Nov 19, 2012

No, it's not a compound or a cult. It's for the art!

The time is always NOW unless the time is GO!
—Robert Moss

Venice Beach, CA
It’s a new era! Beginning on December 18th 2012 Jana and I have been invited to live off grid on a 80+ acre solar powered ranch in an area 30 miles Northeast of Flagstaff, AZ. The ranch has been used for everything from a Burning Man Decompression site, a host to Tibetan monks, Hawaiian shamans, Djs, spiritual retreaters, sweat lodge meetings, woman's retreats, and other gatherings related to expanding human consciousness. 

Seems like a good time to start a blog...

Our friends that own the ranch founded a school called the STAR school about 12 yrs ago and it is the only off grid solar powered charter school in the country. It is a school for K-8 graders that focuses on the public school curriculum as well as Navajo culture and traditions, peacemaking and off grid sustainability. STAR School is expanding, winning awards and grants, and taking up most their time so they moved into another solar powered house closer to the school. They realized that they needed someone "exactly like us" to live on and and take care of the ranch. Again, it's just going to be us two living there and we will host work parties and events (not a cult). Our immediate goals—aside from making it our home—are to revitalize and continue the owner's vision for the ranch and discover new ways to facilitate creative events, concepts and happenings in accordance with its mission.

A few months ago at a Burning Man related event on the property I really felt a strong connection with the land and all of our friends that live up there. One day while I was out walking with one of the dogs crunching over black volcanic gravel and small scrub brush I wondered if I could rent out the ranch house and art studio to use it as my own "artist in residency" space. It seemed like a good time to get away from the hustle of LA for a bit.  I never had the chance to ask them.

The owners had us in mind at the same time I had them in mind—for the same thing! It is time for a new rugged adventure in Northern Arizona.

At the ranch there are 2 houses on the property as well as a barn, a hogan, an amphitheater, a sweat lodge, a straw bale structure called the Gnome dome and a lot of vast open space. We will be surrounded by breath taking views of the painted desert and mesas on the Navajo reservation. Our closest neighbor is  James Turrell's Roden Crater project. There is an unobstructed show of a gizzillion stars at night. There is more space outside to build giant art and gather folks to do it than you can shake a tumble weed at. I have missed sharing my life with dogs and there are two ranch dogs—Daisy and Duke that love to go on long hikes with us. There is even a crazy studio kitty named Jack that lives in the straw bale structure that sometimes "hugs" peoples legs.

We have much appreciation and gratitude for the opportunity to be able to uproot and start a new chapter in our lives. Not many people have this kind of flexibility and I would like to thank our friends and family that have shown Jana and I support in all of our wacky endeavors over the years. On that note I am also very fortunate to have Jana in my life as my partner in mischief and magic. Thanks Jana, I love you.

I intend to start this blog sharing my experiences while living off grid out in the Northern Arizona tundra. There will be stories and observations from my travel adventures, art events, museum projects, and "spiritual" explorations. ...and of course highlighting the general absurdity of it all as I go. 

I will book end this first entry with yet another one of my favorite quotes:  

There are times when we can feel destiny close around us like a fist around a doorknob. Sure, we can resist. But a knob that won’t turn, a door that sticks and never budges, is a nuisance to the gods. The gods may kick in the jamb. Worse, they may walk away in disgust, leaving us to hang dumbly from our tight hinges, deprived of any other chance in life to swing open into unnecessary risk and thus into enchantment. —Tom Robbins, Fierce Invalids Home from Hot Climates.

Satellite view of the ranch. The house is at the top with the blue
roof. Below that is a straw bale structure built around a bus that will 
be the art studio.  Across the road is the barn and the hippie bus. 
Further below is the Alex Grey Dome and the Gnome Dome. All the 
way at the bottom at the end of the road is a traditional Navajo hogan.


  1. Can't wait to hear more! What a great opportunity!

    1. Thanks! I'm having fun with the idea of posting some of my journal entries and musings here. So stay tuned!

  2. Replies
    1. Thanks mang! Good to re-connect the other night. Its been too long.

  3. I have goosebumps after reading this. I'm so excited for you guys. I love this quote, it is a perfect reminder. I hope to help you cook up some magical dreaming out there one day. It sounds like heaven. can hardly wait for pictures!

  4. Is this Cynthia? The Kitchen will be ready for your help cooking up dreams and your moms curry. Jana and I are slobbering for another round!

  5. Congrats on the big opportunity Bill. Should be an amazing experience. Glad we got to hang out the other night. I'm looking forward to more posts and more photos. All the best my friend!