About Us

Origin Story

Art Builds was founded in 2019 by a group of academics at the University of San Diego. We wanted a way to foster the type of interdisciplinary artistic collaboration that emerged from the 2018 sculpture project Unfolding Humanity. That project revealed there was an incredible interest from both our campus and the community to work together on participatory art. Thus Art Builds was born.
unfolding humanity at night
Art Builds cofounders walking in desert
We are a large collective that has involved hundreds of people from multiple countries in our projects over the past few years. Our core team is based in San Diego and together have decades of experience in large format sculpture, design, engineering, lighting, electronics, structural analysis, and more.

Core Team

Gordon Hoople

Gordon Hoople

Gordon, an engineer by training, discovered a passion for sculpture design through About Time and Unfolding Humanity. He provided the artistic vision for About Time and led the team from the conceptual design phase to the final installation. He also got to set it on fire, which was pretty fun.

Diane Hoffoss

Diane, a professor of mathematics, is interested in ways to express mathematical and other ideas in artistic form. She has been involved with several large-scale art installations at Burning Man. Most notably, she was Lead Artist and Project Co-Lead for Unfolding Humanity and was Lighting Artist for The Journey Project.


Max, a software engineer in the entertainment industry, has been exploring the intersections of art and technology for decades. He is always looking for ways to create joy and has been a go-to person for electronics and programming on several large scale projects at Burning Man. He has also created many smaller illuminated, interactive sculptures and wearable items. 
Austin Choi Fitzpatrick

Austin Choi Fitzpatrick

Austin is a writer and professor at the Kroc School of Peace Studies. His work focuses on politics, culture, technology and social change broadly. He is interested in exploring how art can be used to ask big questions.

Rachel Nishimura

Rachel Nishimura

Rachel works on the research and development of novel drugs and is a lifelong dancer. She is interested in using science and art to improve human experience.


Nate, a professor of theater, has been making art for Burning Man for nearly a decade. Integrally involved in both Unfolding Humanity and About Time, he is interested in the ways in which public art can bring people together.

Ginny Gutman

Ginny Gutman

Ginny is a mental health therapist and joined Art Builds during the display of About Time.  She is interested the psychological and emotional impact that art and creativity has on individuals.

Max Mellette

Max develops new technologies for computer networking. He programmed the lighting animations for About Time and is drawn to the technical aspects of making engaging art.