Harrod Blank is an American documentary filmmaker and art car artist living at Berkeley in California. He is the son of Gail, a ceramic artist, and filmmaker Les Blank. His works include the 1992 film Wild Wheels, which documents the artcar phenomenon in America, and the 1998 follow-up Driving The Dream, which focuses on the artists behind the cars. Harrod has created three art cars of his own: Oh My God!, Pico de Gallo and The Camera Van.
In 1993, Michael Mikel convinced a, one of the key organizers of the event (along with Larry Harvey, John Law and others). Michael was featured in my first documentary film Wild Wheels with his art car "5:04 P.M." which he still drives today and which has become one of the many icons of Burning Man. I have been back every year since, and each year I discover something new about the event itself and about myself. It is a very cinematic event with a large percentage of exhibitionists and a strong number of media/photographer voyeurs as well. I am split down the middle being an exhibisionist/voyeur so the event is perfect for me.
In 1995 I began the 16mm feature documentary film Burning Man Or Bust! and I hope to complete the shooting this year in 2000. You will see by my images that I concentrated mostly on the art cars for which the playa is absolutely the most ideal driving playground. I also focused on body painting which I enjoy doing myself quite a bit. I painted Tora Brown, Alexis Spottswood, my father Les Blank, David Silberberg and myself over the years.
My own personal motivation on why I attend the event, regardless of how big it has become or the changing politics, is that no where else do I see such new imagery and other artists challenging the boundaries of art. I bring my own image, my art car "Oh My God!" every year and recently I wore my "Flash Suit" in the fashion show which is how I participate. Bottom line though, I love the new images and the fresh art and that's why I go.
Blank is also the co-founder (along with Philo Northrup) of one of the largest annual art car gatherings in the country - the Art Car Fest, held every September in the San Francisco Bay Area. He is largely responsible for the organization of an art car theme camp at the annual Burning Man festival and is working on a documentary about the event. Blank is currently renovating a building complex in Douglas, Arizona, United States, to become a museum and learning center for art cars; the name of the center will be "Artcar World".