I, more than anyone, is surprised to be bringing Balsa Man back. The first Balsa Man in 2008 was done nearly on a whim, but I knew I had to do it again after seeing the smiles on everyone's faces in the meager light of the burning balsa.
When I started this art project so many years ago, it was little more than a minor inspiration. I had originally just planned to burn the lil' guy myself but others soon asked if they could come and add something to the event.
The Black Rock Balsa Regional is the longest running Balsa Man regional event. For the past 3 years, an seasoned desert camper has lead the Regional as a small bit of entertainment for other (likely bored) desert campers out in the Black Rock Desert.
We have received a lot of feedback over this year's randomized ticketing policy. First most, we want to say we hear you and understand that the new rules are confusing and we are sorry that this has been a hardship on the Balsa Man community. The Balsa Man higher ups have had numerous meetings over the past couple months trying to figure out a way to make this work for everyone — from the tiny artists that make Balsa Man the wonderful creative place it is to the puny theme camps that fill it with vibrant community to the little new faces who bring fresh energy to Balsa Man.
In celebration of this year's theme "Chance" we are getting custom Balsa Man dice made by Chessex! These custom dice will be available at the upcoming Balsa Man Ticket Casino events and Tiny Art Build Parties (stay tuned to the Balsa Blog, twitter, or facebook for announcements). Also, high level Micro and Nano Donors will be sent a set of dice as an extra award.
How was your slight smidgen of experience? Let us know! Each year after the event, Balsa Man staff play video games, read books, and generally procrastinate as a means to avoid having to do anything to do with Balsa Man. This year we promise to at least think about it a little, maybe when we are in the shower.
Balsa Man is hosting two pre-burn Balsa Socials after work this Thursday and Friday. We encourage all you tiny art enthusiasts to come enjoy a beer and meet your fellow balsars! A Balsa Man representative will be on hand for sales of tickets, stickers, and patches.
Many tiny artists came out of the woodwork and showed up at last night's Tiny Art Party! Billfrog was there whittling away a block of balsa making the egg chair for his art grant awarded project Big-Assed Worms.
We hear at Balsa Man Org is overwhelmingly excited to announce that the excellent Angelica Aguilar has volunteered to head up San Diego's first Balsa Man Regional! Angelica is a multi-talented Ecologist, SFX artist, and geek, and a totally bad-assed hoop dancer.
After the huge success of last year's first Balsa Opera, we were overjoyed to receive notice that Fred Rinne is bringing his magic back to Balsa Man 2011! Sunshine was so touched by last year's opera that she cried.
Are your Xactos sharp? Is your glue ready to stick? Got wood? Actually I don't care what your answer is come anyway, even if you only have an ounce of an idea and not a scrap of balsa. Supplies will be provided as will the creative spirit! You may walk away inspired or just have fun lending a hand to other tiny artists trying to realize their small dream.
The New England Black Rock Desert Camper Regional, Firefly, usually has a giant bug as the effigy, and this year somehow ended up with a woolly mammoth. In that spirit of change and growth, and in line with the "Growing Pains" theme of this year's Balsa Man, participants at the NE Balsa Man regional will burn a 2' effigy of a glowworm.
Better late than never I guess… We just got this writeup in about last year's Balsa Regional in the Black Rock Desert. And here I thought Balsars were procrastinators, but these desert campers are even worse.
The Balsa Man organization has been going through some "Growing Pains" itself. After much discussion, consternation, and deliberation we have decided for the first time in the history of the event to require participants to have tickets to gain admittance.
For those of you who weren't able to make Balsa Man Japan, you missed out on a great mass of itty-bitty imagination and joy. Obviously the main Balsa Man event kept me on this side of the Pacific pond, though I really would have loved to be there in person to see the Li'l Lamp Fighters marching across the sand.
