Lisa Nigro  
curriculum vitae



2003 -present
Founder/Organizer — Burnin’Bush : Annual Fire & Metal Arts Festival
2003 -present Established — Sisterhood of the Burnin’Bush : Coalition for Women in the Arts

2000 -present Conceptual Designer / Director — Draka the Dragon
Draka is a 112-ft long, mobile/kinetic sculpture built on a truck pulling 3 trailers. With the creation of this fire-breathing beast the mythological dragon now has new meaning. Originally built in the year of the dragon (2000) in the northern Nevada Desert, Draka is made of mostly recycled materials. 55-gallon steel drums were cut to make her scales and old cedar shingles form her belly. She is capable of blowing a 50-ft burst of flame, and inside she has a full bar, elegant décor, room for live music, plush seating, and the capacity to carry and entertain 75 to 100 people.

Other Facts: The vision of Draka was inspired by the book Wicked - The Life & Times of the Wicked Witch of the West and its description of a Dragon Clock Tower that roams from village to village, displaying twisted puppet theatre. On May 14, 2002 an accidental fire sparked by a welding machine sent Draka’s belly up in flames. From the ashes I was able to reconsider, then reconstruct, all that had been rushed in the dragon’s original construction two years prior. During the summer months of four consecutive years approximately 100 volunteers worked under my direction making repairs and improvements while learning metalworking skills.
  Grants / Awards

2006 Orange Show Center for Visionary Art Grant - Houston, Tx
Orange Show Center for Visionary Art Grant - Houston, Tx
Orange Show Center for Visionary Art Grant - Houston, Tx
Houston Art Car Museum Grant - Tx
Burning Man Art Installation Grant - San Francisco, CA
Burning Man Art Installation Grant - San Francisco, CA
Burning Man Art Installation Grant - San Francisco, CA
Massachusetts Arts Lottery Grant - Somerville, MA
Basil H. Alkazzi Award in Painting for travel to London - New York, NY

  Group Exhibitions

2008 Houston Art Car Parade . Houston, Tx
2007 Houston Art Car Parade . Houston, Tx
2006 Everyones Art Car Parade . Draka the Dragon (2nd Place Best Art Car) . Houston, Tx
2005 Houston Art Car Parade . Draka the Dragon (1st Place Best Art Car) Houston, Tx
2006 Art Outside . The Enchanted Forest . Austin, Tx
2005 Art Crawl . Houston, Tx
2004 Houston Art Car Parade . (Grant Recipient) Houston, Tx
2004 Two Halves, One Whole: Exploring Gender Archetypes SOMARTS Gallery . San Francisco
2003 Beyond Belief – Burning Man Art Festival . Black Rock Desert, NV Draka the Dragon (rebuilt after fire)
2002 The Floating World – Burning Man Art Festival . Black Rock Desert, NV Dahud-Ahes the Mermaid
2001 The Seven Ages – Burning Man Art Festival . Draka as Public Transport
2000 The Body – Burning Man Art Festival . Black Rock Desert, NV Draka as Spirit of "Man”
1999 Wheel of Time – Burning Man Art Festival . Black Rock Desert, NV Diana: Fertility Goddess as Sundial
1998 The Whole Enchilada – Whole Gallery . San Francisco, CA
1997 Eclectic New Works – Studio 402 . San Diego, CA
1995 TX2CH: Works on Paper – Galerie Tumb . Zurich, Switzerland
1994 Trends in Mutilation – ArtSpace . Austin, Tx
1993 A Show Without Walls – The Artist’s Cooperative of Austin Tx
1993Women and Sexuality – The Alternate Current Art Space . Austin, Tx
1991 The Mother of All Group Shows – Speedway Gallery . Boston, MA
1990 Salon des Refusees – Fauve Gallery . Amherst, MA
1990 27: An Exhibition of Grant Winners in the Visual Arts – Brickbottom Gallery . Somerville, MA
1989 Figures and Faces – Wortzel Gallery . Boston, MA
1988 Transforming the Narrative – Ariel Gallery . New York, NY

