International Women’s Day: Spotlight on Female Artists of Black Rock City

Black Rock City, the global Burning Man community, and everything it embodies would not be what it is without the creative, strong, talented (badass!) WOMEN who have lit up the city for nearly three decades. We hope that by spotlighting just a handful of these incredible female artists, you will feel inspired to come dream, build, sculpt, weld, paint, hammer, burn, or perform with us in the dust. THANK YOU to all the women worldwide who contribute to our collective and ever-evolving global journey as Burners and artists.

Here’s to strong women.
May we know them.
May we be them.
May we raise them.


Table of Contents

FEATURED FEMALE ARTISTS of BLACK ROCK CITY:

Valerie Elizabeth Mallory

Christina Sporrong

Dana Albany

Lekha Washington

Kate Raudenbush

Emily Nicolosi

Marianela Fuentes

HÄANA

Caroline Miller

Kirsten Berg

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VALERIE ELIZABETH MALLORY

“The Bottled Up Genie” by Valerie Elizabeth Mallory, 2019 (Photo by Debbie Wolff)

About the Artist

Valerie: I make my art because I love expression and I love the nuances of communication. I work very hard to convey as much expressive feeling in a way that is uncluttered and pure. I am inspired by people in my own life, and patients I have worked with in hospital settings. The art signifies the elemental way people integrate with the world. I also create with the simplest tools I can find: pencil, paper, with minimal color. It’s back to the idea that “less is more,” and what is left over is the hard crystals of human experience that create the fabric of life.

In 2004, Mallory began creating installation pieces for Burning Man. Her work grew in 2013 from the Center Camp Café to the open playa, with her creation of large-scale installation art. 

Currently, Mallory shows in the Bay Area, is working on her first book of drawings, and another playa project for Burning Man.

Pregnant Burners on the playa, swapping survival tactics, eating, laughing, posing, glowing, and exhibiting remarkable Radical Self-reliance — for two! Posed appropriately in front of “Bottled Up Genie” by Valerie Elizabeth Mallory and Mikell Haynes, 2019 (Photo by Kate Beale)

Valerie: The “Bottled Up Genie” project is an elaborate giant wooden bottle with a captive genie perched inside on a tree. Genie is embedded in our consciousness as a creative, intelligent, mythological, guardian spirit. His role is to make dreams come true, allowing something to happen that can’t be stopped. At the base of the genie’s feet is a giant Book of Wishes. Participants use this to write out their dreams. It’s a place to acknowledge wishes as affirmations of how we imagine our best selves into being. Genie allows us to have no restrictions on our requests. Dreams are not just your own, they are connected with everyone else. It’s about nuances of communication.

My hope is that participants will connect with Genie to affirm their best selves into being.

“The Garden of Relationships” by Valerie Elizabeth Mallory and Mikell Haynes, 2018 (Photo by DustToAshes)

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CHRISTINA SPORRONG

Christina Sporrong in “The Flybrary,” 2019 (Photo taken by a friend)

About the Artist

Christina Sporrong is a process-oriented artist who seeks to understand the world around her through her work. “I am consistently inspired by the science of the natural environment and our tenuous relationship with it, as well as the technological footprint advancing on our planet. There is a growing incompatibility between human technologies and nature, and I continue to search for the root of the initial deviation. As a kinaesthetic learner I have to delve deeply into the components of whatever medium I choose to express myself with. I use metal, fire, movement, and scale to provoke a reaction or an interaction.”

Sporrong is part of an artist family, “which means we mostly take turns bringing art to the playa. Even when I had my hands full raising a toddler, we kept going to Burning Man as long as we were bringing art. Our son, who is now 10 years old, has been to Burning Man five times.”

How would you describe your Black Rock City experience as a female artist?

Christina: I had a ticket to go to Burning man in 1996, but my car broke down before I hit the playa. So, my first Burning Man was in 1997. I participated by stilting, and doing circus stunts on aerial rigging I brought. By 2008, I had received my first Honorarium Grant for “The Heron Project.” It was chosen for the keyhole piece that year. “The Heron” had massive fire wings, and served as a kinetic aerial playground for anyone who wanted to climb, hang, or just be around it.

