We’d hear this comment a dozen times a night during Burning Man, while doing fire safety inside Big Stumpy. The wood grain paint on the sheet metal interior was so spectacularly eye-fooling that people kept expecting it to burst into flame, not realizing that it was all steel. The wood benches inside the piece supported this illusion.
FLG rockstar and professional painter Robin Hoodlum designed the finish for the interior. Each panel had physical texture, primer, three colors of base paint, a glaze of wood grain and a urethane protective coating. The physical texture was applied at the Box Shop by the delicate technique of running over each sheet of mild steel with the folk lift. The gravel, metal shards, and other detritus on the shop floor created bumps, wrinkles and bulges that turned a flat piece of material into an organic form. It also created a nightmare surface for the texture painting, which was done on playa.
Conditions for painting were extremely challenging – humidity under 10%, temperatures over 100°F, dust storms as well as the fact that the installation team was ready and waiting for the material. Robin and her core team — Andrea, Lauren, Lisa and Karen — finished the panels at the exact moment that Heavy Machinery came to take away their shelter: the onsite shipping containers.
The results speak for themselves.
Here are some more shots of how it all came to be, from back at the shop and on site…