'There's no erasing' - Chattanooga artist uses torches to burn wood into art

A Chattanooga artist uses torches to burn wood into art. (Image: WTVC)

A Chattanooga artist found a way to make her work stand out, by turning up the heat.

At Art Instincts, Hollie Berry uses fire to bring a wood canvas to life.

"I started burning my first picture and it came out way better than I thought it would, and I didn't set anything on fire," Berry said.

She uses three different sizes of torches to burn wood into art.

"You preserve your whites and you very gradually build up your darks."

She calls this torch painting.

"There's no erasing."

The typical reaction goes like this:

"Wow I can't believe that's burned, and I can't believe that you just use torches!"

We met with her as she worked on a custom torch painting of an elephant.

today she's working on this custom torch painting of an elephant.

"I wanted it to be like the moment an elephant charges you and stops just short of running you over so you can be truly impressed by their power."

She's had a studio at the Chattanooga WorkSpace for three years now.

She says it can be tough to make it as an artist, especially while starting out.

"After three years I'm definitely profitable, I'm still working up to getting a living wage."

Hollie says one of the major challenges for working artists is getting healthcare, so she's thankful she's covered on her husband's plan, leaving her free to keep bringing the heat.

"I do think every single torch painting I make is a little bit better than the last one."

You can view Hollie's work, and other artists, at the Chattanooga WorkSpace. There are open studio nights the first Friday of every month from 5:30 to 8:30 p.m.

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