multi-year build and collaborative art installation
✖️ Mojave Desert + Black Rock Desert, 2015-2019

yes, yes, I know... you may have heard about this project when it gained infamy in 2018 after getting “stuck in the desert” (not quite the full story)...

but before it was famous, it was also kind of the best thing ever...

in 2015, as a young artist hoping to gain experience with large-scale scupture, I joined the build crew of an outlandish Burning Man team with a very ambitious vision: resurrect a retired 1985 Boeing 747 Varig cargo conversion plane that once carried passengers in Brazil from the Mojave Airplane Graveyard (aka the "Boneyard,” which remains the coolest and most acoustically-interesting place i have ever been) and re-fashion it into a moving art installation or "art car" for Burning Man.

why?! why not?

this multi-year project was based, for most of its build, in the Mojave Desert, a place I quickly fell in love with. the project attracted a brilliant, ragtag team of volunteer builders, welders, NASA Jet Propulsion Lab engineers, dirtbag rock climbers, and wandering artists like myself.

as a "flight mechanic" and build crew supervisor, i learned a LOT: metalworking, woodworking, as well as best practices for avoiding scorpions and fire ants. 

when this massive build concluded in 2019, the plane went down in history as the biggest burning man art “car” ever.

✏️ I wrote about my experience for 6x8 Press: And then something weird happened: Burning Man from 30,000 ft

the DJ booth I designed and built:

NOT standard issue from Boeing!

here’s what really went down on the plane...

by August West + Kelly Sinclair, summer 2017

massive gratitude to the weird, wonderful humans whose love and big imaginations gave this project its stumpy, overly-reinforced wings.

sun-bleached days and endless nights spent working on the plane in desert winds, our worklights small beacons against an endless array of red wind turbine lights under shifting galaxies remain some of the dearest days, ever.