Burton Machen




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Permanence does not exist. The only thing that is permanent is evolution. As things evolve, some of the elements remain, some are altered and some disappear, leaving only a hint of what used to be. In urban settings this evolution creates a collage by many artists, unknowingly. Both artists and elements work independently, yet collaboratively they create a work of art. This work of art will never be complete; it is always perfect in its constant state of evolution. 

About The Artist...

Burton Machen is an American conceptual, mixed media artist with a focus on photography, street art, painting, and collage. He was born in Ashville, Alabama, USA, in 1970 and has lived in Los Angeles, New York, Washington DC, New Orleans, Atlanta and Rio de Janeiro. Burton has been photographing street art and urban decay for more than two decades. He believes that street art is a powerful form of expression that has the ability to influence our thoughts and attitudes, often without our knowledge. Burton is drawn in by the collage-like effect that occurs when artists and elements work together in urban settings, and draws much inspiration for his painting and collage work from what he absorbs on the street. In 1987, Burton was a 17-year-old New York transplant, the lower east side of Manhattan was his stomping ground, and he spent much of his time getting to know the streets of the city. This was long before the gentrification of lower Manhattan had begun, so the neighborhood was filled with abandoned buildings that were covered with postings and graffiti, which blended together creating a collage that fascinated him. It wasn’t until 10 years later that Burton began to photograph this evolutionary process. The fascination started in NewYork but the documentation and photography began with a deserted building in the French Quarter of New Orleans, Louisiana. Studying the photographs, it occurred to Machen that many people had created these works of art - all or most of whom were unaware of their participation in this collaborative effort. It is this process of “artists” creating unconsciously thatdraws Machen in. Most of his ‘Urban Evolution’ series originated inNew York, which remains Burton’s sentimental first love. From this series Burton developed the ‘Portraits Project’. With ‘Portraits Project’ Burton invites the world in by posting portraits in cities like New York, Los Angeles, San Francisco, New Orleans, London, and Berlin, and observes the reactions that they incite. He documents the evolution, which includes other street artists, taggers, time, weather, and passersby, until he has a FINAL image. In addition to photographic prints, Burton also creates unique mixed media works and collage both by embellishing elements that were added to his portraits on the street with Diamond Dust, polyester glitter, and acrylic and enamel paints, and by creating unique mixed media photo collage and paintings in his studio. Machen still draws much of his inspiration for his studio works from images that he has shot on the street and imagery that has made its way permanently into his memory.

Machen’s work has been shown worldwide in cities including New York, Los Angeles, Atlanta, Miami, London, Berlin, and Singapore.

These days Burton still explores the streets of various cities while admiring the many works of art that the cities and their inhabitants have created. Machen thoughtfully observes it is a reflection on “…the effect we have on the world.”  


Burton Machen

1970 Born Ashville, Alabama
Lives and works on the Gulf Coast of Alabama and in Norwalk, Connecticut

Upcoming Exhibitions

2024 February, Installation and Exhibit Berlin Film Festival, Berlin Germany


2021 Billboard Campaign Why Not Choose Love, Los Angeles, CA

2019 “Humanizing the Icon” 58th Venice Biennale, Venice Italy

2019 Hollywood Women’s Film Institute Film Festival, Ace Hotel, United Artists Theater,  Los Angeles, CA June 2019

2016 Rise Art “Beyond Realms” with Geraldine Neuwirth and Danielle Frankenthal October The WNDO, Venice California

2015 “Untitled” Art Fair Hionas Gallery, Art Basel Miami2014 Heaven and Earth, Impakto Gallery, Lima Peru, May

2014 Look At Me, Leila Heller Gallery, Chelsea NYC May-August

2014 The Fabergé BigEgg Hunt, NYC, April 

2013 Crossing The Lines... Hionas Gallery NYC

2013 Installation and Solo show at Le Baron for the Cannes Film Festival

2013 installation piece for Berlin Film Festival in support of the motion picture BILLY BATES Berlin, Germany

2012 Hunter S. Thompson PORTRAITS PROECT Vast Art Space , Las Vegas, NV

2012 "Bad For You" curated by Beth Rudin DeWoody, Shizaru Gallery, Mayfair, London

2012 "The Venice Beach Biennial", Produced in conjunction with "Made in LA", The HammerMuseum, Los Angeles, CA
2012 Hionas Gallery, "One Year" July 12-Sept 8, 2012

2012 The Whitney Spring Art Party, June 6th, New York, NY

2012 Hionas Gallery, PORTRAITS PROJECT, April 19th – May 19th New York, NY

2012 In the event of Andy Warhol, Olin Gallery, Roanoke Collage and The StaniarGallery, Washington and Lee University

2012 Art Stage, Group show with the Gao Brothers, Vue Prive, Singapore

2011 Vue Privée, Portraits Project, Singapore

2011 The Whitney “Groundbreakers” Art Party May 24th, New York, NY

2011 Vue Privée, PortraitsProject, Singapore

2011 The Whitney“Groundbreakers” Art Party May 24th, New York, NY

2010/2011 Royal/T, “The Warholian” Curated byEric Shinner the Director of The Warhol Museum

Steven Kasher Gallery, “Inspired” Curated by Beth Rudin DeWoodyThe Whitney Art Party, June 9, New York

2010 Tomas Maier, Miami , Fl, ‘Portraits Project’
“Think Pink” Gavlak Gallery, West Palm Beach, FL, curated byBeth Rudin DeWoody

2010 ‘The New Old’, Invisible-Exports, New York, NY

2009 ‘Urban Evolution’ Artioli Findlay, in association with David Findlay Gallery, New

York, NY, curated by Alan Siegel

Third Biennial Photography Auction, Norton Museum of Art, West Palm Beach, FLCurator of Photography: William and Sarah Ross Soter

‘Unframed’ ACRIA Benefit Auction, 15 Union Square, New York, NY Curator:Jane Holzer and Stephen Heighton

‘Surf, Sea and Sun’ Clic Gallery, New York, NY

White Box 10th Anniversary Benefit Auction, 329 Broome Street, New York NY

2009 LAXART, 2640 S. La Cienega, Los Angeles, CA2008

2008 ‘Xrds’ Track 16 Gallery, Bergamot Station, Santa Monica, CA2007

2007 “Voyages and Meditations” Soho Myriad, Atlanta, GA

Projects and Collaborations

2013 Davidoff Cigars 

2012 Hunter S. Thompson Estate, San Francisco, CA

2011 Collaboration with Skylight Projects, New York, NY

2010/2011 Collaboration with Shepard Fairey’s “Obey” Clothing created 5 original worksof art to be used for Obey’s Artist Series T-Shirt


Wired Living Home, by Architect Ray Kappe. Images from Machen’s “Urban Evolution”series were chosen to be featured throughout the home.

‘The Great House’ sponsored by Veranda Magazine. ‘The Great House’ opened to the

public for viewing. Joe Lucas, owner of Harbinger LA and one of the designers chosenby Veranda Magazine to design a room for ‘The Great House’ chose Burton Machen’s‘Urban Evolution New Orleans’ series for his room.


Beth Rudin DeWoody, Ed Ruscha, Ritz Carlton Corporate Collection, Alan Siegel , Fred and Nancy Poses,  Jack Cohen, John G Inch, USC Collection, Chris Rock


Burton Machen has been commissioned by various private collectors to do portraits as part of his series ‘Portraits Project’ 

Using Format