Thursday Salute to Originals: Smoke Paintings

Fireworks are exciting; They symbolize freedom, celebration, and love. We watch fireworks displays on holidays like Independence Day and New Year’s Day, and we set them off when our favorite sports teams win (Go Indians!). When we kiss the love of our life, we measure the amount of chemistry between us by whether or not we “felt” fireworks as our lips touched. But for one artist, fireworks mean so much more than just symbolism.

Rosemarie Fiore creates stunning, colorful works of art known as “Smoke Paintings” by using exploding fireworks’ colored smoke as her paint.


Her process essentially involves containing and controlling fireworks explosions, where she “bombs” blank white sheets of heavy paper. Using different types of fireworks, such as smoke bombs, monster balls, rings of fire, jumping jacks and others, she is able to create unique imagery through harnessing the explosions’ chaotic nature in upside down containers. The photos below illustrate how the containers, which are often cans and other mixed media, create circles of bold color as they move along the paper.



Fiore creates lines in her work by dragging sparklers along the paper, which leave burn marks that mix with the color. However, the actual process of using containers and controlling explosions is much more in depth than it appears. On her website, Fiore explains multiple containers are connected together and fitted with caster wheels. Inside the containers are the smoke canisters, which are chain fused together. Once they are lit, their smoke is released at different intervals. As the pressure increases, smoke forcefully shoots out of the holes in the bottoms of the containers. During this process, Fiore uses a long pole to ‘twirl, spin, and guide’ the machines along the paper. The machines themselves were designed to hover just above the paper and leave the outstanding trails of color.


For harnessing the artistic power of smoke more adeptly than some people handle a traditional brush and paint, we salute Rosemarie Fiore. Her brilliant use of fireworks, which is a dangerous job (don’t worry – she wears protective headgear!), make her large, vibrant works of art not only memorable, but explosive in every sense of the word!

Sources: Rosemarie Fiore, List Verse, YouTube