Meet the Artist: Tyler Fuqua on Thorax” for No Spectators: The Art of Burning Man”

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  • Tyler Fuqua’s reclaimed material costume, Thorax, was featured in the exhibition, No Spectators: The Art of Burning Man. Here, he’s joined by his mother at the Renwick Gallery, as he talks about his work.

    TYLER FUQUA: It is officially “Thorax, Ambassador of the Insects.” He’s from another planet, and he came down here to represent the insects and to make sure that we stop killing the bees and all that sort of thing. I’m Tyler Fuqua, and we’re at the Renwick Gallery with the Smithsonian for “No Spectators: The Art of Burning Man.”

    It’s a costume, so I strap it on, get all my parts hooked up and everything. Sometimes I wear stilts with it as well, usually not at Burning Man. It’s a little trickier out there. It’s pretty much 95% reclaimed materials. I would just walk through Goodwill and find things that I thought looked, that had good texture and that would work for the project. I found like the old back mat from a Subaru and so I bought that and chopped that up and used those for the shoulders. It’s all built off of football shoulder pads is the main structure. You know, that gave places to drill to and bolt to.

    I really wanted people to see it and look at it and go, “hey, that’s that thing, and that’s a strainer, and that’s the thing” and see that it just, I made it with a bunch of stuff. This lovely lady here is my mother, Karen Fuqua. She is ridiculously supportive with all my crazy artworks and all my ideas that I have. This is kind of surreal to be in the Smithsonian. It’s like, never ever would have thought that would happened.

    KAREN FUQUA: Not everybody gets to be at the Smithsonian and not every mom gets this say, “My son is in the Smithsonian.” We are very proud.

    TF: Yeah, it’s pretty cool.

    KF: It is very cool, honey.

    TF: Yeah, high five.

    KF: Yeah, it’s a good thing.