Michael Papadakis uses sunlight refracted and reflected through a magnifying glass to create art on wood.
Hoping to discover himself and his path in life after college, Michael Papadakis purchased a one-way ticket to South Korea, followed by an artist retreat at a commune in Xinjiang province in China.
“When I was in China my friend had a magnifying glass sitting on his table and I vividly remember the sun shining through the window and onto the magnifying glass,” Papadakis told Caters News.
“I instantly had a moment of realisation where I thought to myself, I could probably draw with that.”
While the word ‘heliography’ usually refers to a photographic process invented in 1822, Papadakis uses it to describe his art of harnessing the sun to burn intricate artworks onto wooden panels.
His art form is similar to pyrography, wherein a painting is done with heat. However, instead of using a soldering iron, it uses concentrated sunlight.
By holding a wide range of magnifying glasses a few feet away from a wooden canvas, Papadakis focuses the sun’s rays in a small point, which he uses to scorch designs onto the wood. His subjects vary from romantic scenes, to family portraits, to everyday life.
“On average a piece can take anywhere from one hour to thirty hours depending on the size and detail of the image or logo,” Papadakis said.