Follow for more talkers

Art

Artist braves freezing temperatures to paint portraits on giant floating blocks of ice

The pieces, which are human faces are part of a series he has titled "Fractured," are ephemeral art - designed to only last a moment before disappearing.

Published

on

By Leo Black via SWNS

Meet the American artist who braves Finland's freezing temperatures to paint portraits on giant floating blocks of ice in the Baltic Sea

David Popa, 29, creates the giant portraits by swimming out to sea in the freezing water and using charcoal and soil in a spray can to paint the surface of huge blocks of ice.

Each portrait has to be created in around four hours as the ice floats would invariably either sink or float away.

David's "Fractured" series came with many challenges as he had to create them in the middle of the freezing Finnish winter.

"Initially it was a huge paradigm shift for me to convince myself that it was even possible and safe,"said David, who is originally from New York, but now lives in Espoo, Finland.

"I actually practiced for two winters before starting on these, it only works at almost exactly zero degrees."

This past winter the conditions were perfect and he was able to complete his project.

David wore a full dry suit to swim through the freezing water to the floats he intended on painting, sometimes swimming for 30 or 40 meters.

He also had to pack all his equipment, including a drone, into watertight bags, and carry it through the freezing water.

"The conditions were perfect, because it kept fluctuating between warmer and colder days, the ice kept freezing over and then cracking again," he said.

The series became very popular and David sold around 100 prints of images and six video NFTs, with the most expensive one reaching just over £13,000 ($15,000).

The pieces are so large that it is difficult to keep track of them from the ground.

In order to plan them out, David had to mark the ice and take a picture from above, which ate into how long he had on the ice, adding to the time pressure.

"After I marked the ice and take the picture, it's go time," he said.

The pieces, which are human faces are part of a series he has titled "Fractured," are ephemeral art - designed to only last a moment before disappearing.

David's choice to make his pieces on such a difficult medium stem from a love of adventure and an attempt to escape from the stuffiness of the art world.

David went to art school in Wenham, Massachusetts but he was more interested in hiking and adventure.

He fell in love with murals in art school, where they had a graffiti wall on which he could practice.

He said: "[When making Fractured], the key question was how I could associate murals to nature."

David wanted the entire piece, from the canvas to the paint, to reflect his two passions, murals and nature.

Stories and infographics by ‘Talker Research’ are available to download & ready to use. Stories and videos by ‘Talker News’ are managed by SWNS. To license content for editorial or commercial use and to see the full scope of SWNS content, please email licensing@swns.com or submit an inquiry via our contact form.

Top Talkers