Stronghold Production Artists

Chris Airola

Chris is the CTO and co-founder of Red Llama, Inc. He co-developed the business plan and financing strategies. He also initiated and released Red Llama's SimPraxisŞ interactive software platform for interactive medical simulation and training. He co-conceptualized and managed the technology projects for The Machine, a Burning Man 2005 project, and is a founding member of Stronghold Productions 501c3. He was CTO and co-founder of Static Factory Media, and artist development organization that owned and operated a record label, performance venue, graphic design house, recording studio, and web development and hosting business. He constructed Static Factory's network and technology infrastructure from the ground up. Chris worked as a Research Engineer at the University of Washington's Human Interface Technology Lab (HITLab). He developed and managed numerous projects, including surgery simulators, wearable computing, driving simulators, interactive home networks, and interactive 8 channel audio systems. He has a BS in Biomedical Engineering from Marquette University, where he specialized in simulation and human body kinematics. He has exhibited his multi-modal collaborative art installations at the Whitney Museum of American Art, the Bellevue Arts Museum, Burning Man, Cornish College of the Arts, and the University of Washington. He has been participating, fire performing, and building large scale installations at Burning Man since 1998.

Nils Christian

Nils graduated from the United World College of the Adriatic in 1988 with a degree in biology and the University of Washington in 1992 in anthropology. His career in construction began after a few mindless office jobs. From 1993-1997 we worked as the lead framer for Kajumolo, building homes around the greater Seattle area. As facilities manager of the Chihuly Inc. mock-up studio and manager of resource allocation and employee-streaming from 1997-2002, he supervised national and international installations of glass art from the Victoria and Albert Museum London, the Cerritos Library in Los Angeles, the Salt lake City Olympics, Mohegan Sun, Jerusalem Wall of Ice, to the Bellagio Hotel and Casino in Las Vegas. From 2001-2003 he was part of the Illumination Village at Burning Man and designer-builder of the "flaming spar" sculpture series. Nils is currently an owner in LARSNILS, LLC a property holding and management company and a partner in SILA, a remodeling, house building, and restoration company. For the last eight years, he has served as the capital improvements lead builder at the Oregon Country Fairgrounds.

Simon Clark

Simon Clark, freelance event pr oduction manager and stage desig ner, has been working in the field for nearly twenty years. He was the production manager for Bl ack Rock Arts Foundation from 2004 to 2006 and Burning Man's event construction manager for eight event years, from 1999 to 2006.

Steve Cochoran

Work in progressÉ

Matt Conlon

Matt Conlon has been a burner since 2000.  Since that time he has been involved with several theme camps including The Emerald Rainforest, The Deep Blue Sea Ballroom and Flight To Mars.  He also helped found and organize many incarnations of Arson Island Resort.  He has also been on the crew of on-playa art installations ZeArc (2002), Gyrosphere (2003), and the Machine (2005).  He is a former member of DPW, and has volunteered on-playa for greeters and the cafe.  At home in Seattle, he has worked extensively with the local burner community.  Most recently he has taken the role of Seattle's co-regional contact for Burning Man.

Chris D'Annunzio

Chris received his BS in Computing and Software Systems from the University of Washington in 2004 and has been developing software professionally for the past 8 years. Outside of work, his interests include electronics and working with his hands.  His interest in the Division project stems largely from his desire to break out of the purely technical realm of software development and help create a piece of art.

Ian Page-Echols

Ian is the sole proprietor of V8 Media, LLC a company providing performance visuals for events, multimedia installations, and technical support for several local companies. He received a Bachelors degree in Design from the University of Colorado at Boulder in the School of Environmental Design in 2000. Ian worked on the CEREN digital architecture project in the school's Sundance Lab for Computing in Design and Planning. While still in school he also worked at Digital Creators, a local training and education web site company. He found himself captivated, and quickly mastered design applications and the computer in general. Now after being in the digital realm for ten solid years, he is yearning to mix his technical experience with his love of the physical and his original intention of being an architect.  Stronghold Productions provides Ian with this outlet. In addition, he is currently creating controller devices for visuals and learning a bit of programming through transforming the DSMidiWifi demo program for the Nintendo DS into an in-depth touch screen system that will control MIDI-capable programs. He also loves a nice cranberry Wensleydale from time to time.