Balsa Blighty is 99% complete and we are putting on the finishing touches Sunday. We've been hard at work cutting, swearing, gluing, drinking, sanding, and throwing our arms up in frustration... this last bit was when we found ourselves out of both glue and drink. Oh dear! We have powered through the difficult times and managed to get done without firing any volunteers or having any visits to medical professionals.
Billfrog is having an impromptu Tiny Art Build Night on Thursday, 9pmish and on, at The Sycamore, 2140 Mission (between 17th & 18th). He encourages any and all to show up with their tiny art projects to build out on the back patio. Even if you have no Balsa Man projects feel free to stop by, grab a drink, and mingle with the tiny artists!
We heard through the grape vine that this year the Black Rock Balsa Regional won't be the only art project entertaining those desert campers. It seems that our small project has inspired others to also embrace the idea of making art out there on the Black Rock Desert—rather than just sit around staring at the mirages and dust devils. The one project we heard about seems cut directly from our own small artistic stock: Tiny Tropolis, 100 dioramas, each containing a small unique work of art by a tiny artist. Their box dimensions (12" x 12" x 8") are a tad large, as such the BPAF can't support their efforts.
The twin cities has so much enthusiasm for all that is tiny that it can't be contained by merely having one Balsa Regional! ! Now you may remember that Cali "Starfive" Mansty lead Paul Balsa Bunyan Man Regional in Minneapolis last February coinciding with the amazing Tiny Shantyart project.
The BPAF is proud to announce their first ever $30 grant! This is the largest tiny art grant the BPAF has ever handed out in the long history of Balsa Man. This was a contentious decision to award such a large grant but everyone on the committee felt Slighty Impolite Awakening was such a politically cogent work given the current oil disaster hitting the Mexican Gulf. Also, at 2 feet tall it is relatively large project. In the end, the vote was locked in by the fact that everyone was smitten with the word "SPLODEY!"
Looks like our previous post about counterfeit Balsa Man tickets don't reach out to enough people. We've unfortunately found two people on craigslist who didn't get the message and are looking for Balsa Man tickets.
First off, while Colin appreciates the new title Brigadier General, he wants everyone to know that the bMorg is no dictatorship. And he's quite happy with the titles he already has: Chief Tiny Officer of Balsa Man, Director of the Black Pebble Arts Foundation, and Lead Manager for the Balsa Man KCrew.
Every Tiny Art Build Party is a fount of inspiration. Some people arrive with materials in hand and an idea ready to go and others with a bottle of tequila and the desire to make something. This past weekend's Tiny Art Build Party in Oakland saw all kinds from Doug Worley chopping toothpicks down to size to Hot Damn's protest signs for the Bity Billion Bunny March to Adam's popsicle stick gate.
The BPAF was just discussing the other day how Balsa Man needed to expand its art horizons and with the event growing it would behoove the event to curate some star attractions with more refined artistic sensibilities.
Lastly but certainly not leastly, San Francisco will have it's own Tiny Art Build party on Sunday Aug 22st from noon to 8pm. (_Note has been changed was originally the 21st_) The great Rick Abruzzo, master sausage chef, event organizer, and more, has offered to host the SF Tiny Art Party.
We are happy to announce the South San Francisco Tiny Art Build party will be happening on Sunday Aug 15th from noon to 8pm. The wonderful Carol Sanders will be hosting at her place in South San Francisco (only a 10 minute walk from South SF BART or 5 minute drive from Caltrain).
This proposal was noticeably much longer than the 100–200 word limit* we have set in the guidelines for grant proposals; so much so that the BPAF grant committee nearly cast it aside immediately. Fortunately, one member made a motion to "at least glean it." After a quick perusal, we composed the following list of choice words:
As you know, Balsa Man is a donation-supported event, which means we don't sell tickets. Nevertheless we've heard secondhand reports of counterfeit tickets circulating, some of them featuring full-color art and flawless microprinting depicting the Balsa Man statue in flagrante inferno.
