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 a Haiku about getting ready to live in a temporary city in the middle of the Nevada desert:
you can smell the dust
on your hands and all over
packing up the car
The last time I found myself in that situation I was pleased to have already contributed some dang art to Burning Man 2011.
Black Rock City’s “Least Best” Newspaper The Shroom asked me to work up DJ Passive Aggressive for the two on-playa issues:
My partner and I had fun painting two side panels and a stair riser for Portland’s ThunderBridge; one of 22 regional collaborations for Burning Man’s Circle of Regional Effigies (CORE), and with all of them burning together, one of the largest fires I have ever seen.
Last but not least, it was an honor to design Black Rock Spatial Delivery’s shwag for the “Rites of Passage” theme:
I’m happy to have provided some dang art to so many of my favorite people and groups that have been throwing down in the desert for years. Thanks to the Portland C.O.R.E. crew for doing most of the work and letting me steal three panels for thier bridge. Thanks to ARTery for the excuse to chat up artists and for letting the new guy draw their logo. Thanks to The Shroom for my first published comic strip. Thanks to BRSD for being the best camp on the playa, and huge thanks to k8 for all of her patience, help and visual expertise.