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Artist: Don’t try this at home

ire artist Jason Bolton paints in and around the flames on rough hewn lumber.

ire artist Jason Bolton paints in and around the flames on rough hewn lumber.

Jason Bolton uses fire as a medium in artistic endeavors

ANNIE BLACKBURN
Staff Writer

Jason Bolton plays with fire.
The self-taught artist and happily married father of four expresses his creativity in a way that leaves many people either confused or enthralled.
“It usually goes one of two ways,” Bolton said. “Either it’s ‘wow that’s really great’ or ‘that’s crazy.’”
Bolton does what he calls fire painting. His medium is a piece of timber or canvas, covered in a flammable liquid and set ablaze. He then covers his hands in paint and crafts an image through the flames. A firm believer that creative ability is a spiritual gift from God, Bolton began fire painting at the beginning of the summer after a conversation with a fellow artist.
“He told me the ability (to create) isn’t yours, it just goes through you,” Bolton said. “That was a huge turning point in my life as an artist. A week later, I was fire painting. It’s more of an energy rather than a talent.”
Bolton defines his work as “impressionist abstract,” and while he finds inspiration in many different places, his greatest inspiration comes from spiritual literature. A student of philosophy, the Massachusetts transplant and nine-year North Carolina resident feels that philosophy and a spiritual connection with God play a huge part in his creativity.
“People don’t recognize themselves or their creative ability,” Bolton said. “People are afraid to think of themselves like that, so with overcoming those fears, it’s very peaceful to be able to create without judgment from peers or society. It’s almost like meditation.”
Bolton does most of his painting at his house, and though his art was purely intended for spiritual expression, he may soon begin to sell the paintings.
“They are beginning to pile up,” he said.
Bolton will be participating in the Lovable Lincolnton Wine and Art Festival in on Oct. 11, and as he continues to expand his horizons within the burgeoning Lincoln County art scene, he sees its growth as a positive step in people overcoming their creative fears.
“(The) art scene here is growing,” Bolton said. “The larger the creative collective gets, I think it has unbelievable potential to be a hub, especially with Lincolnton being between Asheville and Charlotte.”
Though Bolton finds peace and a spiritual connection through his art, he emphasizes two main important points when it comes to fire painting. The first, that his ability is truly a gift from and for the glory of God. The second is that fire painting is incredibly dangerous and he does not recommend others trying it.

Fire artist Jason Bolton ignites a piece of rough hewn lumber and waits for the flames to subside in order to paint in and around the flames.

Fire artist Jason Bolton ignites a piece of rough hewn lumber and waits for the flames to subside in order to paint in and around the flames.

Images courtesy of KaAnSuli | Lincoln Times-News and Jaclyn Anthony / Lincoln Times-News

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