We are proud to announce that Steve Courtney has stepped up as this year's Black Rock Regional Lead! Steve and his desert pals have a small camp they call the Fandango Village where they have generously offered to host the Black Rock Balsa Man Regional.
Our Japanese counterparts have launched their own Balsa Man Japan website! Their regional burn will be happening on **August 29th at 5pm**. The location will be announced one week prior to the event on the 22nd.
Welcome to Forging Community, an ongoing Balsa blog series that peers through the unique microscopic lens of Balsa Man to explore the nature of small communities, how they form, their design and their impact on the larger metropolis. You are encouraged to join the discussion by adding your own thoughts and ideas as post comments.
The Black Pebble Arts Foundation is open for tiny art grant proposals! Last year, of the 33 tiny artists who applied for tiny art grants only one was turned down—I can't remember why they were declined but I'm sure the BPAF committee had a good reason.
Sunday marked the first annual **Tiny Shanty's Tiny Fire Arts Festival**! It was the first Balsa Regional of 2010 and the first ever Midwest Balsa Regional. The regional balsa burn also marked the closing of the magical Tiny Shanty and which was one of the star attractions at the Art Shanty Project, an art festival on the beautiful frozen Medicine Lake.
Celebrating all that is small, the Tiny Shanty Project will be hosting the first ever Tiny Fire Arts festival in Minneapolis, MN on the beautiful frozen Medicine Lake! The Tiny Festival will mark the end of the amazing Art Shanty Projects which the Tiny Shanty was apart. The Tiny Fire Arts Festival also marks what is the first of many Balsa Regionals to happen in 2010!
I'm sure you all know by now what an amazing success Balsa Man was. The Balsa Man himself may have arrived a tad late—due to amalgam of minor impediments so typical of art projects large and small—but once he arrived the small crowd of early arrivals cheered and the preparations began in earnest.
This completely beautiful and well designed grant proposal came to us all the way from Minneapolis, MN! Sadly, Cali Mastny won't be able to bring her Tiny Star Tree to Balsa Man as it's a bit far—she'd only able to make it to the regional event in Black Rock Desert.
Gnomes, paper doilies, Bambi with an upside down Hebrew letter tav on it's forehead, and nigh indecipherable psychotic chicken scratching. Oh and something about a Temple of Pet Peeves, so they might be building a temple… Or they might not.… We're really not sure. Hell we're not even completely sure that Sophia & Ray are completely sane.
We here at Balsa Man Headquarters (BMHQ) have been previously pondering about the potential problem for pantsless partyers and pontificating on proposing protocols to prohibit this practice. Luckily, Puny Pants Posse, aka The Society of Pants for the Wee, have come to the rescue. Here is their latest statement and grant request:
We all love Michael Christian's work here at the BPAF headquarters. Unfortunately, his artwork is often far too large and we sadly had to deny his art grant proposal to this year's Balsa Man. We asked if he could reduce is vision, but he decided to bring his work elsewhere.
After receiving this grant proposal, we asked all the scientists we knew if squids could dream. The first said, "how would I know I'm a physicist?" and the second said,"I don't know I just study their optical neuron pathways."
The Balsa Man event has already gained it's share of tiny art projects that the full sized participants can stoop around and enjoy. But where are the little people? Where are the puny participants who can appreciate the tiny art as the huge feats of wonder they really are?
We were surprised that this art grant proposal fit through the mailbox. Measuring a whopping 7 7/16 inches wide, 5 3/8 inches tall, and 1/4 inch deep, this foam-core grant proposal could only be called a postcard in the barest sense of the word.
Balsa Man may be a short event but that doesn't mean you shouldn't pack the essentials. Of course, you could easily pack everything in your hipster messenger bag, your purse, or your murse. However, a true tiny artist packs with flair. For this reason, the BPAF art grant review committee is more than happy to award Twirlerette with an art grant of $5 for her tiny art project Tiny Luggage, to carry tiny art.
