Some people make art using paint; others draw. Artist Stick Vega uses gun powder to create pop art.
He discovered the potential of gun powder in art while on a business trip in China where he saw the work of Cai Guo-Qiang, a contemporary Chinese painter.
“He does these massive installations and huge explosions,” explains Vega.
Vega thought it might be an interesting technique to try. He’d started a painting a few years earlier as an escape from his hectic job as a CEO. He read up on gun powder and gathered his supplies.
When he was ready to give it a try, he invited a few friends over to witness the blast.
“I was just about to light the fuse and that’s when I realized that this is the moment of pure art,” says Vega. “As that fuse heads toward it’s artistic destination, there is a uncertainty. You don’t know what’s going to happen.”
Things didn’t go quite as Vega predicted. He didn’t realize that there are hundreds of types of fuses and that he’d chosen one that burned fast and hot.
“It went kaboom! And a mini-mushroom cloud went up over the neighborhood,” says Vega.
Rather than be scared away, Vega was hooked.
“I now thought this is the coolest thing I could be doing,” says Vega
Vega sold his company and became a fiull-time artist. He studied the science of gun powder and continues to experiment with different fuses, gun powders, and paints.
A few years ago, Vega landed on his artisticmisson.
“The more gun powder I use, the less there will be for killing people,” says Vega. “That’s what drives me every morning. I’m going to find a way to use gun powder to make the world a better place.”