The art of Burning Man has always been one of my main motivations for returning to the desert year after year. Here’s a few of the pieces that made me glad I was there in 2013.
Claude the Dragon by Gabe Zanotto, Jim Bowers“A 22′ long incredible work of recycled art! Everything (including) the kitchen sink went into creating Claude over his 20 year existence.”
The Art Department erupted in cheers when Claude the Dragon and his crew arrived; in part because they had planned on being there days earlier (having had their share of hang-ups and breakdowns along the way), and because we already knew that Claude was rad. I had the honor of showing these fine folks to their site. As I led the way to Claude’s new home, Gabe was at the wheel of a dying truck with Claude on his trailer, flanked on each side by his smiling family, creators, and friends. Looking back from my cart it was somewhere between a parade and a bomber squadron. Their happiness was so contagious I made sure to visit them through-out the week, bringing friends to meet the crew and see Claude’s intricate detail. It was beautiful to see them so glad to share their art with this weird new audience in this most surreal place. I’m confident that their entire crew was transformed by their experience, and that Gabe got better schwag than you or I.
Truth is Beauty by Marco Cochrane
“Truth is Beauty is the second sculpture in a three-part series featuring singer/dancer Deja Solis, the first of which was Bliss Dance (2010)… These sculptures featuring women safe in the present to express themselves, are meant to help raise consciousness around violence against women, begin a healing process to make room for women’s voices, and ultimately result in a balance of energy that will allow women and men to thrive.”
Check out The Bliss Project for more on their amazing work.
Coyote by bryan tedrick
“Coyote is a steel sculpture standing 25′ tall by 24′ wide. The head is kinetic and can rotate 360 degrees.”
Early one pre-event morning I had the pleasure of climbing into the rotating head of this beautiful piece. It came highly recommended by the DPW who had just climbed down. A fellow Honorarium artist happened by and chatted about her project, the difficulties of running a piece from London, and her favorites so far. It was the kind of quite morning I remember from my first year at the event; filled with direct experiences with other people, their art, and the desert. I’m glad I fit it in before my work started.
It’s tricky to explain what happens when 60,000 beautiful freaks converge in the Black Rock Desert, and it’s a different ride for every last one of them. After my seventh year, I suppose I should say “us.” So instead of trying to sum it all up, here are just a few of my own experiences this year.
Houston’s CORE project ReinCOWnation rising out of the dust.
For the last two years I’ve volunteered with the Art Department; taking artists to the site where they can finally install the work that has been waiting, sometimes for years, to meet the dust. Along the way I chat them up about their work, their hometown, their first Burning Man, and often much more. Eating dust in a golf cart through the heat of the day is fun when playing a small role in the art that populates that magical place, while picking up the stories behind the work.
La Llorona shipwrecked off of Pier 2.
Another highlight of this year was Black Rock Spatial Delivery’s Virgin Letters Project; which was great fun and gave us an excuse to surprise fellow participants with often beautiful theater. They laughed, they cried, they looked embarrassed and wondered how we could tell this might just be their first time.
Also, the camp was kind enough to allow me to graphically represent them yet again this year – the above being a mash up of BRSD’s traditional “biking man” and this year’s theme of fertility.
Here’s an etsy treasury I put together with the work of Portland artists.
Taurus Burns is a ninja of a painter; quietly slaying canvases all day with efficiency and style. I had the good fortune of meeting Burns years ago in his studio at 555. His paintings have a studied color and light while maintaining a certain fluidity and ease.
Some of his work feels like perfectly rendered snapshots of Detroit, including a series of over 200 such cityscapes. Other pieces have more apparent layers of symbols and parables which he rewrites with compassion and sharp wit.
Treat yourself to more beautiful work at paintdetroit.com.
If you’d like to keep an eye on the art here in Portland Oregon, Greg P. of Hungry Eyeball has done some of the leg work for you. Shows populate an art events calendar next to a selection of local artists and a list of Portland Galleries.
You’ll find a particular appetite on this “visual art buffet”; one that prefers aerosol over oil, and a humourous character over a stuffy still life. There’s still a full meal here with enough variety to satisfy. So grab a plate and head down the line, you may find a new favorite.
HungryEyeball.com | flickr | facebook
Do you remember that one time you made it backstage and met the singer/dj/flutist who was socially disappointing? Or that writer who was better on paper? Sometimes the art that we love is made by folks we wouldn’t like if we knew them. Sometimes bright, heartfelt, awesome, positive work comes from people who could be described the same way. Carl Oxley III is one such artist. He is the Happiness Company, and he’s a nice guy.
Detroit doesn’t enjoy the same kind of prestige as its big city counter-parts on those other coasts, but it does have a creative community working together with respect and a lot of heart. Oxley has collaborated with the city’s finest, exhibited in the full range of the cities venues, and left his mark on more than a few corners around town. In his own words; “I believe art should be accessible to everyone. It is extremely important to me that the people who enjoy my work the most, can afford to take home the piece they love.”
Carl Oxley III just wants to see you smile. You can check out his gallery at popartmonkey.com, buy some art on his etsy, and look over his virtual shoulder via his facebook fan page.
I’ve long admired the work of Matthew Billington. I first came across his unique illustration and design style on Society6, and have kept a happy eye on it since.
The temptation to mix sources and styles is seldom as rewarded as it is in Billington’s collage of text and image, vintage and modern, bringing anxiety and comfort into balance. His work can be found in editorial and advertising around the world, and as luck would have it, in your home.