Once a year, tens of thousands of people gather in Nevada’s Black Rock Desert to create Black Rock City, a temporary metropolis dedicated to community, art, self-expression, and self-reliance. They depart one week later, having left no trace whatsoever. This is how Burning Man describes their extraordinary annual community. One of the founders, Marion Goodell, says the ultimate goal is to encourage the culture of creativity.
With this creativity in mind, the theme for Burning Man 2016 was DaVinci’s Workshop. Vulfie Munson of Olde World Artisans was among a select group of artists from around the world chosen to create a sculpture for the piazza that would symbolize the theme. He had eight months to create his sculpture, which he named “Improba Putti”. The sculpture was to sit atop a plinth box with four bas-relief sculptures on each side. The sculptures could be created out of any materials the artist deemed appropriate.
Vulfie shares that “I wanted to make sculptures with an Italian renaissance flair, showing the evolution of the dark ages into a new age of enlightenment. These sculptures portray mythological beings interacting in a playful (or not so playful way). The sculpture will be a Centauress mischievously taunted by winged putti. The bas-reliefs on the plinth will be of underground scenes depicting caves, stalactites, as well as salamanders and bats.”
He decided it would be best to build the sculpture out of paper mâché using a metal framework as the main reinforcement. He would then paint it to look like a bronze patina sculpture since the cost involved to make it out of bronze itself was out of the question. He started on the bas-relief sculptures first to get a feel for how the paper mâché was going to work in addition to patinating them with Metal Effects patinas
One of the bas-relief sculptures with Metal Effects patinas.
He then moved onto the big sculpture.
He was able to work on it everyday, which enabled him to meet his deadline. Transporting such a large piece was an adventure in itself but in the end, the beautiful sculpture had its time in the fiery spotlight of Burning Man.
Here is a part of the piazza. In the center stands the man who represents science and technology and the further you venture away, the closer to the realm of the mythological you are.
Vulfie Munson and J. Paloma Glass of Olde World Artisans
Many thanks to both J. Paloma Glass and Vulfie Munson, partners at Olde World Artisans
, for sharing this incredible Metal Effects
project with us. It is an extraordinary work of art and we’re honored to share it. In fact, if you’d like to read more about their project (and the installation almost-catastrophe!), head to their Improba Putti Burning Man Sculpture
blog post. While at their site, be sure to look around to see more of their work. We’d love to know what you think of the sculpture, so leave a note in the comments!