@unmaskedfire on Instagram
I found @unmaskedfire during Inktober this year on Instagram, so I have been following him for just a short time. His art captured my attention immediately. As someone with psychedelic and meditation experience, I find the work fascinating and other-worldly. When I first saw the photos of his work, I had no idea the medium he used, or even the scale. I was just completely drawn into the astral environments.
With a razor blade, Dennis draws mandalas as well as many other spiritual and spacial images on expired photo paper. The top layer of this once valuable paper has slowly exposed to black, which renders the paper useless to the photographer. What lies beneath the flat black surface, are worlds and realms beyond the mind’s reach, if you can reveal it.
I have spent more time admiring the work than researching the artist, so I decided to give Dennis a shout. I wanted to delve deeper into how he created these fiery images. I was hoping the interview would go well, as he lives in the North Caucus region of Russia and I live in the U.S. Needless to say, this is mostly translated from an app. Even with the different languages, I feel it was a great conversation. We gained some insight on an emerging artist on a truly unique path.
Q: Could you describe your technique of the fire mandalas and all of the other black background works?
A: The technique in which I draw is very interesting and exciting. I paint on photographic paper in black, which is produced in a photo studio where the photos are printed on large printers. There was a lot of this expired paper, even ten years ago. Black pieces of paper for them is just a waste. The uniqueness of the paper is that a black color hiding layers and color similar to the color of fire. So I take the blade, utter the mantra, and waiting for the full moon, I drink chocolate shake, I go into a trance and create a fire mandala. That’s the whole secret of fire mandala..
Of course this is just a joke! Actually, I do not. Of course not. I’m not crazy to wait for the full moon! Okay,seriously now. Mandalas are unique and are not difficult if there is a sense of the tool performing on the paper layers.
Q: Using the needle to center, and spin your medium, is very innovative. What are some other un-ordinary tools you use to create your art?
A: The needle is at the center axis around which it was necessary to rotate the paper. It was designed for that video so that the viewer could see how the circle becomes complicated and cluttered in design. Always the main tool was a simple blade. But in fact, you can draw with anything that affects the layers. I have a lot of blades and each leaves its own unique pattern.
A: Influence to me is everything that is close to my understanding, my vision, sensations. M.C. Escher is certainly one of the great graphic artists, who played with reality. He was a sorcerer. But the biggest influence on me has barely a nascent idea and the courage to experiment. So I am open up to new tricks.
Q: What kind of public art museum or local art gallery access do you have where you live?
A: I’m still nowhere to be exhibited. And I live in Russia
Q: All artists are evolving, please tell us what your long term goals are with your artwork?
A: My goals are simply to create and develop. Expand the means of expression, and to do something from which to wonder you with.
Q: I’m sure it is obvious to most, but the psychedelic feel of your works is very apparent to me. I have been on many trips where images like yours would be VERY welcome. In the subtle words of Jimi Hendrix, “Are You Experienced”?
A: Yes! Exactly!
I will absolutely recommend to all readers to watch his videos after reading this interview, it will give you a great idea how he works with the medium and the techniques he describes within.