Zachary Aronson: How to Create Something from Nothing

Although having the most professional and expensive tools and materials to create your art would be helpful. It’s not as important as you might think. As cliche as it sounds, creativity comes from within. That’s why we are asking the successful artist, Zachary Aronson, what struggling artists can do to fulfill their creative desires without breaking the bank. Zach has been painting with fire, using blowtorches and flamethrowers to burn artwork into the wood. He explains, “I focus primarily on portraiture and figurative work. I create all of my portraits freehand, from life, using only fire. I’ve developed this unique art form that I have dubbed open-flame pyrography over the last 10 years.”

Zach always knew he’d be an artist. “I decided I would be an artist at five years old,” Zach explains. “I just started working with materials that were available to me such as printer paper and scotch tape.” This method kept evolving until the artist stumbled upon his current medium by mistake in college after forgetting to bring paper to class. 

Zach used a torch to burn a silhouette into a sculpture. The results were so intriguing that he started using wood panels instead of paper. After trying to draw on wood with lacquer on it and getting almost no results, the artist picked up a small butane torch and proceeded to illustrate. This became the artist’s tool rather than pencils or brushes. This ultimately helped him create portraits with increasing complexity. 

Zach says he now has a general understanding of the reaction the wood will have based on the grain. Although, it still surprises him which areas burn faster. Zach explains that the entire process is very immediate and instinctual. “There’s no formula,” Zach shares. “It’s all a matter of spontaneous decisions because he is still amazed at how the wood reacts. Somehow his pieces are still consistent in the end.”

After accidentally discovering this medium, Zach explains, “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.” This came from not having the essentials he thought he needed in the beginning. 

Zach likes working with his hands and finding materials to manipulate. “Working with fire was just an extension of working with what was available,” Zach explains. “This was the most efficient way to create - the tool that made the most sense to me.” He continues, “My work then evolved with different torches and different types of wood. I am in a constant process of innovation and discovery.” 

Zach explains, “I have no one to draw inspiration from in regards to pyrography. It’s trial and error the entire way. Most of my techniques started by accident. I have pushed myself and learned to control the fire. I enjoy working with fire because it appears to be physically impossible because it doesn’t seem like something you could contain or control.” Zach continues to explain that it feels very organic and natural like a collaboration with nature - not imposing. Before he starts a piece, there are already various things happening in the wood. He then weaves in and out the wood grain. This might influence his decision as to where to start - maybe the eye, the nose, or the mouth. Zach’s creativity truly comes from within. He might have nice tools now, but that wasn’t always the case and it hasn’t stopped him from creating art and being successful.

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

Zachary Aronson Discusses: The Lost of Art of Creating Portraits

In a time where anyone can take a picture with their phone and immediately share it with the world, you have to wonder what’s missing from this experience. There’s no doubt that it’s fun and easy, but what is it about a portrait that makes it more valuable? Zachary Aronson, a freelance artist from Los Angeles helps us explore the lost art of creating portraits. He paints with fire, using blowtorches and flamethrowers to burn artwork into various types of wood. Primarily focusing on portraiture and figurative work. Zach shares, “I create all of my portraits freehand, from life, using only fire. I’ve developed this unique art form that I have dubbed open-flame pyrography over the last 10 years.”

Though your portraits needn’t involve blowtorches and flamethrowers, Zach does have some powerful words that we can draw inspiration from. “I’ve spent my entire life focused on my art,” Zach explains. “I’ve gravitated towards portraiture ever since I was a child.” He was inspired by great artists such as Leonardo da Vinci and  Michelangelo. “I was always drawing the person next to me, Zach shares. “I’m not really into abstract as much as I am about capturing the essence of a person.” This seems to be what’s missing from the digital age. Can a camera phone really capture the essence of a person the way a portrait can? 

What else is in a portrait? “Portraits are challenging yet personal, it’s like a puzzle, finding different pieces and putting them together  - immortalizing a person’s likeness, Zach explains. “I have hundreds and thousands of portraits in my studio. It’s a deeply personal experience that people are no longer used to.” He elaborates, “There’s something classical and romantic about it. I enjoy the moments when I can give the gift of being seen and valued.” 

It’s true we don’t see many people request to have their portraits done as a way to immortalize themselves or someone else. Though portraits have evolved to be more abstract, we still tend to think of portraits from the 1600s when an artist was paid a great deal of money to draw or paint a person. Being an artist provides one with an opportunity to explore past artists and discover the beauty in a time where things weren’t so…digital. 

“I used to take a sketch pad and go to a bar and ask the person next to me if he could draw them,” Zach recalls. “I asked a woman sitting next to me if I could draw her portrait, and she seemed genuinely surprised, but she agreed to let me.” Zach goes on to explain, “When I was done, I handed it to her and she started to cry. I was thinking oh no, the lighting was bad and we were talking the whole time, so it’s probably terrible and she hates it.” Quite the opposite. Zach shares, “She actually hugged me and thanked me. She said she had never felt beautiful, but that the portrait was indeed beautiful.” 

“People don’t always feel that they are worthy of this act,” Zach explains. He loves those moments - these moments are forever. They serve as a visual memory. 

This brings us to another aspect of this art form. The social aspect. There’s so little effort and time involved in taking a picture with our phone. “This is a real snapshot of both our lives, Zach emphasizes. “My artwork is a very social experience. I’m not the kind of artist that locks himself away not see the light of day until it’s done.” This lost art is really a way to show someone their value- to show someone that they are seen and worth your time. For Zach, his art is the product of being social and taking the time to get to know someone. This is the difference between capturing someone’s image and capturing the essence of a person. 

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

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