains his process, “I don’t ask that the models sit completely still and not engage with me. Because my pieces are so intricate, they can take a few hours to complete and perfect.” “It’s a deeply personal experience and people really seem to enjoy it,” Zach explains. “We laugh and talk the whole time. Because Zach is inspired by people, he finds that he actually thrives in these situations. 

Finding Your Voice

Being a freelance artist means that you have to put yourself out there. This comes naturally for Zach, but others might have to learn how to get their name out there and articulate what they’re about. Zach has been talking about his art for a long time. He speaks about it in a very natural way. No doubt his education has something to do with this how easily he can discuss his work. Even still, it takes practice. Be open to speaking about your work at exhibitions. He is able to translate his artistic process into words. This is an important element in seeing the world as an artist. You have to verbalize what’s happening in your artistic mind. 

As a Los Angeles native, Zach received his undergraduate degree in fine art from USC in 2012 and his graduate degree from CalArts in 2016. He currently works as an artist, producer, and set designer in Los Angeles and has had 8 solo gallery shows to date. Zachary Aronson is available for commissions and live pyrography for special events.

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Choosing Your Artistic Medium: Zachary Aronson

Are you an artist still grappling with what artistic medium to pursue? Some of us know we are creative, yet we struggle to find a way to express ourselves. Watching as other people pursue their dreams, envious of their artistic expression can feel kinda- depressing. Everyone has a dream but only some of us have found a way to channel it into a talent. So, how can we find our inspiration and then channel it into something artistic? 


Zachary Aronson is a successful freelance artist willing to give us his take on choosing a medium. So, how did Zach get where he is today? “I’ve spent my entire life focused on my art. I’ve been creating ever since I was five years old.” Zach explains, “My innovations and discoveries that have led me to where I am in my career today are a byproduct of that dedication.” To clarify, you don’t have to have been dedicated since you were a child to be artistic, but you do have to set some time aside for the craft of your choice. The more time you set aside, the bigger the payoff. 

Choosing a Medium

How does one go about choosing a craft that will coincide with their creative spirit? “ I just happened to find my current medium by accident, Zach explains. “I showed up to class unprepared and just made do with what I had, which was wood and a torch.” Zach has developed the art form of pyrography and continues to push this medium, claiming that fire is unlike any other tool or medium. As he continues to improve, it still feels new, implementing new techniques and mastering them.  

Zach elaborates, “This process of 2D or 3D art is immediate and tactile, and I am constantly working at it. I get in the zone and am really in it, until it’s done. Whereas other mediums really take me out of that. For instance, with painting, you have to wait for the medium to dry before you can continue to add details. One medium takes months and the other takes a few hours, but I like to go at it nonstop.” So, choose your medium based on the style that suits you and by the length of time. 

Stick With It

Try choosing something that you think you can stick with. “Another interesting thing about pyrography and stone carving is that they are subtractive mediums. You are taking something away rather than adding to it, Zach explains. “There are more consequences that way. Once it’s gone, you can’t put it back. I enjoy that part of the process.” Because Zach has a continued interest in his work, he is able to refine his skills.

“I now have a general understanding of how the wood will react to fire based on the grain, however, I’m still sometimes surprised at which areas burn faster,” he explains.”The entire process is very immediate and instinctual. There’s no formula. It’s all a matter of spontaneous decisions.”  Somehow the pieces are still consistent.  

You’ll Feel It 

Art can help us express an array of emotions, but it can also feel very calming and natural. Once you find your medium, it might feel as though you are more grounded when you are creating. Zach concurs, “Introducing an element that transforms a material into something else feels very organic. It’s’ like a collaboration with nature. I’m not imposing anything.” Before he starts, there are already various patterns occurring in the wood. “Based on that, I weave in and out of the wood grain,” He continues, “This might influence my decision as to where to start - maybe the eye, the nose, the mouth.” You’ll likely know when you’ve found the best way to express yourself. Zach ends by saying, “I know in my mind that I have the tools I need. I don’t need a conscious plan. I can trust that it’s happening. I don’t have to really think about it.” 

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Why Creating Art Should Be a Social Experience: Zachary Aronson

When you think of an artist, you can’t help but think of a shut-in that refuses to be disturbed. They endlessly pour over their work until it’s complete. Well, this may be the case for some artists, but art can actually bring people together, and not just after the piece is finished when it’s being seen by other art enthusiasts. Creating art can serve as another way to connect with people. Much like a musician connects with an audience. For this reason, we are consulting the most outgoing artist there is, Zachary Aronson, a freelance artist from Los Angeles to better understand how art can be a social experience. 

Zach literally paints with fire, using blowtorches to burn artwork into various types of wood. The LA native is the pioneer of this unusual medium and has spent the last ten years developing his ability to create realistic art on wood with blowtorches and flamethrowers. As his skills and expertise have grown, so has the recognition he has received. During this development, he has gone on to do numerous live events, eight solo gallery exhibitions, and countless group shows to date, most of which are featured on the website. 

He primarily focuses on portraiture and figurative work. All of his portraits are done freehand, from life, using only fire. Because there is so much detail that goes into creating one of Zach’s pieces, he will either work from the client’s home, ask them to his studio, or participate in live events. 

Be Willing to Travel

Zach is willing to travel with his tools to create art anywhere. You can tell by looking at the models and the finished work that a great time was had by all. Zach states, “I am not one of those stoic artists who insist you sit perfectly still. I have conversations with the person and get to know them, which helps with the portrait. I can capture more of their essence this way.” The artist and the model have an exchange of energy in the process which truly makes it an unforgettable experience. Zach explains, “They learn about something new, and I believe that when they leave, they do so having had an unforgettable experience.”

Ice Breaker

Asking if you can do someone’s portrait is a great way to initiate a conversation with someone.  “I’m also not the kind of artist that locks himself away not see the light of day until my work is complete,” Zach shares. “My art is really the byproduct of what makes me excited and happy - being able to socialize and take the time to get to know someone.”

“In the past, I would bring a sketchpad with me to a bar and just ask strangers if I could draw their portrait,” Zach reflects on a woman he met one night. “I asked her if I could draw her portrait. Though she seemed genuinely surprised, she said yes. After I completed the sketch, I gave it to her, and she just started crying. I was kind of scared. I thought “wow she must really hate it.” I mean the lighting was poor and we were talking so I didn’t think it was very good. To my surprise, she actually hugged and me and said she had never felt beautiful before. She thought the portrait was lovely. It meant that much to her.” These kinds of experiences are priceless. So, consider it. Consider using your artistic ability to meet people. You will form more relationships and maybe even create a piece that reaches the depths of someone’s soul. 

For more information about the business and to see the gallery visit: and

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