In 142 AD, during the Han Dynasty, a man named Wei Boyang was the first to write anything about gunpowder. He wrote about a mixture of three powders that would "fly and dance" violently.
So here I am in The Blast Factory. I'm thinking it would be cool to fly. In a suit, like Iron Man. Or in a cape, like Superman. I could walk out of the studio, leap into the air, and “whoosh” fly off to meet my friends. I think I’d like Iron Man’s suit better. I wouldn’t get bug splatter on my face and teeth. Although, Super Man has really nice teeth. And the cape would be easier to fit in my closet than the iron suit.
I really can’t fly.
Seriously, my vertical jump is about 6 inches.
I took ballroom dance lessons with Renee. Man, it was fun. But, I am slow and stiff and uncoordinated. The best thing I learned was to improve my posture. And to not step on Renee’s feet with each movement. Sorry Renee!
I really can’t dance.
Just ask Renee!
At certain points when I work on my art, I carefully place single grains of gunpowder on the canvas. When they ignite I know what Wei Boyang wrote about. The grains skip and dance and fly into the air.
They fly. They dance. They create beautiful, intricate swirling patterns. (You can see them in the background of many of my artworks.)
So I light the fuse. I live vicariously through my art.
Stick Vega is the American Gunpowder Artist and author of LESS KILLING. He creates explosive pop art and blogs from The Blast Factory in Madison, WI and Bucktown, Chicago, IL. Follow Stick on Facebook and/or Twitter.