14035 Chalk Hill Rd.

Healdsburg, CA 95448

(707) 431-8283 Cell: (707) 235-3923



lisa nigro


2008 Member: National Association of Professional Women
2003-present Founder:
Sisterhood of the Burnin’Bush
The West Coast Coalition for Women in the Arts

2003-04 Founder/Organizer: Burnin’Bush — Fire & Metal Arts Festival

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
2005  Orange Show Center for Visionary Art Grant  Houston, TX

2004  Orange Show Center for Visionary Art Grant  Houston, TX

2004  Houston Art Car Museum Grant  Houston, TX

2001  Burning Man Art Installation Grant  San Francisco, CA

2000  Burning Man Art Installation Grant  San Francisco, CA

1999  Burning Man Art Installation Grant  San Francisco, CA

1989  Massachusetts Arts Lottery Grant  Somerville, MA
1988  The Basil H. Alkazzi Award in Painting for travel to London  New York, NY

Group Exhibitions


2008  Houston Art Car Parade
2007  Houston Art Car Parade
 Everyones Art Car Parade  Draka the Dragon wins 2nd Place Best Art Car, Houston, TX
 Art Outside The Enchanted Forest Austin, TX
2005  Art Crawl – Houston, TX

2005  Everyones Art Car Parade  Draka the Dragon wins 1st Place Best Art Car, Houston, TX

2004  Two Halves, One Whole: Exploring Gender Archetypes SOMARTS Gallery, San Francisco, CA

2004  Houston Art Car Parade  Draka the Dragon (participant) Houston, TX

2003  Beyond Belief Burning Man Art Festival  Draka the Dragon (rebuilt after fire) Black Rock Desert, NV
2002  The Floating World Burning Man Art Festival  Dahud-Ahes the Mermaid Black Rock Desert, NV
2001  The Seven AgesBurning Man Art Festival  Draka as Public Transport (DPT) Black Rock City, NV
2000  The Body Burning Man Art Festival  Draka the Flaming Metal Dragon as Spirit of "Man” Black Rock Desert, NV

1999  The Wheel of Time Burning Man Art Festival  Diana: Fertility Goddess as Sundial Installation & Performance, Black Rock Desert, NV
1998  The Whole EnchiladaWhole Gallery  San Francisco, CA

1997  Eclectic New WorksStudio 402  San Diego, CA

1995  TX2CH: Works on PaperGalerie Tumb  Zurich, Switzerland

1994  Trends in MutilationArtSpace curated by Linda Montano; presented by the Artists Coalition of Austin, TX

1993  A Show Without WallsThe Artist’s Cooperative of Austin TX
1993  Women and SexualityThe Alternate Current Art Space  Austin, TX
1991  The Mother of All Group Shows Speedway Gallery  Boston, MA

1990  Salon des RefuseesFauve Gallery  Amherst, MA
1990  27: An Exhibition of Twenty-Seven Grant Winners in the Visual Arts Brickbottom Gallery  Somerville, MA
1989  Figures and Faces Wortzel Gallery Boston, MA

1988  Transforming the NarrativeAriel 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

Reviews / Publications


Marquis, N. Albert ; Who’sWho of America Women 2007 & 2008
• 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


2006  KPRC-Channel 2 Everyones Art Car Parade Special Broadcast. Draka wins 1 of Top 5 Viewer’s Choice May 25, Houston, TX
  Discovery Channel  Draka the Dragon and Lisa air on Monster Nation February
2004  KPRC-Channel 2 Everyones Art Car Parade Special Broadcast. May 8, Houston, TX
2003-4  Discovery Channel  Draka and Lisa feature on Backyard Monsters a special segment of Monster Garage, Aug 03 thru mid-year 04

Teaching Experience

2006-7 Texas State University . San Marcos

Adjunct Professor : 3-D Design.
Instructed students in developing a working understanding of the visual/tactile vocabulary of three-dimensional design to use in making, describing, and evaluating three-dimensional arts. In finding individual solutions to a variety of design problems, the students explored the expressive potential of materials, the contribution of craftsmanship to content, and the possibilities allowed by additive and reductive forming methods. The student also gained experience in handling both plastic and rigid materials.

Summers 2000-03
  Burning Man Art Festival . Black Rock Desert, NV
Director / Instructor — Art Installations : Draka the Dragon & Dahud-Ahes the Mermaid.
As one of the top five featured artists at Burning Man, I worked with 30 to 50 volunteers each summer in a harsh desert environment on the construction of these large scale works of art. Faced with the new role of director, I found myself instructing individuals of varying skill levels in metal fabrication techniques. Beginning with the use of cutting torches and grinders, volunteers moved on to welding and other creative activities common to large-scale, mixed media, sculptural works, including woodwork, interior design & decoration, lighting, mechanics, and workshop safety.

Summer 1999
Burning Man Art Festival . Black Rock Desert, NV
Director / Choreographer — Art Installation : Diana-Fertility Goddess as Sundial & Performance.
After in-depth research on sundial construction, I led a group of approximately 15 to 20 volunteers in the construction of a 12 foot tall, metal lath and mud covered Fertility Goddess that functioned as a real sundial. For the finalé, I choreographed and directed an all woman performance that climaxed with igniting the Goddess.

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 & web design to youth at risk age 18-25.

1992-95 University of Texas at Austin
Assistant Teacher : Sculpture.
Taught students bronze casting techniques; lost wax and investment mold process. Instructed plaster and rubber mold making, welding, brazing, forging, and grinding. Conducted critiques, lectured, and made slide presentations on modern sculpture. Encouraged both traditional and modern approaches to sculpture. I particularly enjoyed working with students interested in creating environments and installations.
Assistant Teacher : Painting & Drawing.
Assisted students with painting and drawing techniques, conducted critiques, and gave instruction on the oil painting process and mixing of colors. Supplied information on art materials & tool uses.
Assistant Teacher : Graphic Design. Instructed students in the use of Quark, Photoshop, HyperCard & MacroMind Director.
Assistant Teacher : Painting & Drawing — Summer Program in Italy.
Worked with students on painting and drawing projects. Traveled throughout Italy assisting in educating students on famous works of art found in the museums and churches of Florence, Rome, Bologna, Siena, and other cities; and attended the world-renowned Venice Biennale.


1994  MFA Sculpture  University of Texas at Austin

1990  Artist in Residence  Vermont Studio Center 
1985  BFA Painting  University of Massachusetts, Amherst


1994  Private Collection Catfish pastel on paper; Daniel Derwelis - Brooklyn, NY
1993  Private Collection Spermaid bronze sculpture, Hole lithograph, and drawings;  George McCall Seacrest - Houston


ArtistsSpace (MoMa Archives)   The Fund for Women Artists    Leonardo Journal    Steel Girl •
Serious Wheels    Burning Man: Art Installation Image Gallery