At this year’s Burning Man, when my niece, Jessica Lunsford, introduced me to Brian Chandler as the editor of the Reno News & Review, one of the first things out of his mouth was, “It has been one of my dreams to be the interview in the Sacramento News & Review.” It turns out the 31-year-old Santa Barbarian grew up in Sacramento. He thought a 15 Minutes interview with the RN&R might satisfy his goal. When I returned to interview him, there was an intense windstorm on the playa so we held off until he and my niece stopped by my house for a shower before heading back to Southern California.
What brought you to Burning Man this year?
I’ve known about Burning Man since 1994 or so. I’ve wanted to go since then. I was never able to get the money together until about two years ago when I scraped enough money through doing my artwork to make it there.
What kind of art do you do?
I use the sun, and I burn images onto wood with a magnifying glass.
What’s it called?
It’s called solar etching, solar pyreography, writing with fire.
So two years ago, you came. How did you feel about that?
I felt like I was on a big trip. I felt like I didn’t need anything to enhance what I was feeling. I felt blissed-out. I felt like I was at home, like I was among friends. I was among all my fellow artists and musicians and freaks and people who have really open minds. I felt everybody’s energy there. It felt totally positive. I felt like I was at home.
What made you come back?
I wanted to come back due to the fact that I wanted to feel that way again. I was ready for a dose of everything harsh [like the windstorm] being thrown in my face. Being a human being. I just needed to be around really open-minded people. I’ve been around really close-minded people lately. You become what you’re around. I wanted to open back up again.
What do you take away from Burning Man?
After the first time, I wanted to go back to Burning Man so bad. My creativity and my music just exploded after Burning Man. I went full-on out, just to get my art out there and to play music with as many people as I could find and to find projects that I could work on musically and artistically. I didn’t get to go last year, and I was with my girlfriend, so I made a swing. I made a sex swing. That was my tribute to Burning Man because I didn’t get to go.
So you brought Burning Man home.
I brought Burning Man home.
What was your favorite thing about this year’s event?
The Burning Man was the best out of everything—as far as installation art, performance, things to bug-out on. The fire was beautiful. I put some energy into the Man; I wrote what I could on the wall. When it went up, I felt everybody’s emotions, excitement, everyone releasing whatever it was they were releasing. That was the most powerful because everybody was collected in one spot, there at the center. I was there, too. It felt very good.