Beyond Burning Man
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Beyond Burning Man

6 Things to Know About Making Art at Home

Breakin’ it down with artist Kate Raudenbush.

Photo by Mia Quagliarello

One of her canvases (the playa) may be temporarily unavailable, but that doesn’t mean Burning Man artist Kate Raudenbush isn’t always thinking creatively. We recently learned how she’s approaching art during this time and managed to extract some tips for beginner artists who may want to flex their creative muscle at home. Here’s the TL;DR version of what she said:

🎨 1. START WITH MATERIALS YOU LOVE
Cut them up, manipulate them, see how they interact with light…Look around and see what you’re drawn to, then start experimenting with shapes and forms.

🧒🏾 2. ACT LIKE A KID
Get back to those carefree days when it didn’t matter what people thought. Don’t be worried about any sort of perfection or end results. Just do it.

🤲🏼 3. WORK WITH YOUR HANDS
No offense, computer, but Raudenbush says they can blunt creative experiences. See how good it feels to get physical with materials in your hands.

🗽 4. IMAGINE A DIFFERENT SCALE
Look at the things around you and re-envision them as very big or small. Raudenbush held up a votive candle and asked, ”What if this were 20 feet tall? What would it be like to live inside this thing?” She says playing with scale and making maquettes is a fun place to start making art, at any age.

Art is “Guardian of Eden” by Kate Raudenbush. Photo by Ales Prikryl

💡 5. SIT WITH AN IDEA
“Meditate on a concept, issue or feeling, first,” Raudenbush says. “Make sure you actually care about it, that you can resonate with it. Ask yourself why it’s important to you. Think about the philosophical understanding of it; its symbols, history, ethics, the way it feels. Create from that place.” Approach it as “a dialogue with an idea, as a call and response prayer.” This is how Raudenbush characterized the process of conceptualizing her artistic ideas within the many themes that shaped Burning Man over the years.

🏮 6. SEE THE LIGHT
Raudenbush uses light like a paint brush and surrounds herself with tones, artwork, and patterns that elevate her soul. For example, her apartment: “The walls are the color of turmeric, and the lighting is in individual pools of light. Everything appears like the color of firelight.” Sounds about right.

📚 FURTHER READING RECOMMENDED BY KATE

The War of Art” by Steven Pressfield

Yuval Noah Harari’s books

DrawDown” by Paul Hawken

The Creative Habit” by Twyla Tharp

Living Beautifully With Uncertainty and Change” by Pema Chödrön

Tao Te Ching” translation by Stephen Mitchell

How to Love” by Thich Nhat Hanh

Art Forms in Nature” by Earnst Haekel

The Plague” by Albert Camus

Clearing Your Clutter With Feng Shui” by Karen Kingston

Burning Man is a global cultural movement rooted in the 10 Principles, with a vibrant network of events and communities in 37 countries around the world. Burning Man is actively influencing art, design, civic engagement, placemaking, and business, and Burning Man Project is the nonprofit organization that supports that ecosystem. Get the latest news from Burning Man Project in the Burning Man Journal, follow us on your social network of choice, and sign up for our email newsletter, The Jackrabbit Speaks.

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The nonprofit Burning Man Project facilitates and extends a global cultural movement united in the pursuit of a more creative and connected world.

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