“The Heron Project” by Christina Sporrong, 2008 (Photo by Christina Sporrong)  |  “Caged Pulse Jets” by Christina Sporrong, 2010 (Photo by Christina Sporrong)

The next large-scale sculpture piece I brought was “Caged Pulse Jets,” an ornate birdcage with five spinning pulse jet engines inside of it. The public could operate the individual pulse jets from a console to create cacophonous melodies in stereo! That was in 2010, and I had just had my son, who came with us to the playa at the ripe age of nine months old. I was breastfeeding on top of the BMIR container while watching the Burn … Unforgettable.

My biggest joy was bringing “The Flybrary” in 2019. It was truly one of the most ambitious projects for me, and sharing it at Burning Man was amazing. “The Flybrary” is a 40-ft tall steel head with booklike birds flying out of the top. Inside the head was a fantastical library where people could hang out and read and check out a variety of excellent books from the collection. I had the opportunity to invite The Human Library Project out of Denmark, and they trained people in BRC to become human books, in an effort to break down stereotypes. You could check out a person and learn about their story. It was very powerful, and got increasingly popular as the week went on. I felt very accomplished bringing “The Flybrary,” and have such a great working relationship with everyone involved. That was a magical year for me.

“The Flybrary” by Christina Sporrong, 2019 (Photo by Christina Sporrong)

What other female artists have impacted you, and how?

Christina: I am always looking for other female artists who make and bring work to the playa. We are still the few, but we see each other and our work out there. I feel proud to be counted as one. I still remember finding one of Laura Kimpton’s brass bird cutouts from her MOM sculpture, she left it inside the Cage for the pulse jets. I wear it still, to this day.

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DANA ALBANY

Dana Albany in Black Rock City (Photo by Emperor Norton, Jon Alloway)

About the Artist

This is how Dana Albany summarized her work and her practice: “Most of my work is deeply rooted in the very notion of using multiple pieces to create a larger cohesive work of art. Originating from a mixed palette of recycled materials, my work reclaims society’s scraps and discarded objects to re-imagine meaning. In many instances, ideas stem from old artifacts or the reversal happens, and a form takes shape by the mere presence of bits and pieces of yore. I specifically use repurposed material for its symbolism, or envision and recreate it in a whole new context. My art, in essence, is a journey into the past with the future envisioned. I love the human, animal form, and I’m fascinated by its endless expression, its ability to convey movement, emotion.”

There are times I find solace and expression in thought-provoking ideas and the contemplation of nature, technology, and the sublime. Then there are times when I jump into creation within a whimsical world of community-oriented magic, color, and play. I find both modes of expression essential to my very well-being.

Collage of sculptures by Dana Albany — pictured clockwise, starting from the left: “The Bone Tree,” 1999  (photo by NK Guy), “Tara Mechani,” 2017  (photo by Geoffrey Silver), “The House of Larry,” 2018 (photo by Geoffrey Silver), “YES Youth Educational Spacecraft,” 2013  (photo by David Hasse), “Passage,” 2018 (photo by Jamen Percy)

How would you describe your Black Rock City experience as a female artist?

Dana: In 1994, I was studying microbiology. I envisioned my quiet life as a scientist, until… I went to Burning Man. Like so many, the entire trajectory of my life changed course. Truly inspired by the absurd, the notion of everyone being a participant, and that creativity lurks within us all, I went home and decided the following year to make a camel. (Because all deserts need a camel, right?)

At that time, the Man was built in Chris Campbell’s backyard in South San Francisco. I volunteered, and it was my first introduction to using power tools. No one had ever put a drill in my hand before, showed me how to use a chop saw, or trusted me with a nail gun. It was exciting, exhilarating, and gave me the courage to build that camel! (It also greatly influenced how I would continue to work, and the materials I work with today.) Determined, I took to the streets. But having little money, I collected old palettes, and took home ‘drop’ from the Man build. In my tiny Victorian apartment, I set out to build this camel. I got guidance from a few of the Burning Man builders, and then I papier-mâchéd over a wooden/mesh frame using only materials that were readily available: flour, water, and newspaper.

