You did it. Good job.


I’m not sure why that comment stood out, I think it was the punctuation, but it was the first acknowledgement that landed, like it’s done. It being bringing a Mutant Vehicle and theme camp to Burning Man, a goal I set for myself after my first Burn in 2011. Actually, it was more of a wish or desire, than a goal. After all, I knew nothing about building a Mutant Vehicle. I figured I could at least bring a theme camp. I thought 6-10 people would be a good start.

So I did it. I brought The Punkin Project and our camp, ASAP, which was home for almost 30 people. Afterwards though, it felt a bit anticlimactic, like it happened and I was too stressed to really be present and enjoy it.

Kinda like my wedding day… I’m pretty sure everything went down the way it was supposed to. I remember I didn’t get any chocolate covered strawberries, and I think we may have missed a planned dance, but whatever. Everyone had a great time and it is still one of the best days of my life, even if the marriage didn’t work out. 

Every Burning Man is different and I should’ve known not to have an expectation of how it was gonna go or how I was gonna feel. That being said it went well, pretty great even, for a first year Mutant Vehicle and (art support) camp on playa.

Our group of friends has been camping together since 2015 and more and more of us are bringing bigger and better art each year. This year our camp brought 3 open playa projects, 2 of which were Black Rock City Honararia grant recipients. I was very proud of us as a group.

Some of our camp’s art on playa… Fan Coral, Lionfish Lounge, and The Punkin Project.
Photo by Arash Afshar

We passed the DMV inspection for The Punkin Project by the skin of our teeth. (Yes, there’s a DMV (Department of Mutant Vehicles) in Black Rock City. There’s also a post office, radio station, and an airport!) In fact, even Marines say there are logistics lessons to be learned from Black Rock City.

This city has transported, housed, fed, entertained, enlightened and provided medical attention to around 60,000 people in recent years with zero permanent infrastructure.

Marine Corps Times

We broke The Punkin and fixed it, no small feat in the middle of the desert. We gave some rides and made it to the “Big Circle” Saturday night. People loved The Punkin Project. 

I’m still not quite done processing it all. My mind, like the trailer in the back yard, is still not fully unloaded, but now that the dust has settled, I’d like to share my insights and lessons from leading a camp and bringing an art car with you. Stay tuned!