Randy Engstrom

Randy Engstrom has been a passionate advocate and organizer for the arts and community development for over ten years. He is the Founding Director of the Youngstown Cultural Arts Center, a multidisciplinary facility that offers youth and community members access to arts, technology, and cultural resources. He currently chairs the Seattle Arts CommissionŐs Facilities and Economic Development Committee. Prior to his work at Youngstown, Randy spent three years as the Founding CEO of Static Factory Media, an artist development organization that owned and operated a record label, bar and performance venue, graphic design house, recording studio, and web development business.  Randy has also served as the Program Coordinator of the Fremont Unconventional Center, a non-profit organization dedicated to helping other charitable organizations with their fundraising efforts through special event facilitation and support. He is a founding member of Stronghold LLC, which builds "fortresses" for the arts community through the acquisition of property and sits on the Board of Directors of Stronghold Productions. Randy is a graduate of the Evergreen State College in Olympia, WA and grew up just outside of Chicago, IL.

Tom E. Hall

Tom E. Hall received his BFA in Painting from the State University of New York at New Paltz in 1997. His interest in architectural structures was inspired by the curious beauty and confusing role of obsolete and dilapidated factories where he grew up in the Binghamton region of New York. Since moving to Seattle in 1998, he has been developing artwork dealing with engineered landscape. His work has been featured in many group exhibitions throughout the Pacific Northwest. Tom was awarded a GAP grant from Artist Trust in 2001 and again in 2004, some of his work is in City of SeattleŐs permanent collection.

Jordan Howland

Jordan Howland is dedicated to enriching peopleŐs lives by facilitating the production and distribution of art. She is committed to building strong coalitions between city agencies, arts organizations, community groups, and individual artists. For the last ten years she has worked as an arts administrator, independent curator, and with arts organizations including the Center on Contemporary Art (CoCA), the Henry Art Gallery, the Microsoft Art Collection, the Capitol Hill Arts Center, Static Factory Media, and Sand Point Arts and Cultural Exchange. Currently, she is the Operations Director for the Youngstown Cultural Arts Center. She is a founding member of Stronghold Productions and of Stronghold LLC, which builds "fortresses" for the arts community through the acquisition of property. She also sits on the advisory boards of the Bumbershoot festival and PSKS, a homeless youth advocacy organization. Jordan graduated from the Evergreen State College with a degree in Arts Administration and Community Development. She has been continuously attending Burning Man since 1998.

Denise Jolly

Denise Jolly is a writer, performer, community builder, educator, and student. She is the host and co-facilitator of the Seattle Poetry Slam. She is a Board Member of Eleventh Hour Productions and is actively involved the Seattle literary arts and spoken word community. She facilitates writing workshops for youth and adults and is the co-creator of Emerging Voices, a youth education program. She has been involved with Stronghold Productions since 2005 when she assisted in fundraising efforts, fabrication, audio production, live performance, and team building for the Machine project.

Chuck Kralovich

Chuck Kralovich received a BS in Mechanical Engineering from the Rochester Institute of Technology in 1996. He has worked in the field for ten years, designing automotive timing systems and food and drug manufacturing machinery. He is currently a teacher and project manager. He worked on the Machine project for Burning Man 2005, where he focused on the mechanical design, systems design, project management, scheduling, and finance. His interest in Burning Man is centered on art that requires interaction.

Jeff Larson

Jeff Larson, artist, graphic designer, mentor, and teacher, was born in Seattle, WA and has been making art since before he can remember. He received a BFA in Graphic Design from Michigan State University and now serves as the Art Director for the Division project and for Flight to Mars, of which he is a founding member. Jeff is obsessed with all things Science Fiction (even the bad stuff) and is currently working on a series of robot portraits incorporating collage and illustration. He can also recite the alphabet backwards.

