Visual Art

It’s Electrifying: Local Artist Burns the Mold by Making Wood Art with Electricity

self-taught artist Rick Johnson finds a zap of creativity

Abigail Bostwick |

LIKE A BOLT OF LIGHTNING. Rick Johnson of Eau Claire creates art in wood by using electricity in a form of wood burning.
LIKE A BOLT OF LIGHTNING. Rick Johnson of Eau Claire creates art in wood by using electricity in a form of wood burning.

One could say the inspiration for artistry hit him like a bolt of lightning.

For Rick Johnson of Eau Claire, art had never been a passion. “No doodling or sketching,” he said.

After witnessing a form of wood burning via electricity, however, Johnson was fascinated and dedicated himself to learning the how-tos and dangers of the method.

“Once I tried it, I was hooked on it,” the self-taught artist relayed.

Soon after, a friend encouraged him to take his work to a show. That was more than three years ago. Today, Dog Paw Arts – named for a fond love for his furry companion, Jasper – sells worldwide as well as locally.

“It’s been seven days a week, up to 12 hours a night for … shows just about every weekend year round,” Johnson said.

Dog Paw Arts features jewelry made out of wood, rock, steel, and resin as well as works in wood, rock carvings, paintings, lamps, several forms of woodburning and “whatever pops into my head,” the artist said. “We have grown from never doing art into a full-time business.”

Johnson hopes to open a gallery, store, or workshop. Check out more of Johnson’s electrifying work at facebook.com/DogPawArts.