Gunpowder Art

We’ve previously featured Croatia-born artist Dino Tomic for his art using granules of salt, but he’s back with a BOOM! Similar to his salt portraits, he’s delicately arranging granules, but this time it’s gunpowder. When he’s done, he lights the art on fire, causing a fiery explosion that leaves the imprint of his delicate arrangement permanently burned into the surface of his platform. This gunpowder art is truly unique because no burn will ever be the same.

Dino is always looking for ways to makes his art stand out. He says that it blends the best characteristics of ephemeral and permanent art together, creating a fully artistic experience.

“I needed to figure everything out, step by step, myself.”

His first step is to come up with an image that fits the process and make alterations on the fly to make it fit the two-tone style he uses. He arranges the powder on wooden plates, which make it easy to see the black powder and readily accepts the heat of the burn. Dino can vary the “line” thickness by using denser piles of gunpowder, but shades can only be implied with the thickness of negative space between burns. At the same time, the pieces have to be close enough to each other in order to continue the burn, as pieces that are too far away won’t be ignited.

gunpowder art

Depending on the level of detail, a piece can take hours or days of work. After working with gunpowder for a year, Tomic noted that there’s no guidebook for the medium, requiring him to constantly experiment. He fills plastic bottles with the gunpowder grains to help spread them evenly and quickly and then uses a combination of surgical scissors and his fingers to arrange them into place. He has to remain focused the entire time. One false move, sneeze, or even sigh of annoyance can send the delicate grains flying. All of that, of course, is on top of being careful not to get burned when he lights it all on fire.

“Working with gunpowder requires a lot of patience.”

gunpowder art close-up

Dino currently lives in Norway, running his own tattoo shop. He’s a master of mediums, doing everything from hyper-realistic paintings to glow-in-the-dark work. We’ll be keeping an eye on his Instagram to see if he adds any new mediums to his repertoire, but you can check out his work along with our growing collection of exceptional artists in our new book, Odd Is Art.

From paintings by an artist with no arms or legs to sculptures made entirely of salt, you’ll find some of the most fascinating and unbelievable pieces of art from the Ripley’s Believe It or Not! collection. Designed as an elegant art book meets the eclectic one-of-a-kind Ripley’s archives and exhibits, Odd Is Art is a visually stunning book that will delight and amaze art lovers and Ripley fans alike.