  Solo Exhibitions 1992 A Religious Experience The Trident Booksellers & Cafe, Boston, MA
1992 Works on Paper: 1984 to 1991 The MiddleEast Cafe, Cambridge, MA
1991 The Figure in Motion DV-8 Gallery at Axis, Boston, MA
1990 Eleven Heads Somerville Public Library, Somerville, MA
1989  The Figure in Color Barillari Books, Harvard Square Cambridge, MA
/ Publications
• Marquis, N. Albert ; Who'sWho of American Women — 26th Edition 2007
• Kristen, Christine; "Art & Freedom at the Nevada Desert Festival"
RAW Vision 2006, p.29-31
• Willsheer, Andy;
Chroom n Flammen  "Automotive Art" Nr.12 Dec 06
• Rice, Harvey; "Everyones Art Car Parade/Bumper-to-bumper artistry" Met Front,
Houston Chronicle May 14, 2006, p.1B
• Marquis, N. Albert ;
Who'sWho in America — 60th Diamond Edition 2006
• Vose, Kenneth E;
Monster Nation: The Best Transformed Vehicles from Coast to Coast Meredith Books, May 2004
• Doherty, Brian;
This is Burning Man: the rise of a new American underground Little, Brown & Co., July 2004, p.195
• Westbrook, Bruce; “Joy Rides – Wheeled Works of Wacky Art” cover story – Entertainment Guide,
Houston Chronicle May 6, 2004, p.18F
• Nigro, Lisa; “Draka, the Flaming Metal Dragon” published in
Leonardo Journal - MIT Press, Nov. 5, 2003 Special Issue: The Art of Burning Man, p.351
• Pinchbeck, Daniel; “Heat of the Moment: the Art & Culture of Burning Man” mention -
ARTFORUM November 2003, p.177
• Krueter, Holly;
Drama in the Desert: the Sights & Sounds of Burning Man Raised Barn Press, 2003, p.60 & 138
• Vanderhoff, Mark; "Desert Playa becomes Sea of Humanity"
Reno Gazette Journal 8/30/02
• Marin, Rick; “The Least Likely Burning Man” photo
New York Times Sept 10, 2000, p.1
• Pinchbeck, Daniel; “The Fire This Time” mention
Rolling Stone Magazine 11/ 9/00,p.118
• Ranputa, Janaki; “Women Artists in Black Rock : Magical Collaboration” review
Black Rock Gazette - The Art Edition September 3, 1999
• Stofer, Judith; “Austin meets Zurich” review-
Dienstag Zurich, Switzerland 4/11/1995 Nr.71
• Grant, William; “Art Goes Almost Anywhere” review -
ArtSpeak NY, NY Oct 1, 1988 p. 17
  Television 2005 Discovery Channel: Draka the Dragon and Lisa air on Monster Nation
2004 KPRC-Channel 2: Everyones Art Car Parade Special Broadcast, May 8, Houston, TX
2003-04 Discovery Channel: Draka and Lisa feature on
Backyard Monsters – a special segment of Monster Garage 
  Teaching Experience 2006-07 Texas State University . San Marcos
Professor: 3D Design. Instructed students in developing a working understanding of the visual/tactile vocabulary of 3D Design. In finding solutions to a variety of design problems, students explored the expressive potential of materials & contribution of craftsmanship to content.

Summers 2000-2003 Burning Man Art Festival . Black Rock Desert, NV
Director / Instructor — Art Installations : Draka the Dragon & Dahud-Ahes the Mermaid.
As one of the top 5 featured artists at Burning Man, I worked with 30-50 volunteers each summer & instructed in the basics of metal fabrication.

Summer 1999 Burning Man Art Festival . Black Rock Desert, NV
Director / Choreographer — Art Installation :
Diana-Fertility Goddess as Sundial & Performance. Led approx 15 volunteers in the construction of a 12ft tall Fertility Goddess that functioned as a real sundial.

1997-98 Workshop Instructor San Francisco, CA
Media Alliance : Taught Quark Intensive, Quark I, Quark II & Illustrator.
Artists Television Access : Taught Quark & Illustrator 3 wk courses. Students learned to create 4-pg newsletters w/images imported from Photoshop & Illustrator.
Youth Industry : Artist - Mentorship Program. Taught desktop publishing and web design to youth at risk ages 18-25.

1992-95 University of Texas at Austin
Assistant Teacher : Sculpture.
Taught bronze casting techniques; lost wax & investment mold process; mold making, welding, brazing & forging. Conducted critiques, lectures & slide presentations on modern sculpture.
Assistant Teacher : Painting & Drawing.
Assisted students in painting & drawing techniques; conducted critiques.
Assistant Teacher : Graphic Design.
Instructed students in the use of Quark, Photoshop, HyperCard & MacroMind Director.
Assistant Teacher : Painting & Drawing — Summer Program in Italy.
  Education 1994 MFA Sculpture — University of Texas at Austin
1990 Artist in Residence — Vermont Studio Center
BFA Painting — University of Massachusetts, Amherst
  Internet • ArtistsSpace (MoMa Archives)
• Serious Wheels
• The Fund for Women Artists
• Leonardo Journal
• Steel Girl
• Burning Man – Art Installation Image Gallery
  Collections 1998 Private Collection “Dream Drawings,” pencil & ink on paper; Robert Fallen, Big Sur, CA
1997 Private Collection “A Prayer” pastel drawing on paper; Tanya Story, Santa Fe, NM
1994 Private Collection “Catfish” pastel drawing on paper; Daniel Derwelis, Brooklyn, NY
1993 Private Collection “Spermaid” & ”Hole” George McCall Seacrest, Houston, Tx
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© 2008 Lisa Nigro. All rights reserved.