Burning Man is Christmas

After years of doing Burning Man I’ve decided it’s the Christmas holiday for bay area artists. We all stress out the weeks before making the perfect artistic gifts, getting the right swag, buying new outfits, deciding who your going to spend it with, prepping the food and drinks, inviting your friends, then loading your car with way more crap then you need and driving way too far to sit, talk, eat and get drunk. You don’t even have to like the holiday, but yet out of tradition and despite your grumpy anti BM ramblings, you participate and go. Then there’s the people who say they are going and then get too busy or something comes up. I look at them and think this is Christmas, why would you work on a holiday? You see I am a burner and here is my art update and just some of the people I will be sharing my holidays with.


Electrobite Horn and eyes

Updated photos here



Tansy forming the eyes for casting


Jon hammering out the panels for the head


Lauren rewiring the Snail


New dash with lots of switches and dials to make Jon happy

Art Car Artists sue Nevada farmer over Burning of La Contessa

La Contessa RIP


photo by: David Madison

The most wonderful art car I have ever seen. Given the size, the details were just amazing. I was sad when Burning Man banned it (I understood why, too many people in the way), and even sadder when I heard it was intentionally burned to the ground!

The 40-foot replica of the 16th century vessel was owned by artist Simon Cheffins and mechanical engineer Gregory Jones of Extra Action Marching Band fame.

Their suit filed Monday in U.S. District Court in Reno seeks damages from Michael Stewart, owner of Empire and Orient farms in Gerlach, under The Visual Artists Rights Act of 1990.

SF Gate story


Trace Mounds at Blackrock

1970 Blackrock Desert

A good friend of mine Christopher Brooks responded to my questions about the trace mounds we saw this year at Burning Man from the previous year’s event.

Here is the research he did along with a bit of history of the Blackrock desert.

The pictures he shows of the early years remind me of my first trip to Blackrock. I brought out my Vespa with 10″ tires and was able to drive at 50mph with my eyes closed and no hands! It was not a reckless move back then, just flat and hard.

The Snail meets the Dragonfly

After a very early morning photo shoot of the snail, while trying to find someone who was serving pancakes, Lisa and I are approached by a guy on a Segway wondering if we have 110v power on board the snail. He asked if it could run a vacuum cleaner and would we like a ride in his helicopter. I stepped out of the car to make sure I understood his request and quickly said yes. I followed him back to his camp to pick up gear, friends and our tip…

While they were loading, a couple of clean guys got in wearing Enron shirts and tossed in this neatly stacked $50,000 bundle of cash! I grabbed it and thanked them for our tip. They laughed, took our picture and then showed us the center was all ones.

I stopped by camp to pick Kyrsten up (took a slick tongue to get her out of bed that early) and 20 min later we are vacuum cleaned and seat belted in.

Paul, the guy who stopped us, and the snail in our prop wash.

These guys brought out a plane too. Here it is after they crashed it a few days before. As we head straight at the side of Trego mountain and pull up just in time to barely make it over the top, we are starting to wonder if we should have said yes to this ride. I found out after the ride that Lisa is terrified of flying!

One of the interesting things I saw from the air was the large dune we kept hitting riding the snail around that week. You can clearly see it in this picture as a dark fuzzy line running from the bottom left, though the camps, twords Trego mountain (looks like a road). Turns out this is where last years trash fence was! I took a look at aerial shots (see below) once I got home and you can see many years of scars left from having the event out there. I think this is a great event, but I wish there was a more open dialog with burners and BM about the damage being done. The combination of lack of rain and years of BM is why this years event was so dusty. This event leaves a huge trace, what are the real impacts on this area and how long will the desert take to recover?

Goggle map link

What a ride! Thanks Paul and crew!

More pictures

Snail work

We had lots of help Sunday and Tuesday night. Thanks everyone!

There is an updated drawing here.

Just a few pictures of the work in progress…

jon sarriugarte's items Go to jon sarriugarte's photostream