Sara J. McChristian

Sara has extensive experience in event and facility management, project coordination, and theatrical production. This includes organizational and technical management for meetings, conventions and tradeshows, concerts, and festivals, as well as vendor relations and large-scale market management. She is currently the Technical Director at the Youngstown Cultural Arts Center as well as the Technical Director for Burning ManŐs Center Camp CafŽ and produces events for a variety of corporate and non-profit clients. For the last twenty years, she has worked in both the fine and performing arts. Originally a double art major in ceramics and theatrical lighting design, Sara left the University of Montana to pursue sound, lighting and video professionally. As a member of I.A.T.S.E. Local #15, the stagehands union, she worked on large-scale music tours, opera, Broadway touring productions, and industrial trade shows. Later, she returned to school to study goldsmithing, jewelry design and welding. After a brief stint as a professional jeweler and instructor, she went out on the road as a production manager before going back to school for alternative medicine. She holds a Bachelor of Arts degree from The Evergreen State College in Olympia, WA. 2007 will be her eighth burn.

Chris McMullen

Originally from Reno, Nevada, Chris moved to Seattle in 1999 with a background in Graphic Communication. A fascination with industrial processes has led him to produce a body of work consisting of kinetic sculpture and machine-like pieces. His art has been exhibited in Washington, Nevada and Texas since 2000. In 2005, he designed and fabricated the drive train for the Machine. Chris makes a living as a designer and fabricator of custom metal work, both artistic and architectural. His work can be found online at

Michele McMullen

Work in progressÉ

Christopher Pfeifle

Christopher Pfeifle was born and raised on the east end of Long Island, New York. He moved up state for four years of schooling and earned a B.F.A in commercial illustration and an A.A.S. in graphic design from the Rochester Institute of Technology. A year after graduation Christopher moved to Seattle, Washington and started painting out of his studio in Georgetown. There he developed his techniques for painting oils and inks on glass; a series that quickly gained attention and has been shown throughout Seattle. Christopher has broadened his artistic expression into sculpture and has been recently recognized as an integral contributor for The Machine project, a large scale kinetic sculpture that earned national and international recognition as a benchmark in sculpture and was featured, among other publications, on the front page of the Seattle Times. When not painting and sculpting Christopher spends his time surfing and exploring the remote coastline of Washington State.

Leslie Rosen

What's not to love about belly dancing with fire? Leslie combines over ten years of belly dance training with fire performance to create a fusion that is sensual, powerful and beautiful. Her dance is inspired by the images and archetypes of Eastern religion as well as Middle Eastern and Classical Indian dance. After completing a BA in Medical Anthropology with a minor in Ceramics at UMass Amherst, she hit the road teaching, studying and traveling in Southeast Asia and the Far East. It took three action packed years to finish that part of life's adventure. A proud native of the great state of Maine, she will be making her home here in Seattle until the circus comes to town. In addition to solo performances she can also be seen with her belly dance troupe Raqs Serpentine, fire performance troupe Pyrosutra and the stilt-walking fire troupe Birds of Paradise.

Jole Sack

Work in progressÉ

Rebecca Sherr

Rebecca Sherr became INTIMAN Theatre's General Manager in 2004. Prior to her promotion, she worked at the INTIMAN for five years in a variety of capacities including Associate Managing Director. She has also been the Managing Director of the Freehold Studio/Theatre Lab, the Associate Program Officer for the New York Foundation, and was affiliated with the Seattle Opera for five seasons. Preceding her thirteen year career in arts management, Rebecca was an actor and dancer. She received her BA in Theatre from the University of Kansas, and serves on their Professional Advisory Board. She is an alumna of the 2006 class of Leadership Tomorrow. She holds a special interest in organizational planning and arts advocacy, both in her work at INTIMAN and as a volunteer in the community. Rebecca currently serves on the Stronghold Productions Board of Directors. 