The Black Pebble Arts Foundation is proud to award it's first tiny art grant to a Balsa Regional art project! Kristen Ankiewicz, our Black Rock Desert Regional Lead, has been hard at work making tiny art for the Balsa Man BRD Regional.
The Black Pebble Arts Foundation arts review committee would like to apologize to our donors. This grant was awarded while we were out. We're not really even sure who awarded it, but the papers were signed and the grant letter was put in the post before we could do anything about it.
The first tiny art build party was such a success with so much tiny creative spirit that we have decided to do two more this weekend One in **Oakland on Saturday Aug 29th from noon to 7pm** and another in **San Francisco on Sunday Aug 30th from noon to 7pm**.
After one solid weekend of work and another late weeknight, the Balsa Man has been built! There are a number of improvements to the man this year. Most noticeably, the ribs and the circles on the arms and legs which are much more regular and smooth thanks the new scroll saw which was a recent addition to the Balsa Man workshop.
The Pacific Ocean here in San Francisco is not known for sweltering temperatures; however, that does not mean we do not need ice. Surely, if there was no ice, one's drink may get lonely with only the glass for company. At Balsa Man, ice is especially useful just in case a participant gets over excitable; you then may find yourself in dire need of ice to cool them down.
This Tiny Art Grant Proposal did not pass our review the first time around. While the teardrop trailer is cute and noticably smaller than an RV it is nowhere near 1/16th scale. Then it became lunchtime and our ability to withstand the tempting nature of the "Nom Nom Tasty Tacos!" went out the window.
The fabulous Kristen Ankiewicz, Balsa Regional Lead & Czarina of Tiny Art, is hosting a tiny art build party for all you South Bay tiny artists this Friday the 21st, 7pm till midnight. Some art build supplies will be provided. All tiny artists are welcome, whether you are going to the main Balsa Man event or the Balsa Man BRD Regional.
At first the BPAF review committee had no idea what to make of this art grant proposal. It caused quite an uproar—seriously it took two hours to calm down Sunshine, who kept yelling about how "PETA would never stand for this."
In light of the recent onlinediscussions regarding photography rights and privacy during events, Balsa Man has prepared its Terms & Conditions which includes use regulations for photography, video, or film.
The Black Pebble Arts Foundation couldn't continue to function if it wasn't for there continual supply of caffeine whether it's in the form of coffee, yerba mate, tea—I swear one of our members would keel over if she didn't have her morning "Big Skull 'O Tea."
Far from the cool, sandy shores of San Francisco, the Black Rock Desert in Nevada is called home by many artistically inspired individuals. While this alkali desert is far away, ideas have a power to reach farther and faster than any Cruise America RV could ever hope.
If you're looking for a tiny replica of the World's Largest Can of Spinach, Carhenge, or Babe the Blue Ox, look no further than The World's Largest Collection of the World's Smallest Versions of the World's Largest Things!
NOTE:Tiny Art Placement is not finalized and is shown for example only. Due to space limitations, all Balsa Man theme camp placement requests have been rejected. Participants standing towards the back must be careful of the ocean as there is no life guard on duty and the water is cold (see Balsa Man Survival Guide)
The Black Pebble Arts Foundation is pleased to announce the first Tiny Art Grant award! In keeping with our dedication to our gracious donors, the Balsa Man community, and the principles of honesty and transparency, the BPAF has decided to post all approved tiny art grants to the Balsa Blog category Art Grants.
Jeff Ross, founder and director of the SF Indie Fest, has promised a $10 matching donation to the Black Pebble Arts Foundation for the next donor who donates $10 or more! Remember donations are used to fund tiny art grants for our wonderful tiny artists.
Last year was the first Balsa Man. It was a small, short, but nonetheless grand event. I don't know what I loved best between the adorable tiny trash fence, the Temple of Reduced Expectations, the bubblegum pink Buddha sculptures, the Diminutive Dance Dance Immolation, the Psychic Pizza Delivery, the Balsa Man Burn itself, or the joyous participation of all who came!