As conventional consumers, we don't see the tears and the sweat that go into turning a concept into a tangible reality. We usually only see the results. A project's success is often measured by its sales, vitality or usefulness yet very few people look at the reasons behind its success. However, by looking at the amazing art projects of entrepreneurs, executives and artists from all over the world at the Burning Man event, we get an insight into the relationship between dreams, product execution and beautiful works of art.
Every year around Labor Day, individuals manage to bring visions of a different world to life for a short time through amazing feats of entrepreneurialism in the Nevada desert. While some artists pay for the pieces themselves, others who do not have the means often rely on the vibrant and giving Burning Man community to contribute their money to help the work come to life. Over a million dollars finds its way into hundreds of projects, which often take the form of giant structures that people interact with intimately on the desert floor. Let's take a look at some of the more inspirational crowdfunding campaigns for this year's Burning Man.
The ARBOUR at Burning Man 2015
The Arbour is an art piece that mimics the design of a cathedral, brought to smaller proportions for the attendees at Black Rock City. The 2015 design is inspired by forests and geometric elements of medieval religious architecture. The designer and his small team are making a return visit this year after creating a Moorish-designed structure in 2014 that people used for marriages. All the donations go for things like laser-cutting hundreds of pieces of wood as well as travel and transportation expenses. Most projects have to be built to withstand harsh conditions in a desert that sees raging sandstorms and even heavy rainfall most years, along with the 100-degree heat. This camp is rewarding its supporters by sending items like bandanas, lamps and tables as well as films of the making of the structure.
Disco Chateau's Cuddle Puddle
Organizers of the Cuddle Puddle at the Disco Chateau Burning Man camp seeks to create a contrast with the sometimes overstimulating environment on the Playa by offering a comfortable place where people can relax, rejuvenate and of course, cuddle. By definition, A cuddle puddle is a space where people lay close to one another. Disco Chateau's twist is that they have created a space filled with thousands of plush teddy bears and pillows. "This year, we are going to bring the Cuddle Puddle to life with custom led light installations, a stage designed for live music, DJ's and classes, as well as custom art all around the piece," said Ty Walrod, one of the camp co-founders.
After the popularity of the "puddle" last year, camp members hope to create a space four times as large this time around. This piece is designed and built by entrepreneurs from all over the world. While the camp is spending over $20,000 on the project, they still need to raise another $10,000 to bring it to life. All donations go to the raw materials as well as stuffed animals, which are anywhere between five to eight feet in size.
Watch the World Burn: A Fire Sculpture
This Burning Man 2015 project brings a group of "dreamers, doers" and entrepreneurs together to create a steel replica of the globe, which they will set on fire each evening. Watch the World Burn will have theater-style seating with cup holders for the spectacle each night and will light the sculpture on fire for as many nights as they have funding to fuel the system. The project is intended to burn away the societal fear that humanity will someday destroy itself. To make this project work, organizers need funds to buy everything from steel globe parts, to tons of construction wood and even fire safety gear. This camp is rewarding its supporters with photos of the sculpture and even welding lessons.
Brickhead EARTH at Burning Man
This massive, iconic terra cotta clay head sculpture will no doubt capture the attention of many a passerby. Sound and light elements will be part of the piece, which is said to represent a plea for more environmental awareness throughout the world. The creators say its also a symbol of the earth speaking out in favor of social justice everywhere. This year, Brickhead EARTH will have aerial drones tracking the production process. Over four tons of terra cotta clay was used to make the sculpture. Donors receive unique brickhead themed sculptures and photographs.
Cirque de Reflexions--Burning Man 2015
Inspired by traveling carnivals of late 19th and early 20th century America, this art project features a decorated exterior similar to Chinese folding screens with depictions of tattoos and contortionists. The designs serve as a tribute to the "tattoo women" who worked for the carnivals, and covered their bodies in tattoos in an era when the vast majority of women never showed their bodies. The designer says these women were early representatives of one of the primary Burning Man tenants: radical self expression. The interior, mirror-like surfaces of the "cirque" are intended to highlight that tenant as well. Investors receive original drawings or even a tall folding screen.
This "metal sea monster" sculpture portrays a well known fish that was only discovered in recent years and lives at the lowest depths of the ocean. The giant fish will appear to rise out of the ground and will be up to 18 feet tall by 28 feet long. Illumacanth's creators say it represents a desire to see change regarding Earth's climate and they hope it helps to inspire anyone who sees it. Rewards for investing include a dinner party with the artist, who's been doing "large scale" art at Burning Man since 1999. The campaign was recently fully funded, with donations going towards steel, fabric, LED lights, as well as the production facility itself.
Temple of Promise Burning Man 2015
This is one of the most well-known of the giant art pieces at Burning Man. It's a temple that changes design each year and has been an iconic staple of the festival since 2000. This enormous undertaking has already surpassed its huge goal of $66,506. The Temple of Promise design features a cornucopia shape this year with an awe-inspiring entryway and a curved triangle that points to the heavens. The temple is always a central space used as a spiritual nexus. Visitors by the thousands go to the temple and leave cloth, photos or notes, often in remembrance of family members or friends. On the last night of the festival every year the temple is burned to the ground.
No matter what the project, designers at Burning Man face some extraordinary challenges that could make even the hardiest entrepreneur consider quitting. Building and designing huge art pieces on a shoestring budget, all while asking friends and supporters for money, is not an easy task. All of these ventures involve construction challenges of different kinds, including coordinating the movement of supplies halfway across the globe in some cases. Every one of these efforts is an entrepreneurial feat in its own right.