Goodbye and thanks for all the inspiration!

April 7th, 2013 by Colin
Colin, the Balsa Man Founder and the Balsa Man 2008 (photo by Edrabbit)

Colin, the Balsa Man Founder and the Balsa Man 2008 (photo by Edrabbit)

Dear tiny participants,

When I started this art project so many years ago, it was little more than a minor inspiration. I had originally just planned to burn the lil’ guy myself but others soon asked if they could come and add something to the event: Nifer who helped tremendously with the Balsa Man build, the wonderful J-Rad who built the first Temple entitled “The Temple of Reduced Expectations”, and the marvelous handful of tiny artists — the balsa phoenix, the pink buddhas, diminutive dance dance immolation!

Before the first Balsa Man event was over, I already knew I had to do it again. The passion and joy on the faces of the literally dozens of participants inspired me to take concept further the next year — Balsa Man was ripe with creative ore.

In all these years, I never did the event just to do it. I always endeavored to find a new creative reason — a new idea, a new challenge. Many times these ideas came from the participants themselves and other times they were ideas that came to me in a fit of joy and laughter. This continued year after year as I was inspired by all that came before and new creative twists were added to the event.

Balsa Man's tour of Black Rock Desert 2012

Balsa Man’s tour of Black Rock Desert 2012

This year is different. This year my inspiration is the wisdom that one has to know when to let things go. In many ways, this past year was a wonderful year to end on: I was able to go out to the desert to host the Black Rock Regional myself. We finally moved the event from Baker Beach where was it’s home for years to a wonderful enchanting beach north of San Francisco. Due to the added distance, the attendance dropped drastically from several hundred participants to a number much closer to the attendance our first year. In a sense, it was an ouroboros return to the beginning.

This is the reason behind this year’s Balsa Man theme “Flotsam & Jetsam” — I am jettisoning Balsa Man into the sea of subconscious so that I can travel lighter, sailing my craft onward to new creative waters!

Again, I thank each and every one of you: all of the tiny artists, all of the donors, the Balsa Man KCrew, the DTW, the Balsa Man org staff, the BPAF tiny arts grant committee and their incompetent hot pants interns*, everyone who offered encouragement, and all who helped in whatever small way they could.

Fair winds and following seas,
Colin Arbuthnot Fahrion

 

*some or all of the Balsa Man and BPAF staff may or may not have existed.

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7 Responses to “Goodbye and thanks for all the inspiration!”

  1. Todd Says:

    Colin, I remember the very first event, and I have admired how you have been such a wonderful inspiration to so many others. Though I am saddenedthatyou are letting go of this event, I am gain amazed at your wisdom and growth! You are an amazing person and I am proud to call you a friend!

  2. M.A. Says:

    Such wisdom!!! I wish the Burning Man people would understand that concept – but once events become commercially driven there is no hope.

  3. annetta p Says:

    Does this mean that there will not be an actual gathering and burn on Aug. 31, that that this is the final event?

  4. Colin Says:

    I am not organizing a Balsa Man event this year and have no plans to bring it back the following. That doesn’t stop yourself or others from picking up the torch — though if that happens I do encourage it to be reinvented rather than just repeating what came before. It doesn’t have to be a Balsa Man event either. I’m sure there will be people organizing gatherings and encourage you and others to be creative with your Aug 31st! I

  5. Fred Rinne Says:

    GodDammit! WTF am I gonna do with the 400 “Weekend Passes” I sold to those people coming out here from Europe?!

  6. Marvin Says:

    Great job Colin. You knew when to start, when to end, and everyone had a great time in between. I only made it to two Balsaman events but they were great, both large in life and small in footprint.

    Fair winds and following seas to your next great endeavor.

  7. Diana G. Says:

    We have always enjoyed our small slice of summer in the Balsa Man event. We shall carry you in our hearts. Thanks for a wonderful time!