The Burnt Offerings of Burning Man

Wow! What just happened to me? I feel like I was put in a blender for a week and then poured out into a lopsided pint glass – but it was the most amazing experience of my life! We arrived at Black Rock City Desert on Tuesday, all clean and shiny. As soon as we got to the gate, the greeters made us get out of our car and roll around the ground to cover ourselves with dust. Goodbye clean hair! Ha! But it was easy to find our camp as the flags I designed for Dang Gang were flying high in the breeze and were a perfect landmark! We also had the best spot – right on the edge with a beautiful view of the surrounding mountains…
dangday The car looked absolutely incredible! There were thousands of art cars or “mutant vehicles” as they are referred to, but Dang Gang looked amazing in the day time and the night time!
cushy And my cushions looked pretty spiffy as well if I do say so myself!
dragncushy The detail that was put into this vehicle was like nothing I have ever seen! Every bit was decorated, lush & plush!
medanggang Me sitting with my cushions on the Dang Gang – hell yeah I’m proud!
We stayed in a yurt, which was quite cool and comfortable. In fact, surprisingly I was more cold than hot there.
mars1bliss During the day we rode bikes around and looked at all the amazing art & sculptures. On the left is one of Mars1 Molecule Sculptures, and on the right in the distance is Bliss Dance lady – not only was she beautiful and massive – but she breathed too! And the Turkey Bus in the middle reminded me of one of my fave books ever – Tom Robbins Skinny Legs and All. I thought about that book a lot when I was out there. I asked many people if they had read it but everyone said no. If you are a Burner – read it! Or even if you’re not. Little hint – about a redneck who welds a turkey bus and drives it across America…
totem The artwork was absolutely breath taking! This is Mike Garlington’s Totem of Confessions. It was like a 3D Diorama temple. So beautiful! Susan Sarandon helped build it. And it had Tim Leary’s ashes inside. It burned after the man. So gorgeous.
mazu As was the Mazu Temple. What a sight to behold. You could go in and make a wish and get your fortune read. Gorgeous!!
jasoninbady My bandannas were a big hit on the playa! You def needed them to keep the dust out! I had a hard time with the dust actually. Got a bad sore throat and earache; and my cuticles looked like they had had knives dropped on them and then were put in solvents. Next time lots of coconut oil!
mentat It was impossible to be glamourous out there with all the dust. But I did try! I didn’t wear a bra or makeup for a whole week, which was quite liberating!
Unfortch I wasn’t able to take as many pics as I wanted but my silk mumus were a big hit on the playa and I am happy to report, after a wash, they all came out perfectly! Some I even wore twice!
menjp One thing I REALLY struggled with was the darkness. I am blind in my right eye and have problems at night in cities, but out there on the first night I just started falling everywhere. But luckily a very nice man named JP saw me falling and scooped me up and had my back the entire time. One night on my way to the bathroom I tripped over a tent stake and knocked someone’s tent down while they were sleeping! Oops! Sorry! Next time I will have lots of hats covered in flood lights so I’m not so clumsy!
kitntat Everyone was so nice too! In fact I was really taken aback by the outpouring of gratitude I received from my work. In normal life as a struggling artist, it’s so hard to get recognition for what you do, but out there I got it ten fold. In fact the day after we left I had a 2 hour cry just thinking about how nice everyone was to me.
dangatnight But the best part was driving around at night! The car lit up, had an incredible DJ and sound system & pyrotechnics! So every few minutes there would be fireballs shooting up from the back! Of course there was a whole crew of people operating different departments to make it work and make sure we were all safe.

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When I was little growing up in my small Bible belt town, my fave time of year was when the fair would come. Driving around the Dang Gang at night reminded me of my childhood – it was like the fair – but for INFINITY!!!

