1617 W. Magnolia Avenue
San Antonio, Texas USA 78201
(210) 785-0832


Lisa Nigro


Founder/Organizer: Burnin’BushFire & Metal Arts Festival
Sisterhood of the Burnin’Bush Coalition for Women in the Arts

Conceptual Designer / Director
Draka the Dragon is a 112-ft long, mobile/kinetic sculpture built on a truck pulling 3 trailers. With the creation of this fire-breathing beast the mythological dragon now has new meaning. Originally built in the year of the dragon (2000) in the northern Nevada Desert, Draka is made of mostly recycled materials. 55-gallon steel drums were cut to make her scales and old cedar shingles form her belly. She is capable of blowing a 50-ft burst of flame, and inside she has a full bar, elegant décor, room for live music, plush seating, and the capacity to carry and entertain 75 to 100 people.

Other Facts:
The vision of Draka was inspired by the book Wicked - The Life & Times of the Wicked Witch of the West and its description of a Dragon Clock Tower that roams from village to village, displaying twisted puppet theatre. On May 14, 2002 an accidental fire sparked by a welding machine sent Draka’s belly up in flames. From the ashes I was able to reconsider, then reconstruct, all that had been rushed in the dragon’s original construction two years prior. During the summer months of four consecutive years approximately 100 volunteers worked under my direction making repairs and improvements while learning metalworking skills.

Group Exhibitions

2005  Everyones Art Car Parade  Draka the Dragon -1st Place, Best Art Car, Houston, TX
 Two Halves, One Whole: Exploring Gender Archetypes ­ SOMARTS Gallery San Francisco, CA
2004  Everyones Art Car Parade  Draka the Dragon -participant, Houston, TX
2003  Beyond Belief ­ Burning Man Art Festival  Draka the Dragon (rebuilt after fire) Black Rock Desert, NV
2002  The Floating World ­ Burning Man Art Festival  Dahud-Ahes the Mermaid Black Rock Desert, NV
2001  The Seven Ages ­ Burning Man Art Festival  Draka as Public Transport (DPT) Black Rock City, NV
2000  The Body ­ Burning Man Art Festival  Draka the Flaming Metal Dragon as Spirit of "Man,” BR Desert, NV
1999  The Wheel of Time ­ Burning Man Art Festival  Diana: Fertility Goddess as Sundial (installation & performance)  Black Rock Desert, NV
1998  The Whole Enchilada ­ Whole Gallery  San Francisco, CA
1997  Eclectic New Works ­ Studio 402  San Diego, CA
1995  TX2CH: Works on Paper ­ Galerie Tumb  Zurich, Switzerland
1994  Trends in Mutilation ­ ArtSpace curated by Linda Montano; presented by the Artists Coalition of Austin, TX
1993  A Show Without Walls ­ The Artist’s Cooperative of Austin TX
1993  Women and Sexuality ­ The Alternate Current Art Space  Austin, TX
1991  The Mother of All Group Shows ­ Speedway Gallery  Boston, MA
1990  Salon des Refusees ­ Fauve Gallery  Amherst, MA
1990  27:An Exhibition of Twenty-Seven Grant Winners in the Visual Arts ­ Brickbottom Gallery Somerville, MA
1989  Figures and Faces ­ Wortzel Gallery Boston, MA
1988  Transforming the Narrative ­ Ariel Gallery New York, NY

Solo Exhibitions

1992  A Religious Experience  The Trident Booksellers & Cafe, Boston, MA
1992  Works on Paper: 1984 to 1991  The MiddleEast Cafe, Cambridge, MA
1991  The Figure in Motion  DV-8 Gallery at Axis, Boston, MA
1990  Eleven Heads  Somerville Public Library, Somerville, MA
1989  The Figure in Color   Barillari Books, Harvard Square Cambridge, MA

Reviews / Publications

Marquis, N. Albert; Who’sWho in America 60th Diamond Edition, 2006

Vose, Kenneth E; Monster Nation: The Best Transformed Vehicles from Coast to Coast Meredith Books, May 2004, p.116-117 & p.130-131

Doherty, Brian; This is Burning Man: the rise of a new American underground Little, Brown & Co., July 04, p.195

Westbrook, Bruce; “Joy Rides ­ Wheeled Works of Wacky Art” cover story ­ Houston Chronicle Entertainment Guide, May 6, 2004, p.18F

Nigro, Lisa; “Draka, the Flaming Metal Dragon” published in Leonardo Journal — MIT Press, Nov. 5, 2003 Special Issue: The Art of Burning Man, p.351

Pinchbeck, Daniel; “Heat of the Moment: the Art & Culture of Burning Man.” ARTFORUM Nov 2003, p.177

Krueter, Holly; Drama in the Desert: The Sights & Sounds of Burning Man Raised Barn Press, 2003, p.60 & p.138

Marin, Rick; “The Least Likely Burning Man” photo - New York Times Sept 10, 2000, p.1

Pinchbeck, Daniel; “The Fire This Time” mention - Rolling Stone Magazine 11/ 9/00, p.118  

Ranputa, Janaki; “Women Artists in Black Rock: Magical Collaboration.”  Review- Black Rock Gazette The Art Edition, September 3, 1999

Stofer, Judith; “Austin meets Zurich.” Review- Dienstag Zurich, Switzerland 4/11/1995 Nr.71

Grant, William; “Art Goes Almost Anywhere.” Review - ArtSpeak NY, NY Oct 1, 1988 p. 17

* Draka has also appeared in the Reno Gazette Journal and the Nevada State Journal

Grants / Awards

2005  Orange Show Center for Visionary Art Grant  Houston, TX
2004  Orange Show Center for Visionary Art Grant  Houston, TX
2004  Houston Art Car Museum Grant  Houston, TX
2001  Burning Man Art Installation Grant  San Francisco, CA
2000  Burning Man Art Installation Grant  San Francisco, CA
1999  Burning Man Art Installation Grant  San Francisco, CA
1989  Massachusetts Arts Lottery Grant  Somerville, MA
1988  The Basil H. Alkazzi Award in Painting for travel to London  New York, NY

Television 2005  Discovery Channel  Draka and Lisa air on Monster Nation
2004  KPRC-Channel 2 Special: Everyones Art Car Parade, Houston, TX
2003-04  Discovery Channel  Draka and Lisa feature on Backyard Monsters
special segment of Monster Garage

1994  MFA Sculpture  University of Texas at Austin
1990  Artist in Residence  Vermont Studio Center 
1985  BFA Painting  University of Massachusetts, Amherst

Collections 1994  Private Collection Catfish pastel on paper; Daniel Derwelis - Brooklyn, NY
1993  Private Collection Spermaid bronze sculpture, Hole lithograph, and drawings; 
           George McCall Seacrest - Houston, TX
1993  Private Collection The Sword pastel on paper; Lisa Rahon - New Orleans, LA
Internet The Fund for Women Artists    Leonardo Journal    Steel Girl • Burning Man: Art Installation Image Gallery