What started out as an experiment, actually began to resemble a real, life-size camel. It drew all these nomadic artists my way, and after the event, the people I met that year became an integral part of my life — mentors, teachers, and (most of all) dear friends, to this day.

I met Larry Harvey that year, while building the Man. I didn’t know who he was, to be honest. I just remember sitting with him over a cauldron, dipping strips of burlap bags into molten wax. These strips got packed into cavities of the Man later to help set it aflame. Larry and I started talking. We talked about nothing rooted in reality, and somehow got lost in a land of make-believe. Imaginary worlds became our discourse over many, many years…

It was during these conversations that I realized Larry thought I could do anything. He knew I was an artist long before I ever did. I had just made a camel, but — in his mind — I could make anything! He believed in me. Our ‘make-believe’ stories started to manifest into realities. For Larry it was Burning Man in its entirety, and for me it was one art experiment after the other, my own mad laboratory.

“The Monumental Mammoth” by Tahoe Mack, 2019 (Photo by Stephane Lanoux)

Since then, I have created all sorts of props for early Burning Man fundraisers and events. Without any formal training, I have dabbled in different things, different mediums. The group of artists I met at that first “Camel” creation became my mentors, my teachers. These were serious artists, and they took me under their wing. I was hired to work with many of them on permanent public art installations, learning along the way. 

I’ve created a long list of installations at Burning Man — my favorites include “The Bone Tree,” “Body of Knowledge,” “YES: Youth Educational Spacecraft,” “Tara Mechani,” “Passage,” and “The Monumental Mammoth” (in collaboration with a Girl Scout, Tahoe Mack, and artist Luis Valera-Rico). I’ve also shown work at the Exploratorium, the de Young Museum, artist in residence at the California Academy of Science (twice), and artist in residence at Recology. I love making community mosaic murals, as well. They make me happy. I have done several in San Francisco, Berkeley, and Las Vegas. 

That is my story. Thanks Larry.

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LEKHA WASHINGTON

“This Too Shall Pass —Moondancer” by Lekha Washington, floating next to the Temple “Galaxia” at night, 2018 (Photo by Neil Girling)

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KATE RAUDENBUSH

Kate Raudenbush, 2016 (Photo by Brian Herman)

About the Artist

Kate Raudenbush is a New York-based, Black Rock City-bred sculpture artist and designer who resonates deeply with environmental issues, and the perils and potential of our evolving humanity. She is a creator of monolithic, immersive, and allegorical sculpture works that aim to catalyze social engagement and shift consciousness, while exploring themes that range from technological sustainability to creation myth, and from self-empowerment to environmental awareness. 

“I synthesize laser-cut arabesques of metal, structural steel, mirror, wood, acrylic, and L.E.D. light programming to construct conceptual work that is developed through 3D modeling software and CNC laser-cutting. This results in the fabrication of public artworks to precise structural engineering standards, yet still possess a feeling of mystery, sacred space or other-worldliness.” 

“Guardian of Eden”, 2007 (Photo by Kate Raudenbush)  |  “HELIOS” by Kate Raudenbush, 2016 (Photo by Scott London)

As a self-taught solo female artist in Black Rock City 1999, Raudenbush designed the first sculpture to be collected straight off the playa for the permanent collection in the Nevada Museum of Art, in 2007. In 2019, Kate received the National Citizen Artist Award from Americans for the Arts at the US Conference of Mayors in Washington, D.C.

Raudenbush’s words and work have been published and exhibited in art museums, international art fairs and festivals, civic squares, and on massive sound stages around the world. Last year, she recreated sculptures in the virtual playa of BRCvr, and was honored to be a part of the creative vanguard in the 2018 documentary film Burning Man: Art on Fire.

How would you describe your Black Rock City experience as a female artist?

Kate: I first hit the playa in 1999. I spent the first five years as a photographer, being culturally re-programmed down to my DNA, down to the original negatives. I was gob-smacked by the mind-blowing art, especially that of Dana Albany and Karen Cusolito. In 2004, I made my first attempt at a sculpture called “Observer/Observed” with a grant from Burning Man [Project]. It was a dare to myself — I was not a “sculpture artist.” I just wanted to create something that I would want to find with friends if we were crossing the playa from 2 to 10 o’clock at 4am! 

