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Bringing back the ‘memory of the forest’: Bend man turns wildfire charcoal into art

(Update: Adding video, comments from artist)

BEND, Ore. (KTVZ) -- Troy Stith uses a medium in his artwork that might not be so common: charcoal.

"I started walking through these forests of charcoal to where I realized, why am I not using what's available to me out here?" the Bend resident told NewsChannel 21 on Tuesday.

Like a phoenix rising through the ashes, Stith takes charcoal he finds hiking through burnt forests, then uses it to draw images of those self-same forests.

"So what I'm trying to do is kind of bring back the memory of the forest, through drawing it again with its ashes," he said.

Stith, who works at a cannabis grow, said it was a perfect opportunity to reuse the materials from a seemingly dead forest.

"For me, I walk through there and see a lot of new growth," Stith said.

He walked me through how he does one of the drawings.

"It all starts with just more or less, a smattering of charcoal like this," Stith said, dumping the charcoal bits on a blank page.

He said the scenes are often inspired by where he finds the charcoal.

"Some times I like to draw dead trees in the foreground, because that's where my charcoal comes from."

Stith has done a lot of different artwork before, and says the uniqueness of the wild charcoal adds to it's appeal.

"A normal piece of charcoal would be flat, processed charcoal, like this," he said.

With each rub and stroke, Stith adds life to the page.

"So you're bringing the tree back to life, through the stroke of using its own texture in order to bring into the scene," he said.

And all it takes him is just a few minutes, either at home or in the forest.

"And obviously, I'll keep refining, and that's how you get these details," he added.

You can find his work on his Facebook and Instagram.

Bend / Central Oregon / Deschutes County / Fire Alert / News / Outdoors / Top Stories
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Jack Hirsh

Jack Hirsh is a multimedia journalist for NewsChannel 21. Learn more about Jack here.

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