Talented Zero-Waste Artist Hye Sea Uses The Sun To Engrave Wood “Paintings”

Solar wood engraver, Hye Sea, or MagnifytheSUN, calls herself a “Zero Waste Art Enthusiast” and uses the sun to engrave wood.

She creates one-of-a-kind artworks that minimally impact the environment by focusing the energy of the sun into a concentrated beam of light that can be controlled to burn images onto a surface like wood.


Her subject matter is often portraiture, but she has created impressive pieces featuring animals, lettering, and anime compositions.

Here’s a video that shows her engraving process:

Without paints, solvents, and other highly toxic art supplies, all Hye Sea needs to create one of her eco-friendly masterpieces is sunlight and reclaimed wood sourced from fallen trees.

According to her website, the artist’s mission is to, “… clear the way for a wasteless (art) world. And though art plays a major role in helping us make this a reality, sustainability as it pertains to a thriving Earth & environment which continues to sustain people and all life, is what keeps our flame lit, quite literally.”

Hye Sea first discovered the technique in high school when she and her brother would use magnifying glasses to set fire to leaves and paper.

“I always played with fire since I was a kid,” the artist told interviewers at the First Annual West Adams Block Party in Los Angeles in 2017. “I always was a firebug, I set newspaper on fire— I set bugs on fire… I just decided to use it in a more creative way.”

MagnifytheSUN has come a long way since Hye Sea’s high school days. The brand has grown into a full-time art practice that keeps her busy with commissions, live events, and community engagement initiatives.

So if you’re stuck sheltering in place and sick of staring at bare walls, why not commission your very own zero waste wood engraving to brighten up your space?

Susan LaMarca

Written by Susan LaMarca