Flair for the flammable: Artist creates striking artwork with gunpowder
A tattoo artist has found an explosive way to showcase his creations by making pictures with GUNPOWDER before setting them alight.
Using nothing more than a small pair of scissors, Dino Tomic fashions the black powder into detailed pictures of film characters, mythical creatures and intricate patterns.
Working out of his tattoo studio in Notodden, Norway, the 29-year-old has used the volatile medium for just over a year.
Dino said the process involves pushing the grains of powder delicately onto a piece of paper taped to wood before they are set on fire with a lighter.
Dino said: “It’s very difficult to do because you have to be careful and make sure the white spaces in between the gun powder are right – otherwise the picture won’t work.
“It’s really satisfying to do. I love watching the fire burn throughout the piece because I’m always excited to see what I will be left with.
“The flames get quite hot when you’re close to them, it makes the room warm up.
“Everyone in the room keeps back at a safe distance for safety reasons.
“I love seeing the fire light up and to watch the piece burn – it’s very satisfying.
“It’s strange seeing my work go up in flames, but then a permanent form of it remains.
“The paper is stuck to the wood so the picture burns onto the paper but it doesn’t set the whole piece alight.”
The artist started using gun powder 12 months ago and has created almost 50 pieces of work.
The highly explosive powder is kept in a locked cold storage room in his studio for safe keeping.
Each piece varies in size, from 23 inches by 20 inches while others are more than nine feet long.
Dino said he loves the attention he gets from his online followers.
Dino said: “I usually do pop media stuff, so that’s things I’ve seen on television like James Bond, Game of Thrones or Batman.
“Those sorts of works do really well. I have more than 500,000 followers on Instagram, they love it on there.
“The creations are super intricate and it can take a long time to finish some pieces.
“Usually they take a couple of days, but my giant mandala took almost two weeks to finish.
“The gun powder is super sensitive so I have to be really careful when I get up and move because the slightest little breeze can mess up the lines.
“I put the powder in an old ketchup bottle while I use it.
“I’ve experimented with different gun powders, using smaller and thicker grains.
“The thicker grains burn more slowly and the smaller ones are trickier to move about, so they both have different properties.”
Dino uploads his creations on social media and has a large following, with some videos racking up more than 1.6million views.
Dino started using gun powder after experimenting with salt and sand and wanted to branch out into other substances.
Dino said: “I have been doing art for as long as I can remember.
“I wanted to do stuff differently and to push boundaries.
“I watched someone using salt on a video on the internet a long time ago and wanted to try it.
“It’s very hard to make small images because the gun powder grains burn a larger mark onto the paper so you have to be really precise with where you place them.”
Dino has been a tattoo artist for 12 years and likes to combine his art mediums to produce original work.
Dino said: “Switching from gun powder to luminous sand is tricky because they behave differently.
“However the end results are fantastic because you get to see one picture in the day time and another picture in the dark.
“But when using anything luminous you have to keep turning the lights on and off to make sure you’re doing it right.”
The artist, who has been with his girlfriend, Minr Strømmen, 25, for two years shares his love of art with her.
Dino said: “My girlfriend loves seeing my work because she’s an artist herself.
“When creating art I think it’s important to be versatile.
“It’s very important to be different because if you create things like everyone else then you can’t stand out.
“Being creative is such a big part of my life, it’s my passion.
“It makes me feel great to know people are enjoying my work as much as I am.”
Dino has so much demand for his gun powder works he now sells them and given commissions on a regular basis.
Looking to the future, Dino said: “I want to keep exploring new ways of working but I will continue to be a tattooist.