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And the burn night was like no other experience I have ever had! I even danced! Something I have not done in years! It was a very special, magical night! I saw so many amazing sights and am so inspired now to create more! Before I left I ear marked so many things I wanted to do and see & honestly I didn’t see a tenth of them. But what I got from the experience was living in the present and being connected to the people in your camp. Sharing stories, gifts and your time; rather than running around trying to see every sight…
burnfriends Once we were back in San Francisco we had a little decompression/ reunion party at my new friends amazing gallery Arttitud which was really nice. That was prob the best part of Burning Man for me – making new friends – friends for life! Thank you so much to Marmot King & The Dang Gang Crew, my bestie Kirsten, and my new friends Tatiana & Ted & JP! Big love to all of you & hopefully I’ll see you on the playa next year! oxo GD
There was one drag for me – I wasn’t able to properly project my animations :(. I worked my ass off making 3 vids especially for Burning Man, even paid someone to help me and bought the most expensive portable projector on earth!!! But unfortch, out on the playa with all the dust and mayhem and chaos, it was impossible to figure it out. All though I did get it going for a baby bit one night & projected it onto the playa and people danced around them… Here are the vids I made. Hopefully next year I can properly sort it out!

DangGang1 from Grande Dame on Vimeo.

DangGang2 from Grande Dame on Vimeo.

DangGang3 from Grande Dame on Vimeo.

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Bottle Alley Battle…

GD Bottle Alley 1 I thought I would share a couple pix I have seen of my work hanging in Bottle Alley in Hastings, UK as part of the Zeroh Studio collaboration for the Coastal Currents Arts Festivals Opening Ceremony. Sadly it was defaced by bad poetry in red marker with curse words all over it & now looks like the council will take it down.
Bottle Alley 2 by GD People chilling out by my work at the opening ceremony night. Totally gutted as I will never get to see it, or even a photo with the sea behind it. Nothing. Why are people so selfish? I will never understand. I am not going to put the “poets” name up as they don’t deserve credit. But people in Hastings know who it is… Such a shame – major time and money put in this project… :( GD
POST UPDATE – I was able to find a pic with the sea behind courtesy of the Coastal Currents Official FB page, so at least I get a photo of it. Not the same of course. Oh well…
Some very nice people went down Bottle Alley and painted over the bad poetry! They had to paint over it twice because the marker was so dark. Me & Booboo took a stroll this morning and it all looks brilliant so yay! :)


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Burning Man Bound!

dangcruise Tomorrow morning I set off on my journey – headed to Burning Man to assist with interior design on this awesome ride – The Dang Gang Imperial Cruiser!! And other mad vehicles!! Is this real? Part of me still can’t believe it, but the other part can, because I have done a lot of work & now I’m starting to physically feel it! ha!
dangfabric All the fabric I designed came out beyond my expectations! Fabpad are the best fabric printers in the UK! Really over the moon!
danggangcush It’s hard to pick a favorite one! But this is a strong contender! I did 60 cushions in all, ranging in various sizes & patterns – some are even as big as beds! 5 feet by 5 feet! Wow!
dangbunting I even used some of the cushion remnants to make bunting! Waste not want not!
danggangflag My original design has become the official logo for Dang Gang Car Crew. If you’re at Burning Man this year – they should be flying at 8:45 between K & L – as well as on a few vehicles! So look out for them!
dangembroidery I also made an embroidery of the Dang Gang Dragon mascot – called Chairman Dang of Gang – hoping it will have a space to hang out there…
dangmumu2 And I made a few mumus – because – why not?
dangmumu1 I had an Aunt who, once she turned 40, all she wore was Mumus – that’s how I see myself! Ha! I’m going into my Mumu Phase! This one was inspired by Sun Ra’s “Space is the Place”…
boodang Boo Boo knows something is up! Sorry boy… I also took the logo image & other chinoiserie type drawings and made some trippy videos and loops! There is one car with a huge sail that the vids will be projected on!! OMG! HOW COOL!!! Some have accused me of overdoing it – but what can I say? I like to work in loads of different mediums! Most people have life goals of owning homes and having kids – mine are to explore as many creative avenues as possible! And what a great platform for me to exhibit my wares & collaborate with other talented artists! Plus it’s going to be beyond taking in the all the mad spectacle – Thank You UNIVERSE! Follow me on instagram if you want to keep up with my mad cap adventures!!! Ok toodles yall! oxo gd

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A video posted by grandedame (@grandedame) on

A video posted by grandedame (@grandedame) on

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Grande Dame Does Bottle Alley!

