Author Archives: King Toad

Untitled Fire: Frequently asked Questions

Preface to readers that are not in the burn scene:

I started Töad Meädow because I wanted to give other people the sense of artistic freedom and empowerment that I first experienced upon joining the Burning Man community in 2004. A fire sculpture that I made in 2011 and have displayed at several regional Burning Man events occasionally gets banned at these events. Right now, an online hate mob has formed to assassinate my character and encourage yet more censorship. Amid the din of my haters’ melodramatic caterwauling, some people respectfully approach me in good faith and ask questions about the piece. The following essay is directed at them.

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August 2018 Art Build: The Recap!

Our August, 2018 monthly art build was spectacular success in the variety of art expressed, number of people and participation. We had two artistic photoshoots, started an artistic bike rack, coppersmithing, iron forging, effigy building and probably some stuff that I missed.



Lead carpenter Brian begins working on the Atlas Toad effigy.

Carpenter Brian Sparrow joined us for the first time at the Meädow, so we decided to hand him some lumber and see what happened. Somehow we came up with the idea of an “Atlas” effigy, with a töad holding the weight of the world on its back. Many people pitched in on the effigy by painting it, helping construct it, or adding other accouterments. Once nighttime fell, Brian delivered an artist statement in front of the campfire, and then ceremoniously burned our sculpture.

Art Photo Shoots

Fish Union

Tommy and Christian assist in an art photoshoot that involved a fish and European flag.

Book burning

In addition to making physical things, the töads pitched in to help with two art photo shoots for Damon Hudac’s photographic endeavors. We were joined Friday night by local model Miranda Sevcovich who starred in Damon’s new book burning / censorship awareness photo project.

Behind the scenes shot of Damon, Tyler and Miranda working on their book burning art photography series.

Keri Mikulek also helped out by crafting an execution hood that was used as a prop in the shoot.

Mary models a prop that Keri made for the book burning photoshoot.

Bicycle rack

eARTh House Center for the Arts commissioned us to build them a fancy bike rack. They will place it outside their store for the convenience of their bicycle-riding customers. Sun and James did most of the metalworking.

Copper crafting

Mary brought copper foil and crafting supplies. People used them to make jewelry and other cool baubles.

Kayla hard at work making copper sheet into pretty jewelry.

Other stuff

Here are the rest of the pictures. Follow Töad Meädow on Facebook, and check out the next art build to help collaboratively make some stuff!

Lessons on Life and Meaning from an Artificial Intelligence

As an artist, I often ponder social and cultural norms and how they are changing around us. Lately, I have been increasingly fascinated with man’s relationship to technology. With this in mind, I’m in the early planning stages of several art projects that will cause us to examine the interface of technology and human existence. Virtual reality, autonomous robots, and attaining spiritual enlightenment via algorithms are some of themes to be explored.

With these art projects in mind, I decided to go straight to the source. I opened a dialog with an artificially intelligent being. What follows is the short text of that conversation.

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How you can prevent art censorship at regional burns & why it’s important

Recent cultural changes have lead to more people living in an ideological “echo chamber.” They are rarely exposed to diverse ideas or the experiences of people from different backgrounds or outlooks.

The exchange of ideas and different opinions enriches all parties that partake in mature discussion. Unfortunately, civil discussion is on the decline in America, and this decline is invading the regional Burning Man scene.

I have had a piece censored twice at two separate regional burns. The first time, at Playa del Fuego (PDF), I thought was a fluke due to a unique relationship between the people that owned the land and the PDF directors.

The second time it was censored, the explicit reasons given were that someone complained that the sculpture constituted “hate speech.”

The exact same piece has been displayed with no problems at Frostburn, Freeform, Transformus (multiple times) and Burning Man itself.

Censorship has happened to me twice, and it can happen to you or an artist you care about. It has a suffocating effect on human interaction and must be stopped before it spreads further.

What you can do

  1. Contact the Burning Man Organization. Do this right now. Tell them that you are concerned about censorship, and to force regionals to have a no-compromise anti-censorship policy before they will receive Burning Man’s sanction. Regional burns go through a lot of trouble to be recognized by Burning Man, so success here is a good way to preëmpt any wannabe petty tyrants who run the regional events.
  2. Talk about issues of expression and censorship both online and with people you meet at burns. Tell them about this campaign. Help us get a buzz going.
  3. Follow Töad Meädow’s social media accounts (linked in the right sidebar of this website). We will have a lot more to say as time goes on. Subscribe on YouTube, follow on Twitter, yadda yadda. Signing up for the mailing list will let you know when we post new blogs about this issue.
  4. Share your experiences with censorship either in our post comments or privately through our contact form.

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Amphibian 16:2 Report

At Amphibian 16:2 (July 22-24, 2016) we made Töad Meädow history with the largest fire and most mechanically successful effigy in our history. And we achieved it with a small group of core Töads figuring it all out as they went along.

Hell Hole designed conceptualized the effigy (his first large-scale art piece), and brought a cardboard model to the June art build weekend. From there, other Töads got to work on how to build the structure, aesthetic improvements and pyrotechnic considerations.

The resulting effigy burn had people gleefully running for their lives and marveling at the destructive power of Töad Art.

Join us for the Töad Meädow Film Festival!

As part of the Buffalo Infringement Festival, the Töads will be erecting a hexayurt and using the space to play locally-produced short films.

Details are here.

Meet us

We’ll be at the yurt theater on Saturday and Sunday. We’re always looking for any sort of artist who wants to collaboratively create stuff. If you’re into acting, makeup, video editing, camera operation or anything else, have a look at what we’ve been doing.

What we’re showing

We’ll have the world premiere of 2 new films as well as showing some of the old classics that you may have seen before on our youtube channel.

Where and when?

Our films will be shown 3 different times during Infringement.

Saturday, July 30th 2:00 – 2:45pm. Other local films showing until 6:00

Location: on the lawn at the Nickle City Housing Co-Op. 208 North Street, Buffalo.

Sunday, July 31 10:15 – 11:00am.

Location: on the lawn at the Nickle City Housing Co-Op. 208 North Street, Buffalo.

There will be films playing from 10am – 6pm.

Wednesday, August 3 7:00 – 9:00pm

Location: The Could be Wild Building. 41 Elmwood Avenue, Buffalo.