Meet SPAZUK. He’s an artist who creates his works with fire and soot, producing the amazing forms of the human body. Based in Quebec, we had the pleasure of interviewing him to learn about his unique vision and see what’s in store for the future.
What inspired you to become an artist?
“I have been drawing and painting all of my life. I guess I was born an artist. My heroes when I was growing up were Dali and Picasso. I admired them and their work and you could say that they were my inspiration.”
How did you come to discover creating with soot and fire?
“People always ask me this question and every time I am sort of embarrassed by it…The truth is that I dreamt of it. I was in a gallery (in my dream) and was looking at that black and white landscape and I knew that it was done with fire and completely understood the technique. In the morning when I woke up I remembered that dream and started to experiment. It was a instant love affair with the medium. That was in April of 2001 and I have been working with fire ever since.”
What do you hope to bring to people who see your works?
“I capture soot to capture chance. Chance is used to express a fundamental lack – if not purpose, of recognizing the mechanisms which cause an event. For me, spontaneity and chance are what drive the creative process.”
“I have many reasons to paint but no one in particular, I just do it. And the act of doing can bring at times these perfect moments – a kind of ‘state of grace’ which lifts and thrills me from the surface which I’m preparing to darken. It’s an obsession. I feel drugged by the work which will soon hatch from the darkest corners of my mind and emerge onto a surface, sanctioned by the search for the perfect shape. It forms itself, it escapes, it returns and when I find it, I capture it. It creates itself in spite of me…Sometimes my work becomes a dose of absolute happiness!”
“First, there is the impulse which sets the artwork in motion. Then comes the emotion. Some inner “command” takes hold once the imagery begins to appear. The initial catalyst – the “illuminating candle” which I’m literally holding in my hand – explores and exposes itself on the surface. The first curl of soot unfurls in a sort of liberating explosion…So I hope people who see my work get a bit of that serendipity feeling.”
Your human body works are especially moving. Anything you would like to comment about your work with it?
“I like to express everything: the modern human condition in general, as well as my uncensored psyche. My intimate relationships, my opinions, my appreciation of life and the people around me are encoded in the technique but of course I alone can decipher this personal layer of meaning.”
“From the outside, one might interpret my pictures completely differently. Also, the finished work is often foreign to me and presents very differently from what I might have been feeling or wanting to express when I created it. On occasion I see a piece that I had sold or given away several years ago. At first I have no specific memory. Then, once I rediscover the codes that I’d used to create it, it becomes like a diary on canvas. Sometimes, as I reconnect, I can actually hear the music I’d been listening to that day, or recall an exact conversation that preceded it.”
What is in store for the future? Are there any exhibits coming up?
“I am now in a production phase. Working in my studio on a show about our experience, my girlfriend and I, with breast cancer. I have no specific dates but it will be this year I just won second place at the Kingston Prize with a portrait of Danielle, my girlfriend, and now started the portrait of my father and mother. I just finished a great event in Montreal.”
If you could say one word before you die, what would it be?
Thank you SPAZUK for enlightening us with your unique vision!
A video interview with SPAZUK, and a view of the brilliant artist at work: