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Colossus Rhinoceros.

Reared In Steel: Giant Sculptures

Field review by the editors.

Petaluma, California

The Burning Man extravaganza appears briefly in Black Rock Desert, and then vanishes entirely for a whole year. But Burning Man sculptures are another matter. While some may be built for predetermined destruction, many survive the Playa and turn up in other locations or head back to home base, wherever that may be.

Just off Highway 101, a strange jumble of metals and colors jut up above a high fence and wall. The site is the art studio of Reared In Steel and its principle artist, Kevin Clark. Clark has built memorable sculptural pieces for Burning Man, from a giant "Medusa Madness" of snake heads, to a 70-ft. tall "Flower Tower" (decorated with the aid of hundreds of local volunteers)

Since it's a private working art studio, banging on the gate is discouraged. The public is instructed to just Google "Reared in Steel" or look on Facebook for photos and context. Still, it's often worth a real world stop for a couple of photos of what currently sticks up above the walls. The studio yard might be packed with unusual pieces, though there's no guarantee, since sculptures are shipped off, on loan or rented out.


When we visited, the Flower Tower was in full bloom, though in two pieces so not in full height. A mech-lion (Guardino Leone) and raven eyed us from elevated perches.

Reared In Steel's fully motorized Rhinoceros vehicle was parked in front. It was custom-built in 2014 by Kevin's team on a 1974 Chevy pickup, with partial funding from a Kickstarter. At Burning Man, fire shoots out of the rhino's main horn; the side opens up into a small musical stage. In June 2018 it was in Las Vegas for the Art Car Festival.

Kevin said he has plans to expand the studio property, and has more monumental works in mind. He's also considering creating a public display on the perimeter fence to answer typical questions from drop-ins (to deter interrupting work on the next metal masterpiece).

You can see some human scale works at his hair salons (The Shop) in Petaluma, San Rafael, and Berkeley.

Reared In Steel: Giant Sculptures

Reared in Steel

100 Copeland St., Petaluma, CA
East Washington and Copeland Sts. You can park easily along the road to snap a few photos from the outside.
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In the region:
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