Zippo Mazzi

How Mazzi creates a Zippo

The Zippo by Mazzi is a small workof art that is the result of much more than just that magical inspiration of the moment; in actual fact its creation is quite a long and detail process.  

First of all, the lighter has to be prepared: after having removed the insert, the lighter is carefully cleaned to remove any grease and than it is brushed to dull it; the hinge and logo on the back are covered with a sort of protectiv mask before being sprayed with the "primer", a  paint used as a base to help the painting adhere to the sureface of the Zippo.

After the sureface has been dulled again, the Zippo is finally painted white and is now ready to be airbrushed. The painting has been completed, but the work is not yet finished: the airbrush painting then needs to be protected with a transparent two-component protectiv paint; it is then dried and polished by hand in order to remove any remaining impurities.

At this point, the insert is put back inside the lighter, and the Zippo is now ready to become a part of your or my collection.

But the most fascinating phase of the whole process is the creation of the painting itself. This process can take hours upon hours to complete, sometimes days, as in the case of the "Big Five".

Given the complexity of the subjects (5 animals and a small landscape) and the intersecting layers, an initial sketch of the painting is required to be able to achieve a harmonious juxtaposition of the images.


1. You always start off with a white base an then proceed in layers, painting the background first. After that, you start with the first subject, the lion, sketching the most important elements such as eyes, nose and mouth which will serve as points of reference.


2. Starting off with the lighter tones, you work on the lights and shadows of the hair to achieve a three-dimensional effect of the head; at the point, details such as pupils and moustache can be added.

you can now set up the elephant on the top layer which will end up covering part of the lion.


3. On the elephant too, the main shadows are sketched first and than the details can be worked on.

Because you are working in layers, the first part that has to be painted is the small sunset with the birds in flight, which partly covers the elephant, and than the tusk, which in turn covers the sunset.


4. The rhinoceros too is set in front of the sunset, so first of all you airbrush the base an then move on the body and finally to the head.


5. Continuing the sequence of layers, we need to work on the body of the bufallo first and then the head and the horns, which will be in the foreground of what has just been painted.


6. The only subject remaining is the leopard, and the best place to start is with its spots; that is all you need in order to identify all the anatomical elements of the animal. All that needs to be done now is to give the leopard the three-dimensional effect using "chiaroscuro"... and the work is complete!