No, it’s not a sex act – it’s street art on Hastings iconic underground seafront promenade! The mega talented animation/ art duo – Zeroh – asked myself and about 20 other artists to contribute to their project which is also the launch of Coastal Currents Arts Festival. There are over 100 columns running along Bottle Alley and each artist has 5 to cover. The theme was “Point of Decay” – Hastings Pier and Seafront is having a much needed makeover after being in a state of decay for sometime. Before Bottle Alley gets its proper facelift, our art shall adorn the walkway. Bottle Alley was built in the 1930’s buy Hastings “Concrete King” Sidney Little. A pioneer in early recycling, he took loads of different colored broken bits of glass and made mosaic walls with concrete that line the underground deck. Not just a pretty decoration, the walls helped stabilize the beach and take the full force of the sea. Even in it’s current state, it is a treat to walk through. wecamefromthesea1
Here are a few of my images. I was inspired by some science programs I watched on how life was formed from gas, water, and heat; and how we all originally evolved from sea creatures. I call my collection – “We Came From the Sea” – this is “Early Bird” and “Tree of The Dead”. We had to work in black and white only, which was a challenge for me, but as I have said many times before – I like challenges!
These are called – “5 Stages of The Baby Coral Formation” and “Origins of Man”. There are a few more too, but you’ll have to walk down Bottle Alley and see for yourself! I must admit, this is another life goal I am ticking off the list! Grande Dame – Street Artist! Woo! Coastal Currents Opening Ceremony is August 28th. Zeroh put on quite a spectacle, so make sure you get down to Bottle Alley to witness it in all it’s glory! Art should be up for 3 – 4 months! Yay! Click Pix for info! More soon! oxo gd

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Come To The Sabbat Dark Arts Festival!

satanicmojo3 Attention London Friends! To celebrate the release of Satanic Mojo Comic #3 – Old Pal & long time collaborator – Jason Atomic is having a week long Dark Arts Festival in Hackney! Opening night is this coming Monday Aug 17th! Each night is a different event – Black light Art show, live drawing event, vintage horror film nights, music & more! I’m disappointed to say, I was supposed to take part, but because of my Burning Man commitment, I had to drop out – :(. I know it’s going to be so super dope! So if you, like me are a lover of vintage horror & comics, you don’t wanna miss this one! It’s at Apiary Studios on Hackney Road. Click the pic for info! Don’t miss this one! oxo GD


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Grande Dame at The Arts Desk!

Ladies & Germs! Many apologies for my long blog lapses… I have been so busy getting ready for Burning Man (OMG!!!) that I haven’t been able to think straight. Also I have been suffering technical difficulties with ye olde blog. But I am happy to report that I have everything under control and my blog issue is solved! Yay! I did a Q&A with journo extraordinaire Joe Muggs from The Arts Desk on my humble art career! Of course, like always, my answers were long winded and rambling! Ha! Find out my likes, dislikes, turn offs, turn ons, and all other things GD by clicking the pic or here! You might wanna get a cuppa before tucking in! Did I mention I rambled on?┬áMore soon! oxo gd

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Grande Designs At Burning Man!

burningmanI can’t believe I am actually typing these words, but in less than 6 weeks time – I am going to Burning Man! WOW!!! It has been on my bucket list for years! Right up there with volunteering at the Sloth Sanctuary in Costa Rica & Orangutan Sanctuary in Bali! But it always seemed like an impossible dream… How on earth would I go? How does it work? Even if I were to convince friends to all get an RV and show up – then what?
danggangimperial But the stars all lined up and made everything fall into place! I am going with my best friend and we are going to work doing interior design on Art Cars for Dang Gang! This is one of their vehicles – The Dang Imperial! Not sure if this is the one I’ll be kitting out, or what. But OMG! I honestly can not believe this!! It’s a total dream come true! A whole week living in a surreal fantasy world! Doing art & seeing art & living art & breathing art! There is going to be a massive Pinball Machine! And massive Kaleidoscope! All kinds of crazy sculptures & lights… Mad people in mad outfits in a total space landscape! I’m sure it is going to be an endurance test. And to be totally honest – I have NEVER even camped before! But I like challenges, and always dive into difficult things head on. It’s the only way you learn! And I don’t mind getting dirty… Plus I’m confident that as long as I have my basic needs – the rest will fall into place… So I better get to work! Have a lot to do from now until then! OMG! I can not handle the excitement! Thank you Universe!! oxo gd


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