Friday, July 26, 2013

My cartooning activities at Burning Man

I have drawn cartoons at every Burning Man I've attended, for nine consecutive years, and will again this year, for my tenth.  Whenever I can, I'll scrawl my characters on a graffiti wall or "snipe" someone with a caricature from across the room, to gift to them.

In 2004, I brought a portable easel and made caricatures of all my camp-mates, and guests that were in our camp at the time.  My first attempt at a playa gift, the drawings were on paper, not ideal for the rugged camp living.  Now I do them on small cards which are a bit more durable and portable.

In 2005, I spearheaded the creation of an artful cover for our dome.  It was intended to be a brain pattern portrayed in mazy runes painted in black on an off-white drop cloth.

In 2006, I submitted my original ink drawings to an art project which was using the drawings of many artists in a wall-sized collage in the Man Pavillion, underneath the Man itself.  Also, I drew a self-portrait in a scrapbook left on a craft table in the Center Camp. 

In 2007, my camp-mates and I launched Cartoon Commune, and I held my first Cartooning workshop with a dozen attendees.  The workshop is now on its seventh year running.

In 2008, I finger-painted a large caricature of "W,"on a board with a hole for the mouth.  This was a carnival game, where participants had to throw dildos into bush's mouth.  This was for a neighbor camp's adult carnival.

In 2009, I created a shrine, the Shrine of the Cartoon Playa, a repurposed medicine cabinet with cartoon scenes of the playa.  Also that year, I claimed a two-dimensional art kiosk in the Center Camp Cafe, and made an impromptu artwork incorporating cartoons, collage and runes.

In 2010, I pre-registered for the Center Camp Cafe art gallery and hung my abstract/cartoon/visionary paintings.  And I drew caricatures as a rally point in the Kinetic Sculptures Race and Scavenger Hunt, drawing quick-sketch group portraits (five minutes or less) of the participants and their awesome muscle-powered art vehicles as a souvenir for them.

In 2011, I tried to maintain the habit of drawing caricatures as gifts for people, whenever I was waiting in line for something, like ice or coffee.  It's a great ice-breaker, and takes little effort.  In previous years, I had drawn them for people here and there, but this year I drew and gifted more than usual, maybe because I was often standing in line for crepes and artisanal coffee.

In 2012, I drew caricatures of staff and patrons at the French Quarter's Cafe Fin du Monde, and I painted an exit sign on an art car.  I also brought out my cartoony palm frond masks to decorate our camp.

This year, I am bringing out a brand new shrine decorated with cartoon scenes of my favorite camps, artworks, and experiences from my nine years of attending Burning Man.  I am also hanging my vision watercolor paintings in the center camp.  In addition to the masks I brought last year, I'm bringing a painting I made of Stimpy from an original drawing by Vincent Waller, one of the main artists who produced Ren and Stimpy, who had visited Cartoon Commune in 2007.  Finally, I'm involved in Matt Melnicki's Get Lit(erary) Project, which aims to expand the medium of the written word at Burning Man.  I submitted my recent cartoon artwork to appear as part of self-published 'zines, which will reside in a pair of artful book cabinets on the playa. 

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