Why The Nose?

We came across Tex Allen and his awesome calling-cum-project through the magic of the interwebs, and we tracked him down to give us the inside scoop on the nose. Cuz we love the nose. Here’s Tex:


It’s hard to explain exactly WHY the Nose and I’m not saying that as an artistic redirect, you know, to add MYSTERY. The truth is, the Nose just happened one day. Overnight, I just started wearing it out in public and three days later, it HAD me. My YES, the one thing that was SO easy to do and not only made ME happy, but transformed people around me with joy. Real joy. Let me say that when you’re presented with your YES, it’s not an easy handshake. The best analogy I can think of right now is having a floodlight flipped on, just above your head, in a dark room, while you were sleeping and someone pulled the covers off you. Then 5 seconds later, you find yourself sitting in a chair across from Morpheus, in the Matrix, chatting about Why? you wear a clown nose in public. 90% of the time. Yeah, that’s kinda how it felt then AND now.

My YES is goofy, in fact it’s goddamn ridiculous. That’s the point though and people love it. Every day, people come up to me and ask the question and the Nose opens up a little portal for a few minutes. Then happiness flows through, their eyes light up and I can see a spark inside them. A spark of hope that it’s OK to be childlike and assume everyone is the same as you, with eyes open, ready for wonder. I tell them I wear it just to make people happy. It does that and so much more.

The nose in action

PLEASE UNDERSTAND I KNOW THIS SOUNDS SILLY. I look in the mirror in disbelief and laugh AT myself. A lot. Minutes later, I’m still laughing and my cheeks hurt when someone tells me at the gym how the Nose made their day. An hour later, half the grocery store is giggling as my duo Cat and I are shopping and I’m handing out Noses in every aisle. Dozens of connections manifest every month and each one is magic.

In just over a year, this project has transformed not only me, but countless others. The stories I get via phone calls and email are imbued with SO much love! It floors me how powerful the act of giving out happiness and hope is, even a Nose’s worth. The Nose gives them the smallest mask available…just enough to hide behind and allow their heart to really open up, even if only for a few moments.

WhyTheNose? Because the Nose is my YES and helps others find their YES. The Nose was born from the tribes of Burning Man, a family of thousands that held me up and tempered me with unconditional love and acceptance. The Nose gives me opportunities daily “in real life”, to spread our ethos of self-expression, discovery and freedom. Even if it’s welding unicorns, or handing out donuts to morning commuters at the train station or wearing a Nose while you read at the bookstore. For me, the Nose IS Burning Man at its best. With every one I put on an open face, a little bit of our dusty Home and our principles leaves with it and is met with a smile.

The Man nose!

Meet me on the Playa this year at Center Camp Cafe. Take a Nose from the thousands I’m bringing and let me help you send one elsewhere in the world to a stranger, from a Burner like you. Then let’s trade notes, all of us and watch what these red seeds grow in others.

Fertility 2.NOSE


About the author: Will Chase

Will Chase

Will Chase is Burning Man's former Minister of Propaganda, working on global communications strategy. He was the editor-in-chief for the Jackrabbit Speaks newsletter and the Burning Man Journal, and content manager for Burning Man’s web properties. He also oversaw the ePlaya BBS and Burning Man’s social media presence. Will first attended Burning Man in 2001. He volunteered as the Operations Manager for the ARTery (Black Rock City’s art HQ) and was on the Burning Man Art Council from 2003-2008. He was Web Team Project Manager and Webmaster from 2004 until he transitioned to the Communications Department in 2009.

6 Comments on “Why The Nose?

  • Dan Reese/ Doc says:

    Beads in the mustache is my” smiler” people find you much easier to approach… Now how can I use it to make the world a happier place??? Great job/ Project/// again this year i’ll be working in center camp,,, LOOKing FOR A NOSE!!

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  • doc says:

    I LOVE THIS!!! i had a red nose i wore off and on when i was little and just recently some caught my eye in a magic shop i just happened to stubble apon…i bought two different sizes and headed home. as im driving (Chicago traffic) i grab a nose and pop it on to take a look in the mirror…then i start seeing peoples reaction to me driving along and just had to leave it on :-D ive been rocking it all summer (it was even decorated with glo paint at this years electric forest). i just now found a link to your video…and it made me smile the entire time… thank you for spreading smiles all over :-)

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  • billy says:

    just like the utilikilts. it’s appropriate non-conformist wear. it’s saying i’m different, just like you.

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  • Evil Pippi says:

    KLOWNS! We are everywhere.

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  • Robn says:

    I love the nose! I can’t wait to get that little orb a goin’ and spreading the magic that is so evident even in the videos that I have watched. Watch the way the nose lights up a face and allows the wearer to become transformed in the magic – sort of a direct link to the happy button in our hearts. Long live the nose.

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  • Tex Allen says:

    Thanks everyone, I’m so blessed.
    Also, thanks for this Robn:

    “…sort of a direct link to the happy button in our hearts”
    I’m always blown away by how others answer, “Why?”
    Let’s move this forward, thru the Dust and out to the world <3

    PS, the Nose-on-the-Man pic is via Kevin Rolly and if all I ever have later is that photo to remember all this, I'll still be happy :)

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