Archive for the ‘Balsa Man’ Category

Balsa Man Lives!

Monday, December 30th, 2019

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!

Monday, December 9th, 2019

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

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

Balsa Man is Back!

Sunday, September 22nd, 2019
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!

Sunday, April 7th, 2013

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.

Updated Ticket & Location Announcement Policy

Wednesday, August 1st, 2012

We have received a lot of feedback over this year’s randomized ticketing policy. First most, we want to say we hear you and understand that the new rules are confusing and we are sorry that this has been a hardship on the Balsa Man community. The Balsa Man higher ups have had numerous meetings over the past couple months trying to figure out a way to make this work for everyone — from the tiny artists that make Balsa Man the wonderful creative place it is to the puny theme camps that fill it with vibrant community to the little new faces who bring fresh energy to Balsa Man.

We know the new revised rules won’t make everyone happy but we have every confidence that even though it is tiny the Balsa Man community is strong enough to come together and heal the small rifts of these trying times.

Revised Rules for Ticketing

  • As of today August 1st, new online donors no longer receive tickets as part of their donation (all donors prior to Aug 1st will still receive their tickets as promised).
  • Artists who receive art grants receive a ticket (additional tickets can be requested for large tiny art projects). Please submit for an art grant today!
  • Dept of Tiny Works, and other Balsa Man volunteers receive a ticket.
  • Any other people that the Balsa Man Org deems important to the event receive a ticket.
  • Everyone else who wants a ticket must play to win at the upcoming Balsa Bingo event (Saturday 11th) or at another TBD Balsa Man Ticket Casino Event.

Location Announcement Policy

  • Due to certain troubles at last year’s Balsa Man, the location will no longer be announced on the main Balsa Man tiny mail list.
  • You must be a ticket holder to get on the location announcement email list.

Balsa Man 2012 Theme Announcement!

Monday, February 13th, 2012

The Balsa Man Theme Advisory Committee has settled on what it truly believes is the ultimate theme that truly represents the year 2012 in the grand narrative of the long history Balsa Man!

Balsa Man 2012 - Chance

Balsa Man 2012 :: Chance

Instead of damning the whims of fate that resulted in last year’s hullabaloo, this year Balsa Man will celebrate serendipity and the fortuitous fiascos which make Balsa Man the wonderful event it is!  …it is 2012 after all, the year the world ends, or at least that’s what I’ve been told.

Any fool can have bad luck; the art consists in knowing how to exploit it. ~ Frank Wedekind

Small Event, Big Changes

As a result of last year’s fated turmoil, Balsa Man is faced with multiple conundrums. It truly was a year of Growing Pains and the Balsa Man Org is getting it’s engines moving early this year in order to tackle these dilemmas.

Where should we host Balsa Man 2012?

This is a big important question and we have created a new location committee to tackle it. Nothing has yet been decided but we want you to know we are taking it seriously as this more than any change effects the future of the event and the Balsa community.

How will we deal with the ticket scarcity problem to keep it both fair and free of dirty rotten scalpers?

Another important question and one we are pleased to announce is solved! We have come up with an innovative solution that is fair, eliminates the problem of scalpers, and best of all is inspired by this year’s theme!

Donors who donate prior to August 2nd 2012 will receive a number of tickets equal to the roll of a 6 sided die +/- their donor level modifier. (see the BPAF donation page for more info)

Additional tickets will only be available at any of the Balsa Man Ticket Casino events leading up to the main event. At the ticket casino, participants can win tickets by playing any number of games of chance including craps, roulette, and bingo! While obviously not everyone will win a ticket to Balsa Man, all participants will have a fair shot!

No tickets are required for kids 12 and under since as tiny humans they are considered art.