Michael Papadakis, sunlight artist from RSM, California, United States. Photography © Pablo Berenguer

1.Tell us what you do and your beginnings.

Since a young age I was an artist painting, drawing, sculpting, etc. In 2012 I wanted to take my artwork on my travels across Central Asia. Here I was met with ultimate sunshine, and one day it dawned on me that perhaps I could use the sun as my ultimate artist’s tool, replacing all my previous art materials.

So with a magnifying glass in one hand and a piece of wood in the other, I travelled on foot for 14 months across the Silk Road in Central Asia creating art. When I returned to the USA in 2013, I began experimenting with larger lenses and different materials. I discovered that sunlight had the power to melt solid stone into obsidian. 

Michael Papadakis at work. Photo © Chad Vaughan

As my knowledge of this artform grew, I began to film my process and share it online. In 2017/2018, I went ultra-viral having my work shared with millions across the globe.