Artist Mauricio Bustos is a data architect in the financial sector, an industry in which he has thrived for two decades. He has a background as an aerospace engineer.
Mauricio is a member of the bEEcHARGE!!! artist collective, one of the first groups to join our re-imagined art, tech and maker community. Their mutant vehicle Apis Inlusio is a favorite sight at Burning Man and Bay Area events. This eclectic collective has brought a beloved creative energy and enthusiasm to the Gate 510 community.
Born in Colombia and raised in Michigan, Mauricio studied at the University of Michigan, and earned a Masters in Business Administration from the University of California at Berkeley. He now resides in Oakland.
He discovered “the artist within” at Burning Man in 1998. His art reflects his background, and often involves interactivity, electronics, and kinetics (motion by wind or voices or motion). Often you will find microphones and accelerometers as elements of his work.
As an engineer, he sees how systems that ostensibly have nothing to do with each other are actually very tightly linked when represented in different contexts. Electrical circuits can be modeled with water or springs and pulleys; waves as mathematical functions. Mauricio works to take advantage of these modeling relationships to represent one phenomenon in a different context providing an unexpected perspective and connection.
One of Bustos’ most visible works is lumenEssence, a soaring light sculpture which has seen multiple public exhibitions. The earliest iteration of lumenEssence was installed at Burning Man 2012 and titled “Seagrass,” and in 2013 the piece was repurposed into a stylized Menorah in San Francisco’s Union Square for the ritual Hannukah lighting ceremony.
In 2014, Bustos received a Burning Man art honorarium to build the piece into what is now known as lumenEssence for display on the playa; it has been re-adapted and installed as the central installation in the Town Center here at The Gate 510, where its gentle dancing glow illuminates our beautiful community gathering space.