History of Balsa Man

When Balsa Man first began in 2008, it was nothing more than a dream, a badly built wooden figure, and some cheap lighter fluid. This dinky janky figure and it’s tiny flame fueled a huge bonfire of joy for literally dozens of participants, several of whom brought their own tiny art! As the years went by, the Balsa Man got more refined and the event became slighty bigger with more tiny art! Soon regional Balsa Man events sprouted up around the world!

Each year, the Balsa Man founder, Colin Fahrion, and all the amazing staff of Balsa Man strove to add a new creative twist to the event. Of course, like any art event it had its share of controversies — like the ticket fiasco of 2011 and the dramatic relocation of the event in 2012. However, all the participants who braved these hurdles walked away transformed in a minuscule magical way.

For more detailed history and photo gallery visit History of Balsa Man


What is Balsa Man?

Balsa Man is a small 1/16th scale art event that began 2008 in San Francisco. While the visual centerpiece is the balsa "Man", the creative core of the event was always the joyfully participatory community around it! The Balsa Man founder encouraged people to dream big with their tiny art!

The small scale is key to what made Balsa Man accessible. Tiny art can be made with minimal materials by anyone regardless of their age or "artistic skill". The main event itself was purposefully micro-ephemeral, lasting only couple hours, ending with a brief burn of the art.

Regional Balsa Man events have popped up all over: San Diego, Boston, Minneapolis, Philadelphia, London, Tokyo, and more! Each with their own unique spin — London Balsa Blightly had a Balsa Big Ben!

While Balsa Man founder has hung up his X-acto knives, that doesn't mean the spirit of Balsa Man is dead. We encourage anyone to be inspired and create their own tiny event!


Host Your Own Tiny Event!

While the original Balsa Man event is no longer, we encourage anyone and everyone to make their own Balsa Man inspired event! All it takes is a handful of art materials, ideally some balsa wood, X-Acto knives, a bit of glue, and a few friends!

For the first time, we are releasing the plans, such as they are, for the Balsa Man to the public domain. We encourage you to revise these plans, or even ignore them all together, to make it yours! We also are releasing our recommendations for running your own event, no matter how small.

Head on over to our Participate page for instructions on how to build the "official" Balsa Man and how to run your own event!