Tina Merrie Newman
Maker and Builder in Los Angeles, California
Nickname :: Captain Everything
I am addicted to working with my hands, namely in the welding, general fabrication, and pyrotechnics of large-scale art. Much of this art has been centered around the ethos of Burning Man events where artists, art, and audience are all highly interactive. The bigger, more ridiculous, and seemingly impossible to build the better. The beautiful thing about Burning Man art is that even if you find yourself scratching your head and asking yourself, "Is this even POSSIBLE?" inevitably somone will step in and willingly offer, "I think I know how we can do that." It's a constant evolution of collaborating and learning new skills.
I learned that I wanted to become a builder the very first step I took out onto the main street at Burning Man. I had what I call a Magic Boom moment where you are forced still in your tracks, your eyes are stunned by what you see, and you realize, "I will do whatever it takes to build this kind of crazy the rest of my life." I saw booming art cars, giant metal spinning and spitting fire, metal sculpture build entirely too high for reason. Ever since that first glimpse I have been building, making and creating. I've now worked as a key crew member on two art cars, including the Mars Rover Art Car, a spinning pyrotechnic metal sculpture for Los Angeles League of Arts, as well as continually volunteer my time on burn effigy's and regional events.
My current plans are to continue forging my career as a builder and pyrotechnician. I've decided to expand into the more professional side of things by working on different welding certifications as well as applying for my pyrotechnic 3, theatrical trainee, and basic rocketry licenses (did I mention my love of science and space exploration yet?). Lastly, I hope to encourage other future builders to take a chance and give it a try... and there's no time like right now to do it.