After that, I was hooked. Burning Man inspired me to create increasingly ambitious thematic ideas. With the heroic help of amazing friends and collaborators, we banded together and built those crazy ideas together. We’ve made 12 projects so far, the last two were both in 2018: the I, Robot Man Base digital patterned cut work on the gear walls and stairs, and “Passage Home”, my sunrise tribute to Larry Harvey in deep playa.

“Passage Home” by Kate Raudenbush, 2018 (Photo by Kate Raudenbush)

One of the best things about creating on the playa is meeting the creative community and the artists who work to create the city before the event starts. Larry said, “Community can be created through shared struggle,” and it’s true. It feels like it’s the most hard-working, radically creative, and ambitiously renegade place on Earth during those weeks. I also love the act of service that is integral to creating intentional, allegorical art as an experiential gift — and then seeing people truly resonate with its meaning, and experience its space in deep ways.

When I hear stories from Burners about something magical, connective, or transformational that happened to them while inside one of my sculptures, it feels complete. I think to myself, “Remember this, Kate — this is why you make art.”

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EMILY NICOLOSI

Emily Nicolosi on the playa (Photo by Ian Nicolosi)

About the Artist

Emily Nicolosi is a Research Assistant Professor in the Department of Geography at the University of Utah. Her research interests include climate change mitigation and the geography of social movements. In her free time, she is working on building “The Prism of Possibilities,” an interactive art installation that explores possible climate futures, as well as developing a nonprofit, The Center for Ecological Design.

How would you describe your Black Rock City experience as a female artist?

Emily cutting metal (Photo by Ian Nicolosi)  |  Working on building “The Prism of Possibilities” by Emily Nicolosi, 2019 (Photo by Emily Nicolosi)

Emily: I’ve always been a painter, but participating in Burning Man really opened my mind to a type of art I had never experienced before. Instead of just a feast for the eyes, I saw how art could be experienced with all of the senses, as an exploration, and as a community.

The first art project I brought out to the playa was a really small interactive piece that we put up at our camp: a heart with a mailbox containing ribbons to write “what you think love is,” and then tie your note to the piece. We still bring it every year, and it always makes me so happy to watch people pause and interact, and to read all of their words.

What moved me to take a leap into a big project was an extraordinary event in my life. The unexpected loss of my mom — who was my guiding light and my best friend — left me with a bottomless grief and a feeling that there was nothing I could do. Out of the blue, I had this spark of an idea, a feeling that there was something I could do, and that ‘something’ was to make this art piece for my mom, and bring it to the playa.

Koro Loko by Emily Nicolosi, 2019 (Photo by DustToAshes)

I really had no idea what I was doing, but I asked my friends for help, and we made it happen, together.

That’s what Burning Man culture is all about for me: without any preconditions, realizing that if we come together, we can build something big and beautiful — something that has the power to connect us and to heal our wounds.

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MARIANELA FUENTES

Mural by Marianela Fuentes, 2019 (Photo by Milton Martínez / Secretaría de Cultura de la Ciudad de México)

About the Artist

Marianela Fuentes is a Mexican female artist originally from Saltillo Coahuila, located in the northeast part of Mexico. This part of the country has a rich paleontological history. Because it was prehistorically an ocean, it resulted in a high concentration of well-preserved ancient dinosaur fossils. Being surrounded by dinosaur fossils, paleontologists and scientists from a very young age awakened Marianela’s love for these beings, which would become a big inspiration in her future as an artist.

Marianela majored in psychology and plastic arts, and later trained in studio art and fabrication. After her studies, she became infatuated with meditation and patterns in the natural world. This led to her creating thought provoking artwork that explores patterns and forms, as a way to educate and inspire. Marianela thrives in the creative process. Her art is an expression of the deep work she has done in her meditation practices. She turns her thoughts into action and uses different materials and mediums to express her inner work and create master art pieces.

