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.
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.
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.