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Catching Rae

Pyropainting: An Intersection of Reality and Possibility

Continuing my Women's History Month series on fabulous, fashionable women living and working in the real world, today I'm celebrating artist Deniz Nicole - who literally makes art by playing with fire

Deniz describes her invention of pyropainting - a process whereby she manipulates paint with flame - as an act of rebellion. She noticed some paint containers with a warning not to expose the medium to fire - and (naturally), she was subsequently compelled to do exactly that. Now Deniz's signature art style has birthed a hypnotic collection of pieces that beautifully encapsulate the tensions between intent and spontaneity, creation and destruction, reality and possibility. And if I'm getting a bit cerebral, well, that's just what her art does to me. ;)

Pyropainted glass discs ready to be set in pendants.

Pyropainted glass discs ready to be set in pendants.

Pyropainting (available for purchase as one-of-a-kind pendants (remember mine?) or large panels) collapses several different ways of experiencing light - which is integral to our visual experience of reality. Light is reflected/absorbed by the pigment, refracted/bent by the glass, warped and changed by the fire - and this manipulation of light inspires me to ponder the malleability of perception. If fire can create art as well as destroy it, then what other beautiful opportunities might come twin to catastrophe? If light itself can be slowed and bent and bounced, then what other changes might be possible?

Image via

Image via

As an answer to the latter question, Deniz has also planned Carousel Candeo, a large-scale art installation for Burning Man that will effectively place participants inside a spinning kaleidoscope, up-ending their normal experience of context, age, gravity, and perception all at once. From Deniz:

I think that experience is the new "looking" at art. In a world saturated with images and sounds, our minds become Normalized to the experience, making it harder to gain any real perspective from it. Great works of art become posters and advertising now - inescapable - in your car, on your TV, on the radio. Creating art installations to engineer dimensional moments for people to experience, or remember whatever they are pulled to feel, is what I would like to give back to the patrons of my art.

This experiential approach comes through in her personal style as well - when I met her, she wore comfortable, natural fibers, killer boots that made her seem ready for anything, and of course her own custom painted necklaces. The knit column dress accentuates her long, slim figure and makes her look ready to dance, her feather earrings evoke free time in the outdoors, and the rolled sleeves say, "I'm ready to get my hands dirty!" 

Definitely check out Deniz's website  to view - and purchase! - jewelry and artwork. Proceeds will help fund Carousel Candeo... not to mention supporting a super cool, kind, and unique spirit.