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Calgary artist enjoys international success with his fire paintings: ‘It’s exploded!’

WATCH: It's not very often you come across an artist painting a picture then setting it on fire. But as Gil Tucker shows us, for one creative Calgarian, it's something that's sparking some surprising success.

Calgary artist Jeff Vermeeren enjoys taking a visitor on a tour around his studio, showing off the wide range of materials he uses.

“I’m working with glow paints, Lamborghini and Ferrari paints,” Vermeeren said. “I work with different chemicals: propane…I’ve tried paint thinner, toilet cleaner.”

No matter how many combinations he might mix together, Vermeeren says there’s always one constant – “chemicals that burn.”

Once he’s finished grinding patterns in the aluminum he uses as a palette, Vermeern sprays on a few layers of paint and then fires up the blowtorch.

“I always set my pieces on fire,” he said. “The colours change and I guess that’s why I like doing this kind of art, because I’m not exactly sure how it’s going to look.”

Four years after he started putting flames to paint, Vermeeren is enjoying international success.

“It’s exploded,” he said. “I’m in 41 galleries worldwide right now, throughout Canada and the U.S., around Europe and Australia.”

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Vermeeren is also on the front cover of the spring edition of Fine Art Magazine.

“This magazine is in all the Barnes and Nobles in the U.S.,” he said “It’s kind of wild.”

He says every painting turns out differently and he’s always looking forward to creating another piece.

“The fun thing about fire is it’s a different element every time — a force of nature that we can’t control.”

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