David Hartz, Associate Professor in Electronic Media Communications at the University of Cincinnati Raymond Walters College, will represent the United States in the World Fire Sculpture Championships in Tallinn, Estonia. Hartz will be joined by two Seattle fire sculptors, Chuck Nafziger and Jonathon Zucker, to form the United States team. The competition will take place January, 2011. Hartz and the United States team will compete against teams from Finland, France, Latvia, Lithuania, Mexico, Norway, Russia, Sweden, Switzerland, South Korea and Estonia.
The competition will take place as part of the Tallin Light Festival. The participants to the World Fire Sculpture Championship were chosen based on the candidate teams’ sculpture designs and proposals. The semi-final round of completion will be held on January 16 and six teams will advance to the finals on January 22. The first-place team will be awarded 2500 euros, the second-place team 1500 euros and the third-place team 1000 euros.
Hartz; who teaches animation, photography and media design courses at UC Raymond Walters College; describes fire sculpture saying, “I find it an all encompassing medium using the senses of sight, hearing, smell and motion. Fire sculpture is much more complicated than an ordinary bonfire. My experience has taught me to respect fire like a creature I’ve brought to life, choreographed to perform in specific ways and then allowed to die out.” Hartz speaks of a correlation between animation and fire sculpture, “There is a direct relationship between the two [disciplines]. Fire incorporates light, sound, space, and change over time in a real world environment much the way animation works in a 2-D or virtual space.”
The sculpture competition and the festivities in Tallinn will be documented on video by Hartz for a program to be broadcast on UCTV, the University of Cincinnati television station operated by Electronic Media Communication at UC Raymond Walters College. He also plans to share this experience with his students and the college community.
Hartz has used his fire-creating talent in Electronic Media Communications director H. Michael Sanders’ art films. “I turn to David whenever I use fire or pyrotechnics in one of my video projects. His study of fire allows him to build a fire that is consistent over the course of a prolonged shoot. This is essential for continuity and I appreciate his expertise,” relates Sanders.