From her time living in Europe and India, she learned with the best craftsman, acquiring a deep knowledge of different types of materials. She also explored breaking materials to better understand how the composition affects the final result.

Marianela resides in Mexico City and New York, where she is constantly active with her art. 

The goal of this art, I believe, is for people to find the connection with their inner self as a solution for the imbalance in the outer world. I like to call it: reconnection with spirit.

“Ichiro Sacred Beings” by Marianela Fuentes, Arturo Gonzalez & Sarahi Carrillo, 2018 (Photo by Jane Hu)

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HÄANA

HÄANA (Photo by Marisa Pfenning)

About the Artist

HÄANA is a one-woman orchestra, combining music, tech, and art with Nordic/Icelandic influences. Her music is set to a broken beat, often featuring avant-garde ballerinas in her stage shows. HÄANA’s original productions resemble a dynamic film score. Her sound incorporates electronica influences, synthetic sonority, and vocal textures. The resulting sonic palate takes listeners on a journey whose destination is a crossroads between classical and contemporary, organic and human-made, familiar and mysterious. In 2018, HÄANA was honored to curate the soundtrack for the documentary film Burning Man: Art on Fire.

How would you describe your Black Rock City experience as a female artist?

HÄANA: How do I begin to describe my multitude of experiences over the eight years of being part of the magic in the dust… Every year, every moment is unique. Some of it is pre-planned, but most of the absolutely incredible moments happened because of synchronicity and being ready to throw down, no matter what. I’ve met the most amazing, creative, artistic people out there in this alternate universe, and performed some of the most amazing, thrilling, and challenging performances of my life.

My first year at Burning Man was 2005 — I brought out an art project (commissioned by a Regional burn), and installing “4 Wishing Pyramids” was a practice in meditation. It was placed near the Temple and the Belgian Waffle (not its official name), making us feel a part of the whole collective, yet also separate from the chaos.

HÄANA performing (Photo by Eric Allen)

There’s nothing quite like performing on a golden dragon (Abraxas) at sunrise on the white processional morning at the Temple, with beautiful ballerina Marlowe Bassett and fierce capoeira breakdancer Amy Secada. To experience stepping down from my DJ booth while streaming a Nordic-inspired track, and whirl and twirl on the dusty dance floor, with my wireless violin still connected to the sound system. It’s mostly magic, with some tech involved.

A big vision that came to life was working with Kate Raudenbush and her sculpture “HELIOS” in 2016. We filmed a dance and music collaboration at sunrise, with choreography by Marlowe Bassett and her dancers, set to my track LEYA, performed with a solar-powered art car SolarBeatz. So many moving pieces came together to commemorate Kate and her amazing sculpture that was burned that evening. The idea behind it was to create a lasting audio/visual piece, but also to create a magical performance which someone wandering the desert at sunrise could simply happen upon.

The last Burn I attended, 2018, was one of the most memorable, fiery performances of all my eight years visiting the playa. It was the last ‘booking’ of eight or 10 gigs I had scheduled. I was exhausted, having performed two other gigs that same day already. I showed up post-Man Burn, Saturday night, to the Playaskool. I felt the energy of the crowd in the dome, with the Incendia flame installation on the ceiling. Everyone was soooo ready to dance and throw down. I felt that energy, decided to find my reserves of energy, and designed a dance-heavy set unlike any other set I had performed that year. I felt like I was channeling a fierce Nordic energy, and the dance floor was inspiring me just as I was inspiring the dance floor…

These are the kinds of moments I live for. Where there is no time or space, no agenda, just synchronicity … BRC has definitely shaped and changed my art in so many ways.

“HELIOS” by Kate Raudenbush, 2016 featuring music by HÄANA:

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CAROLINE MILLER

Caroline “Mills” Miller (Photo by Cassie Xie Photography)

About the Artist

Caroline Miller (also known as “Mills”) combines her scientific mind with her naturally devious and pyrotechnical tendencies in order to — safely — set fire to things in all kinds of interesting ways. She is a scientist by day and artist by night, and a full-time mother. Mills grew up in the UK and moved to California in 2002, where she discovered Black Rock City and the Flaming Lotus Girls (FLG) a year later. Since 2004, she has been a member of the collaborative art group, playing a leading role in sculpture construction, plumbing and safety, logistics, kitten herding, and generally being a keeper of institutional knowledge. Mills is also the fire safety representative for Illumination Village, and “regularly helps other newbie fire artists into plying our craft.”

