Solar energy

Brian Chandler

Photo By D. Brian Burghart

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.