Damian Sieradski
Damian was born and raised in the Pacific Northwest and regards the region as a particularly dynamic and energetic location. Damian received a BFA from Cornish College of the arts in 2002. Since graduation he has exhibited his work in many Seattle area galleries. He also works as a carpenter and construction foreman for a high-end residential building company. He regards regular meditative practice as a helpful tool for maintaining focus and balance. DamianŐs ultimate goal is to blend all of his major interests, skill, and ideas at which time his real 'mission' or 'life's work' will make itself apparent.

Jeremiah Steinhebel

Jeremiah Steinhebel, known as ŇJÓ to his friends, has been active in artistic communities and new business ventures for over seven years. In 2000, he started and managed The CafŽ in Portland, OR, a co-operative coffee shop and eatery. In 2002, he moved to Seattle to open Uncommon Scents, a custom fragrance design boutique in the Capitol Hill district. Two years later, he closed the shop and re-entered the technical consultant world, joining an internal Boeing team that supervised and supported a worldwide Voice Over IP (VoIP) implementation. His involvement in the Seattle arts community began when he volunteered his time and business expertise to the Capitol Hill Arts Center (CHAC). He co-managed the first event at the CHAC in 2002, and he continues to support and volunteer there today. During his first trip to Burning Man in 2004, he met a group of like-minded people that later became the core team for the Machine project. In 2005, he worked with the team to design, build, and fundraise for the sculpture. Jeremiah currently serves on the Stronghold Productions Board of Directors. His interests outside of business and art ventures include world travel. He has journeyed extensively throughout Morocco, Western Europe, and North America.

Gabriel J. Stern

Gabriel J. Stern graduated from Rochester Institute of Technology in 1997 with a BFA in Interior design and an AAS in Industrial Design. In 2000, he started Issue Design Build, a design and general contracting company. He has since built residential and commercial spaces along the West Coast. He is also owner of All City Coffee Company LLC, a retail beverage company that provides high quality products, service, and environments. Both businesses were founded in Seattle's Georgetown neighborhood and have fostered community interaction and helped to spawn the areaŐs revitalization. All City Coffee also has a second location in SeattleŐs historic Pioneer Square. Gabriel is a member of the Georgetown MerchantŐs Association and sits on the steering committee for the Airport Way Visioning Project. In 2002, he joined seven others in starting Stronghold LLC which builds "fortresses" for the arts community through the acquisition of property and encourages ownership of live/work space by artists. He helped to found Stronghold Productions, a multidisciplinary nonprofit arts organization and contributed to the Machine project in 2005 with his vast array of resources, construction and design skills, interests in community building, successful business operations, systems design and execution, and passion for the arts and free expression.

Mark Tomkiewicz (buphalo)

With a formal education in Environmental Sciences, Mark has been teaching math, science, art, and English in the US and abroad for eight years. He also creates sound and kinetic sculpture as well as large-scale collaborative public art. Using the concepts of temporary art, functionality, and recycled/found materials, he teaches after school studio art programs in Seattle. His projects often have organic shapes or carry themes focused on the natural world. His collaborative project, Fire Pod, was a funded by Burning Man in 2005, and has since been exhibited at the Bumbershoot festival. He has been an active member of DPW for two years and Flight 2 Mars for four years. He joined Stronghold Productions in 2006.

Duane Warner

Work in ProgressÉ

Steve Withycombe

Steven Withycombe is currently owner and proprietor of Swithyco Furniture, a design build firm specializing in high-end furniture and cabinetry. He has been studying and working in the field for ten years. In 2002, He became a member of All City Coffee Company LLC, an independent coffee shop in Seattle, WA with two locations. Prior to his business ventures, he worked with renowned furniture artists Alphonse Mattia and Stewart Wurtz, where he assisted in the fabrication of woodworking designs. Since his graduation from the Rochester Institute of Technology and the Rhode Island School of Design, he has participated in many group art shows and assisted in the design and fabrication of local Seattle cafes and bars.

Thomas York

Work in progressÉ