“Angel” by Flaming Lotus Girls, 2005 (Photo by Caroline Miller)

How would you describe your Black Rock City experience as a female artist?

Caroline: Flaming Lotus Girls, Illumination Village, and Burning Man play a huge part in my life. That is where I met many of my closest friends, where I have lived large, loved, laughed, sweated, and cried (many times). It first provided a place of opportunity where I could get my hands on tools and be with people who made ‘weird things.’ I naturally gravitated to the fire side of our craft, and combined my inner science nerd with plumbing parts, surrounded by strong and supportive women. I am forever grateful for this experience. I work to share this knowledge with other newbie fire artists to keep the craft safe and alive.

While the FLG are a women-led group, all are welcome — together, we make large pieces of flaming sculptural art using many types of metal and fire. We teach our skill to anyone who wants to come along for the ride, and we encourage everyone to be involved by pushing our buttons and making the sculptures come alive.

We especially love to inspire young girls to show them everything is possible.

“Tympani Lambada” by Flaming Lotus Girls, 2011 (Photo by Caroline Miller)

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Kirsten Berg

Kirsten Berg selfie (Photo by Kirsten Berg)

About the Artist 

Kirsten Berg grew up between the creative hubs of the San Francisco Bay and Amsterdam. Drawn to the arts, culture, and adventure, she got a degree in Classical Archaeology. 25 years ago, she moved full-time to India/Southeast Asia to immerse in traditional yoga and meditation studies, which she now teaches around the world. 

Art and yoga are Kirsten’s paths to finding and expressing connection to the Divine, poetically and literally. With art-making, it is the exteriorization of patterns and movement seen behind the eyes. In yoga, internal mimicry and re-assembling of the patterns of creation. Contraction and extension, folding and unfolding, creation and dissolution, inner/outer, visible/invisible.

With each of her sculptures, Kirsten seeks to reflect aspects of interconnectedness, blur the sense of boundary of self and other. A sense of deep rootedness is balanced with a simultaneous extension towards that which is beyond the immediate. 

Kirsten’s work has been exhibited in the Nevada Discovery Museum, Singapore Art Week, the National Museum of Singapore, and “The Art of Burning Man” exhibit at the Hermitage Museum in Norfolk, VA.

How would you describe your Black Rock City experience as a female artist?

Kirsten: My first Burn was in 2005. I was completely blown away by everything about it, especially the art. It all felt magical and ‘right’ — I wanted to be part of this incredible collaboration, but I dismissed the idea, at first.

Compound Eye/”I”, 2015 (Photo by Kirsten Berg)

Months later, I thought back on the feelings of that experience with awe. The theme had been Psyche, and it couldn’t have been more fitting. Creative embers sparked a fire deep in my subconscious. The following year, in 2006, I had this hyper-real  dream in which I had just built a sculpture at Burning Man. I was SO excited by this feeling of having created art for the Playa, but completely horrified by the way the sculpture turned out in my dream, so I asked myself, “What would I create instead, if I had the skills? What does my eye want to see or experience out there?” The answer way that my eye craved reflective surfaces and rounded forms — color, light, elegance, subtlety, detail. I sketched out several sculpture ideas, all covered in convex mirrors; One of which became Compound Eye/“I”, a fusion of eyeballs (my obsession) represented by convex mirrors and silver spheres on spires, which was both the fractal shape of Mandelbrot fractal and a Buddha-head silhouette.

I thought often about these mind-sculptures; However, I’d only ever made small-scale artwork, and I also lived far away in Asia most of the year, so it didn’t seem realistic that I’d ever make them in real life for Black Rock City.

