Burn Western: The art of Nikki Safrit

Western Contemporary Art of Nikki Pettitt Safrit

Branding is used to signify ownership. The hot-iron marks stay on the animal throughout its life and are easily recognized after it is tanned. I use leather rather than canvas, and pyrography (also known as wood-burning) as my medium. My work is linked with the animal, the material, and the culture. Leather is used in almost every aspect of the American Old West. It comes from animals that provide means of support, such as wild game or working farm animals. The pyrography burner is similar to a branding iron and uses heat to make permanent marks. I'm branding my work into the backbone of the western culture, tying it more deeply than is possible to do with a brush, charcoal or pencil. I'm crossing boundaries between artist and experience, contemporary with traditional, past and present, and artist to viewer. With pyrography and other mediums and materials that I use, the challenge is to communicate the history, concepts and feelings locked deep in the backcountry wilderness.