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Reno Artist Hopes Burning Man Will Propel Career

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Holly Hutchings
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Sculpture Artist, Peter Hazel stands next to some of the glass jellyfish he's making to go inside a huge jellyfish that he hopes will make a splash at this year's Burning Man festival.

Sculpture artist Peter Hazel is heading to Burning Man for his sixth time this year. And, he hopes the massive jellyfish creation he’s crafted for the dusty artistic showcase will catapult his craft to new levels. Our reporter Holly Hutchings caught up with Hazel where he works at Artech, a shared workspace in Reno. 

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Credit Holly Hutchings
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Hazel drills holes into a glass heart he's making in collaboration with another artist. He says working together is one of the hallmarks of Burning Man creators.

“To me, Burning Man launches careers,” Hazel said. “I’m always trying to outdo myself, and frankly we’re trying to outdo each other. And no one says that, but we are. I’ll say it. You know, we want to have the best piece out there. And if you hit a home run out there, you’re going to get commissions, you might sell it, it helps.”

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Credit Holly Hutchings
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Parts and pieces, many made from recycled bottles gathered from Reno bars, collect on this table at Peter Hazel's Artech space, ready to be put into Hazel's Burning Man piece.

He likens his work to that of a musician, who writes a song but doesn’t know if it will be a hit until it’s out in the world. Last year’s playa sculpture fell flat for the artist, and he hopes this year he will strike the right chord.

“You know, when you go to Burning Man, you don’t have the chance to put something up and stand back and change it,” he said. “You only have one shot. You put it up, you tie it in, and you’re done. So, this year I have a chance to go back and change things I didn’t like. So, I’m hoping I’ll be happy with this one.”

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Credit Holly Hutchings
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Two of the glass "jellies" that Peter Hazel made for his upcoming Burning Man creation.

With that happiness, Hazel also hopes for opportunities to lease his work or get commissions after his week in Black Rock City.

Holly Hutchings is a former reporter at KUNR Public Radio.
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