Dress Warm 2020

February 3rd, 2020 by Colin

Dress Warm, Balsa Man’s Favorite Alternative Weekly, came back as well in 2020 and produced a special edition! Writers include:

  • Niloc Noir
  • Adrian Roberts
  • Malderdor

If you missed getting the paper at Balsa Man you can download the PDF here:

Dress Warm History

If you want to check out past issues of Dress Warm you can download them here:

Balsa Man Lives!

December 30th, 2019 by Colin

The Balsa Man Build KCrew had a very successful build and he looks grand! He’s ready for his big day January 19th!

Balsa Man Patches are here!

December 9th, 2019 by Colin

This year’s patch celebrates the theme On Display! Patches can be bought directly at the Oakland Museum Store or online below. 50% of all proceeds go to support the Oakland Museum of California!

All official Balsa Man volunteers get a patch! If you are interested in volunteering for Balsa man contact us at info@balsaman.org.

Check out our History of Balsa Man page to see the emblems used for all the prior year patches!

Balsa Man is Back!

September 22nd, 2019 by Colin
Watching the Balsa Man burn 2008 (photo by Orin)

I, more than anyone, is surprised to be bringing Balsa Man back. The first Balsa Man in 2008 was done nearly on a whim, but I knew I had to do it again after seeing the smiles on everyone’s faces in the meager light of the burning balsa.

After five solidly amazing years, in 2013, I made the final decision to not host another Balsa Man event and close down the Balsa Man Org office. I’d like to say it was a hard decision to make but it really wasn’t. I had done all I had set out to do creatively with the event and more so. Popularity in it had grown and I would have had to make some drastic changes in order for it to continue. The creative spirit of Balsa Man was by that point fully infused in the world and I thought it was better to let it go — either to mutate or fade into pleasant memory.

I’ve gone on and done numerous other amazing art projects that I’m proud of in the past few years. Still I have thought about Balsa Man often. As have others, judging by how many people have said they would love to Balsa Man rise again. That’s why when I got a call this past Spring from the Oakland Museum of California, I immediately knew it was time — time to bring my cutting boards and X-Acto knives out of storage!

Looking forward to see all you bitty balsa burners in Balsa Man 2020!

Colin Fahrion
Founder of Balsa Man

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. I’m thankful of all who jumped in an participated from the marvelous temple of Reduced Expectations by J-Rad to 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.

Balsa 3 Card Monte Ticketing Event, Tues 21st

August 16th, 2012 by Colin

If you missed last weekend’s Balsa Bingo event, then you missed out on a lot of fun and a chance to win your ticket to Balsa Man! The good news is that we are having another ticketing event!

Balsa 3 Card Monte

Tuesday 21st, 6pm–9pm

The Sycamore, 2140 Mission (between 17th & 18th)

10¢ to play. Every contestant gets a chance to win!

Balsa Man Stickers, Patches, and dice are also available for purchase. All proceeds go to supporting Tiny Art!