5 Tips on Making Art & Getting Scrappy at Burning Man

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Creators Yelena Filipchuk and Serge Beaulieu could never have predicted how Burning Man would change their lives — or how 70,000 people camping in the desert of Nevada could provide an endless stream of inspiration. “The playa,” as it’s affectionately known, is filled with mesmerizing, surreal art installations, like artwork inspired by the dendritic forms of medieval vaulting, intriguing cubic structures, and carnival-like sculptures. 

It was in this stimulating environment with temperatures rising above 100°F that HYBYCOZO was brought to life. (HYBYCOZO is short for the Hyperspace Bypass Construction Zone.) Yelena and Serge premiered their first Kickstarter-funded installation at the Burning Man Festival in August 2014 and are currently working on their third project, Heart of Gold. In our latest Creator Hangout, the creative duo talk about the importance of getting “scrappy,” protecting your artwork, and creating one-of-a-kind backer rewards. 

Read our top five quotes from the video below:

 

1.) Develop intriguing, visually appealing rewards 

“We want to make our rewards really special. So, even if you’re not going to Burning Man, the rewards themselves are valuable. They see us as artists. Backers are actually acquiring pieces of art.”

2.) Invite your backers to travel to your installation 

“Civic installations outside of Burning Man are all part of this project. We always say we’re going to debut the sculpture at Burning Man, but we have plans for it to be exhibited in San Francisco, Los Angles, and all throughout the country. Our last sculpture we took to Australia. We’ve also exhibited in Dubai. This is a project that is going to live on for many, many years. Burning Man is just the best spot for us to debut something because it’s the best sculpture gallery in the world.”

 3.) Protect your artwork: “The law is really on your side” 

“The first piece of advice I would give artists is [understanding] that if you’re doing something good someone will probably try to copy you, and you should almost take that as a compliment. But at the same time, the legal system exists to protect unique and copyrighted work. The law is really on your side. It’s empowering for you to be able to bring something into reality; continue to put your work out into the public eye because that’s how people will appreciate you and connect with you.”

4.) Prototypes are the beginning 

“We will spend as much time as possible prototyping and developing the CAD files. As we’ve infused ourselves in the Burning Man community, we’ve met artists that have been generous in sharing their [manufacturing] contacts and information. It’s a great community of sculptors that share spaces, do events together and are super open to giving advice on fabricators and materials.”

 

 5.) Do your research on shipping and fulfillment 

“We learned so much over the last three years about shipping and fulfillment. As soon as we got our own printer and our own label printer and our friend told us about Shipstation, what used to be such a pain point and a week-long headache for us turned into a couple hours of work. We just drive to the post office and we actually go to the back entrance to where the loading dock is, and we just drop the box off, wave goodbye. The insurance policies at Shipstation are really good which has been very important to us.” 

Bonus: In times of pre-planning stress, quote Abe Lincoln…then prototype some more.

One of the team’s favorite quotes: “Give me six hours to chop down a tree and I will spend the first four sharpening the ax.” —Abraham Lincoln. 

Click here to watch the full #CreatorHangouts video. And if you’re visiting Burning Man this year, see how HYBYCOZO transform prototypes into stunning fifteen-foot-tall sculptures. Their project Heart of Gold is live on Kickstarter until August 8th.

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