Artist Ryan McCann Used A Crazy Technique To Create This Awesome Basketball Portrait

Artist Ryan McCann does some pretty crazy stuff using a blowtorch, a cattle brand, and blocks of wood. His most recent creation is this NCAA-Tournament-themed portrait of a flaming basketball that was the result of a partnership with Bernzomatic, a popular brand of blowtorch in the United States that surprisingly has nothing to do with presidential candidate Bernie Sanders or “feeling the Bern,” as it were.

The theme of the work itself is apropos given his technique, described on his website as “pyrography,” or “the art or technique of decorating wood or leather by burning a design on the surface with a heated metallic point,” which according to the blurb on his artist page has its origins in ancient African cultures:

“Earliest recorded histories of Egyptian and African cultures note the art of using fire as an artistic device. It is thought that early humans used charred remains of their fires, even their own dead, to fashion images.”

McCann is actually a former UCLA Bruins football player who spent some time in the NFL with the Cincinnati Bengals before an injury hastened his early retirement. Since then, he’s been working on honing his craft, which also includes a portrait of legendary coach John Wooden that is featured prominently in the UCLA Hall of Fame’s permanent collection.