But a few years later, some of that playa serendipity redirected me. On a visit to NYC, buying some playa costume materials in a fabric shop, I met Kate Raudenbush. I was really inspired by her description of how she decided to build her first playa project simply for the sake of doing so. A solo female artist without prior skills, who would eventually end up refining and creating more and more art pieces. That story stuck with me, and a year later I decided to try to build the sculpture that had kept showing up in my mind’s eye! (I’m grateful for some of the practical advice I received from both Kate and another playa artist, Harlan Emil.)

Finally, I did indeed build a convex mirror sculpture that year. (Best decision I ever made!) That was 2010, and there was no going back to normal life after that, so I followed the calling by creating Compound Eye/”I”, (In)Visible, Imago, and Sacra over the last 10 years. For the next Burn, I’m hoping to create Drishti, all about collective focus and vision.

The feeling of creating art and sharing inspiration with one’s community is indescribably rewarding. It is really its own reward that gives back, over and over, to everyone. 


Cover image collage of some of the featured female Black Rock City artists (left to right): Christina Sporrong (photo by a friend), Emily Nicolosi (photo by Ian Nicolosi), Lekha Washington (photo courtesy of StarsUnfolded), Valerie Elizabeth Mallory (photo by Debbie Wolff), Kate Raudenbush (photo by Brian Herman), Dana Albany (photo by Emperor Norton, Jon Alloway), Marianela Fuentes (photo by Milton Martínez), Caroline “Mills” Miller (photo by Cassie Xie Photography), HÄANA (photo by Marisa Pfenning)

About the author: Burning Man Project

Burning Man Project

The official voice of the Burning Man organization, managed by Burning Man Project's Communications Team.

8 Comments on “International Women’s Day: Spotlight on Female Artists of Black Rock City

  • Marlon Williams says:

    Also want to life up Erin Douglas of the @blackburnerproject and Favianna Rodriguez @favianna1. Women of color burners making beautiful art and creating new narratives of what is possible.

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  • opal essence says:

    Thank you for this “spotlight” on women artists. Wonderful to see faces and read the stories with each artist. Please do more articles like this in the future. Very refreshing.

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  • Honey Bee says:

    Badasses, every one of them!

    I love how each of them put aside what was expected to create what was inside.

    I can’t wait to see what they do next!

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  • Expand the Art says:

    Glad to see HÄANA included. Reading about the history, and historically patriarchal attitudes, of Western art — you’ll run into many essays and books about performance and other non-object-based forms of art.

    These ephemeral arts push back against visual art, which has a troubled history of tending to be object-based (making stuff for the market) and objectifying (of its subjects). And yet the Burning Man organization typically favors and valorizes visual art objects over any other form of expression.

    You want BM funding? Make a big giant sculpture in the desert. Never mind the thousands and thousands of us, many of whom are women, creating dance, music, performance, social practice, time-based art, small interactive theme camp worlds that don’t look dramatic in photographs, service- or one-on-one-interaction-based concepts, etc.

    I adore the Flaming Lotus Girls, the rocketships, the Man and his platforms, the Temples and pirate ships of Black Rock City. It just seems kind of predictable and not very inclusive that the organization primarily funds that kind of work. Everyone else is expected to subsidize their own contributions.

    For people from traditionally “oppressed” groups (women, people of color, etc) even getting to the Playa in the first place is more difficult. We don’t make as much money. Our time constraints may be more significant (keep in mind that women do far, far more of the house work, family work, caring for children and seniors, than men in American culture).

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  • epona says:

    Love you Mills! The women of the Flaming Lotus Girls showed me anything is possible. They taught this nobody techie girl how to bend metal and weld – it was super empowering. Miss you, and them!

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  • Spurz says:

    Thank you Burning Man Project for the read on these amazing female artists. The emotion their work creates in me is stuff that opens my eyes and my heart. It makes me feel as though I was just gifted, so Thank you female artists!

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  • Michele says:

    Their Art is Amazing and I Love every all of Perfectly Amazing Design….I is my favorite part of Burningman.
    Right up there with the People & the Art Cars…I work ESD and we are a Bunch of Badasses too! Not with your artistic talent….that is untouchable!!! Thank You!!!

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  • elise fried says:

    Wonderfully written tribute! Miss you all!!!!
    xo elise

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