Have you ever tried to burn the paper with a magnifying glass on a sunny day and see how quickly the form glows under the intense rays of the sun? Michael Papadakis puts this solar energy to better use and creates some incredible works of art simply by burning wood with lenses and mirrors!
This 30-year-old Californian artist uses refracted and reflected sunlight through a magnifying glass to create art. The lens becomes his brush and the wood, his canvas. He establishes excellent works of art by focusing the sun’s powerful rays on the wood surface to burn it into the desired image. He loves to create romantic and family scenes from everyday life.
One look at Papadakis’ works is enough to show what a tedious job it is to burn the wood with a magnifying glass and trace the exact contours of the sketch. On average, the time required for a single creation varies from one hour to 30 hours, depending on the size of the artwork. As this art form is a bit risky, he protects his eyes by wearing welding goggles and keeps water handy to prevent any fire that might break out while he is ‘painting.’
According to Papadakis, his talent would have remained untapped had he not traveled to the high plateaus of the Pamir mountain range with a magnifying glass and a piece of wood to create what he describes as his ‘Sunlight Art.’ The trade route he traced was the ancient ‘Silk Road,’ which receives abundant sunshine.
When Papadakis returned to the United States after traveling to Mongolia, China, Tajikistan, Kyrgyzstan, Afghanistan, Turkey, and Greece, the first thing he did was replace the traditional magnifying glass with Fresnel lenses and solar collectors. Experimensunlight forms of sunlight made him realize the different qualities of reflected and refracted light. This knowledge helped him create his signature, ‘Sunlight Art.’
Papadakis has showcased his unique art throughout the United States and abroad and has made some famous clients, including GoPro, The Balvenie, RJ Reynolds, and Ripley’s Believe It or Not, among others.