Every year there comes a pivotal point when we decide if we’ll be doing another print edition of Burn After Reading Magazine for the Playa. Do we have enough writers who are not totally sucked into their own Burning Man prep? Do we have available editors? What will our cover look like? How is our design and layout going to work? What will set us apart from last year? And most importantly, where will we get the money to make this happen?
The last question is a hard one to answer and it’s a problem that many burners struggle with. We want to gift amazing, elaborate, interesting art pieces and we are more than willing to donate insane amounts of personal time and energy to make that happen. But most of us don’t have the financial resources to also foot the bill. Some things you can factor into camp dues, this is how we pay for the 1,500 cups of Fair Trade coffee we serve at Raised By Wolves all week. Other things you can get grants for through regionals and the Burn itself. Throwing fundraisers is also a fantastic way to build awareness for a project and raise some moolah; although the overhead costs often make large events a bit of a risk. All of these things can definitely help but the number one way for our current culture to drum up some dough for art is crowd funding. We have all become totally anesthetized to the incessant requests on social media and email asking for donations for art. We want to help but there are so many projects out there, how can we possibly give to them all?
It’s difficult to say the least. Many things fund because their videos are funny or their rewards are sweet. Some things make it because of the reputation of the artists and those supporting the work. Time and time again smaller art projects flounder, finding it difficult to get the word out to the community at large. Those artworks by Joe Schmo are the backbone of our culture. They are what makes Burning Man great. Anyone can make art and bring it to the desert for all to share. It inspires people who never even thought of themselves as “artists” to build their dream.
It is up to us to help support this art. Through our donations and campaign sharing, we can shape the Burn we want to experience. A really great practice is searching “Burning Man” on Indiegogo & Kickstarter. You will find tons of weird, obscure projects for the Burn that you’ve never ever heard of. Funding those little artworks is a great way to help create the wild and crazy art world that is Burning Man.
At the root of it, there are a lot of us and most of us love making cool stuff to share with others. Which is great problem to have, too much art and too many people making awe-inspiring things! There are giant heart wishing wells created by a Black Rock Ranger, a 4,000 SQ foot shifting light up puzzle complete with music changes to let you know when yo u’re getting closer to the solution, an entire camp dedicated to recreating Old Gregg’s place, a 17ft pillar of prisms brought to you by the team who made last year’s Compound Eye/I, an art car made of “sugar cubes” of glowing light & music, a giant garden of flower showers to wash the Playa dust away, huge disc golf mushrooms, a pedal powered bumper car arena, a 20 foot totem tower with magical hidden compartments of spirit animal and Lobo Madre, a howling wolf temple for one. These are just a handful of projects fundraising right now who have only a few backers. These burners cannot contain their drive to create and they need you to believe in their projects.
Burn After Reading Magazine is all about that! We share all those neat things that our community creates through our magazine so you can get the story behind the art. We’re the cheerleader and the historian rolled into one. We want to preserve these works and inspire our community to make more stuff!
A really awesome thing happened when we started our most recent Kickstarter for this year’s BARmag. Other burners started reaching out to us and offered their art as rewards for our crowd funding campaign. First, Roger Floren of the Karma Collectors shot us an email. He thought we needed more rewards at the lower levels and he offered up a bunch of his amazing laser cut schwag as gifts (he’s done the schwag for large camps like Opulent Temple and Street Life). About a week later we were offered some out-of-this-world, one-of-a-kind, galactic headwear from Light Fantastic’s Alysia Crissman (a long time friend to the magazine). Then Spark: A Burning Man Story reached out to us offering ten DVDs of their film as rewards.
This outpouring of support for our project by other burner-makers really warmed our hearts. Crowd fundraising may be a flawed system (who wants to be constantly bombarded by requests for donations?) but it is the easiest way for artisans to inform and connect with our extended burner family. It’s the modern day patron of the arts but the cool thing is we don’t have to be rich, fat cats to make a difference. All of us small fries can have a big impact by banding together to support the things we love. And that is pretty fucking rad.
*Burn After Reading Magazine is currently writing, editing, designing and creating Issue No. 2 for Burning Man 2013. We are currently raising $3,394 to cover our printing costs. We will be distributing 3,000 copies of our 48 page magazine crammed full of burner art & culture. We only have 7 days left in our campaign and we would greatly appreciate your support both monetarily and through sharing. Please come visit us on Playa at the BARmag Cafe & Raised By Wolves located at D & 8:45. We will be serving delicious Fair Trade coffee, hand-roasted at Extracto in Portland, Tuesday – Saturday from 10 – 1pm.