Fire Art in the Gallery?

Craft & Design Science
Fire Art in the Gallery?

When you think of fire art, you likely think of art on the desert playa or the Flaming Lotus Girls at Maker Faire. Here’s some fire art worthy of a gallery setting (think of that call to the insurance company). These pieces were presented as part of the 2011 Combustion Art Competition Awards, held at a recent meeting of the Combustion Institute. Photos and text from NewScientist:

Image: Nelson Akafuah and Kozo Saito

Super Fire Whirl
Earning Nelson Akafuah and Kozo Saito of the University of Kentucky in Lexington joint third place, this fire whirl was created by igniting benzene, a simple petrochemical, then mirroring and rotating the resultant image to produce a distinctive “S” shape.

Image: Sandra Olson

Flaming Star
Combining three separate images, all taken as part of her research into spacecraft fire safety, aerospace engineer Sandra Olson of NASA’s Glenn Research Center in Cleveland, Ohio, won with her star-shaped rendition of flames burning in microgravity. The blue areas are produced when visible light is released from the chemical reaction in a process known as chemiluminescence. The white, yellow and orange colors occur as soot burns in the flame.

See a few other pieces at NewScientist.

2 thoughts on “Fire Art in the Gallery?

  1. Anonymous says:

    And, before I get comments pointing this out, I know these are not actual fire-based pieces in a gallery. I’m just saying, it’d be cool to go to a fire art show in an art gallery.

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Gareth Branwyn is a freelance writer and the former Editorial Director of Maker Media. He is the author or editor of over a dozen books on technology, DIY, and geek culture. He is currently a contributor to Boing Boing, Wink Books, and Wink Fun. His free weekly-ish maker tips newsletter can be found at

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