For Chuck Johnson, fireworks are an art. The raw materials are explosions, bright flashes of light, sounds ranging from subtle crackles to deafening booms, and the smell of burnt-black powder. His canvas is the sky. He says, “Fireworks displays are a creative mix of timing explosions to create a tempo with highs and lows and ebbs and flows just like a musical composition.”
Chuck, the pyrotechnician for Vortex Productions, is a veteran of the movie and television industry where he works as a special effects artist, blowing up buildings and rigging explosions and fires to appear dangerous. What he’s perfected is the art of illusion.
The most important element of any fireworks show, though, is safety. The creative element of a show centers around a safety plan that considers the location, which dictates the size and style of shells that can be ignited for displays that elicit oohs and ahs. Chuck works closely with local fire marshals to ensure safety while allowing the public to get as close as possible to the action.