The Best of Burning Man: The Top Ten Series (3)… Painting and Photography

 

The Man was still burning, refusing to fall down, when I walked back to the Center Camp Cafe. Beyond one or two people sleeping on the floor, the Cafe was empty. I was more or less alone with a number of dramatic paintings, including this one.

The Man was still burning, refusing to fall down, when I walked back to the Center Camp Cafe. Beyond one or two people sleeping on the floor, the Cafe was empty. I was more or less alone with a number of dramatic paintings, including this one. The eyes captured me and pulled me in.

 

I am going to be on the road for the next few weeks, so I decided to produce several blogs that might be of interest to my readers but would be easy for me to do: Voila—The Best Of Burning Man series! I’ve now been to Burning Man for ten years starting in 2004 (and will be going again in 2015, assuming I get two tickets and a vehicle pass). Each blog will feature a top ten category such as top ten sculptures, mutant vehicles, etc.

Important. 1) These are from my perspective. Other people will have different points of view. 2) I never see everything that is available to see at Burning Man. There is simply too much. So it’s quite possible that I have missed some really great things. My apologies. 3) I missed 2011. 4) These photos are not in order of choice. That is beyond me. (Grin)

Basically, this series will include a brief introduction and then my top ten choices. There may be captions on my photos, or not. Finally, while Peggy and I have taken the majority of these photos, I have also included photos from Tom Lovering, Beth Lovering, Don Green, and Ken Lake… all members of our ‘tribe,’ and friends.

Series 3: Paintings and photography

Painters and photographers have always contributed to Burning Man, at least for the ten years I have participated. Many of the paintings, from my observation, have featured nature and mythical themes.

Burning Man is a photographer’s paradise. Millions of photos are taken annually and some of the photographers are quite talented. Their work is scattered across the web. One day when I was out wandering in Black Rock City, I came across Camp Montage, where a group of gifted photographers had combined various images from Black Rock City into single works. I loved the way they captured the essence of Burning Man. I’ve included two of their montages.

Mural work is everywhere and many of the murals are works in progress, especially at the beginning of the week. Blank walls demand to be filled.

Shaman and jaguar painting at Burning Man.

The shaman of Mesoamerican cultures considered the jaguar as an essential companion or nagual on their drug induced journeys into the dangerous spirit world.

The detail on this painting featuring a goddess-like woman, elephant, hawks and other natural themes is incredible.

The detail on this painting featuring goddess-like women, an elephant and birds is incredible.

This underwater theme with its brightly colored creatures has always been one of my favorite Burning Man murals.

This underwater theme with its brightly colored creatures has always been one of my favorite Burning Man murals.Check out the giant squid and the whale (or shark, given the teeth) on the right.

This mural reminds me of dreams I had in Bali. Apparently I wasn't eating portobello mushrooms.

This mural reminds me of dreams I had in Bali. Apparently I wasn’t eating Portobello mushrooms.

Monkey mural and Golden Gate Bridge with message.

Monkey business and a message were featured on this mural. I’d be a little worried about the waves if I were driving across the Golden Gate Bridge at the time..

This photograph montage created by the Montage Camp is composed of a number of different photos taken at Burning Man. Take a close look. It is what you might see on a typical day.

This photograph montage created by the Montage Camp is composed of a number of different photos taken at Burning Man . Take a close look. It is what you might see on a typical day.

This combination of photos from Camp Montage focuses more on mutant vehicles— from the small to the gigantic.

This combination of photos from Camp Montage focuses more on mutant vehicles— from the small to the gigantic.

A touch of the orient.

A theme camp I came across in 2006 featured large, meditative images that were backlit by the outside sun.

Touch of orient 2

Another example.

A mural artist at work painting a monkey.

A mural artist dabs hair on the monkey mural shown above.

A artist works on a painting at the Center Camp Cafe, providing Burners with an opportunity to watch her work.

An artist works on a painting at the Center Camp Cafe.

Another artist plies his trade while a Burner looks on.

Another artist plies his trade while a Burner looks on. These are examples where painting borders on performance art. NEXT BLOG: The Costumes of Burning Man, another form of creativity.

 

 

27 comments on “The Best of Burning Man: The Top Ten Series (3)… Painting and Photography

  1. I love anything that has a category that could be called “mutant vehicles.” These are so wonderful – that compelling painting at the top of course, but all of them. I really liked the first one you say is backlit (it’s hard for me to imagine, out of context), with the faces in profile. And your photo showing the woman painting the monkey is so great because it makes it real for me. You actually get to watch artists paint? That is so great.

    • Oh, on a side note, sort of but not really related: winning lottery tickets to get in. I am one of those people who is always hopeful but pretty much never ever wins. I just got notified that I won lottery passes to get into the Enchantments wilderness area in Washington state in September. I am *so* thrilled! If you two are bored in September….

      • Congratulations, Crystal. (Boredom is not an option in September.:) A few years ago, I won lottery tickets to float down the Colorado through the Grand Canyon. It was thrilling. –Curt

    • So much of Burning Man is about participation and performance art, Crystal. At one point Peggy sat up in this gigantic bird (wing span about 30 feet) and pedaled like crazy to move the birds wings. We often have the opportunity to watch people working on some art piece or the other. –Curt

  2. Fascinating. I don’t really understand where the art is located — walls? portable billboards? Some of these look huge. I guess I just don’t have a grip on what’s there — so much looks like empty desert, but the people must stay somewhere and paint on something. Looking forward to reading more. Wow!

  3. hey, random, but do you have any of the artist’s names from your favorite mural series on this page? There are a few I am DYING to track down and see if I can purchase a print. I went to Burning man in 2015, and am stuck fantasizing about a couple paintings I saw and I CAN NOT find anything on the internet to help me. I believe a couple of your favs were by the same artist….whomever they are. Help!

    • Not random at all, Liz. I need to make more of an effort at recording the artists. As noted above, I went back and checked but couldn’t find the names. I had them at one time. –Curt

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