1) Marco Cochrane, creator of Bliss Dance (2010) and Truth is Beauty (2013)
Each of these massive sculptures depicts a female nude in a state of joy. The first, Bliss Dance, appeared on the playa in 2010, followed by Truth Is Beauty in 2013. Artist Marco Cochrane imagined the sculptures as a series of three, designed to call attention to the treatment of women and to depict them in a state of beauty, safety, and self-acceptance. Inspired by the traumatic assault of a childhood friend, he dedicates this series to the empowerment of the female, which he believes would return the world to a more peaceful balance.
Cochrane credits the open-minded culture of Burning Man for inspiring the sculptures. “I’m trying to demystify nudity. I see how free women are on the playa, how they can possess a playful energy here that they cannot do in real life.” He channels the energy from the festival and uses his creativity to turn it into an epic, grand, timeless work of art.
2) Dana Albany, The Bone Tree 1999
Dana Albany is a long-time contributor to Burning Man, and the festival has grown because of her creative genius. In 1999, she was asked by Burning Man founder Larry Harvey to create the art centerpiece for the festival. The theme that year was “The Wheel of Time.” Dana thought about the desert, about DNA, about the march of time, and she created the piece of art, “The Bone Tree.”
In an interview on The Leonardo Gallery (which also has an amazing picture of The Bone Tree ablaze), Albany says, “The Bone Tree served several purposes. It was a tribute to the passage of time in which living animals transform from flesh to bone, a final reminder of their presence on earth. It was also an interactive sculpture in that its mobility was derived from participants who pushed it in a sweeping circle around the the Wheel of Time installations. This clockwise orbiting of the Bone Tree around the Wheel of Time acted as a magnet in drawing passersby to follow it and in turn be introduced to the various installations that were featured in sequence that evening. The third aspect of the Bone Tree was performance as it included a miniature stage where Father Time appeared with his acolytes who danced in front of him.” You can also read about the fitting end to The Bone Tree on The Leonardo Gallery site.
Albany has created and collaborated on more art installations featuring recycled and organic materials, including bones for the festival. Browse this gallery on BurningMan.com to discover more from Dana Albany.
3) Duane Flatmo, El Pulpo Mecanico, 2012
Mutant Vehicles are a big part of Burning Man. These extraordinary machines require creative talent that extends beyond most artists’ wheel houses. They need artistic vision, plus technical execution, plus mechanical mastery. Duane Flatmo is the creative genius behind these Mutant Vehicles, and the creator of “El Pulpo Mecanico,” pictured below.
Duane Flatmo’s inspiration often comes from found materials. “I kept going to thrift stores and finding so much aluminum,” he says. “I started seeing it as textures: pizza pans, colanders, garbage cans … and decided it would be fun to make a vehicle out of junk parts. I was using intuition to figure out how to make something work, starting with what I knew about kinetic sculpture after 30 years building pedal racers. I had saved newspaper clippings of Burning Man for 20 years, but I’d never attended. When I went out there I was blown away.”
Duane Flatmo, El Pulpo Mecanico, 2012.
4) Kate Raudenbush, The Guardian of Eden, 2007
Kate Raudenbush does not take her creative genius for granted, or underestimate its meaning in our culture. She is highly conscious about the social impact of her art. She says in her Black Rock City TEDx, “art is the consciousness of our culture expressed in physical form.” Her work, “The Guardian of Eden” appeared at Burning Man in 2007, and has an energy of new beginnings, of new life, but also of ancient practices and Eastern tradition and myth. Raudenbush is the perfect artist to channel this message and turn it into huge sculptures for the Burning Man festival.
In Burning Man: Art on Fire, Raudenbush admits, “Burning Man challenges me to do the hardest thing I’ve ever done, over and over again,” says Kate Raudenbush, who designs and fabricates enormous steel climbing structures with an otherworldly ethereality.
Kate Raudenbush, Brain Drop, 2007.
Kate Raudenbush, Futures Past, 2010.
5) Jon Sarriugarte and Krysten Mayte, The Golden Mean (2011) and The Serpent Twins (2011)
Husband and wife team Jon Sarriugarte and Kyrsten Mayte would often be seen driving this remarkable yin–yang pair of illuminated creatures with ten articulated joints that enabled their sinuous pas de deux on the expanse of the open playa. Their daughter, Zolie Mae, was often seen copiloting in her custom winged aviator cap as the light and dark creatures headed back to their home base, where they parked under a forged sign that read, “The Empire of Dirt.”
This family is fueled by creativity that knows no bounds, and their work is a celebration of ingenuity and invention.