Heart Deco (2010, 2011, 2012)
In May of 2010 artist Adam Ebel bought an early-70’s open-top double-decker British bus and brought together a team of engineers, friends, and creatives to build an ambitious mobile art + music installation. With only 8 weeks until their final deadline they got to work transforming this former SF-sightseeing tour bus into something extraordinary. With the guidance of 2010 music lead, Seva – Adam purchased a large loudspeaker system that was adapted to the vehicle. This wasn’t the teams first rodeo doing large-scale experiential art/design projects, but it was certainly the most complex, time-constrained, and challenging project that any of them had taken on. The team set the bar very high for design, materials, safety, and other considerations, and established ambitious design goals to meet their deadline. Throughout the course of these projects they all learned many valuable lessons about what it means to invest themselves fully in the creative process, and what it means for your partners and friends to do the same. The main purpose of Heart Deco was to bring an amplified positive vibe through art and music to everyone that encountered it.
The Phoenix Redesign (2013, 2014)
In 2013 Adam presented a new vision for the project to the team, and they agreed to push the envelope on mobile art and community further by redesigning the project from the ground up. It began with the core build team (Justin Grant, Alex Nolan, and Adam Ebel) in design meetings and planning sessions, defining project milestones, scrutinizing renderings, gathering the necessary equipment, raw materials, tools, and other supplies. Alex and Adam began work on an elaborate “exo-frame” around the vehicle — a network of welded steel rectangle tube from the chassis up (and throughout) the top deck to provide additional support under heavy weight loads and other environmental stress factors. Justin began constructing a massive aluminum & stainless steel Phoenix along with a dozen steel faux-flames. Another area of intense focus was developing a modular assembly on top of the vehicle to attach an array of aesthetic elements. While Adam was focused on building out the faces of the vehicle, and the lighting systems. During this time other members of the team were also working on various fundraising efforts (primarily to fund travel, towing, fuel, and equipment rental expenses for that year). They had also launched a successful crowd-funding campaign and organized numerous live music events to support their funding goals. After many months of planning and construction the new exterior design was complete and it surpassed everyones expectations.
In late-2014 after 5 years of pioneering mobile art, music, and community in the Bay Area and beyond, it was time to take a break and the Phoenix project went into hibernation for 18 months.
In 2016 the Phoenix was resurrected for a single historic event. They teamed up with old friends the Disco Space Shuttle for “Terminus: the last Treasure Island warehouse party”. It was held at the legendary Building 118 (also the facility where the Phoenix redesign happened) which was a historic art + creative facility that was targeted for demolition by the city of San Francisco to make way for redevelopment on the island (aka Condos). The event was a massive success, and one of the bay areas finest parties ever.
In early-2017 the decision was made to sunset the project, and subsequently all of the projects assets were donated to artists and organizations who were identified as worthy recipients. And while the projects adventures had ended, many new and interesting projects have sprouted from former members of Heart Deco & The Phoenix.
Much love & gratitude to everyone that contributed to Heart Deco & The Phoenix over its 5+ years of active service. The list of names is far too long at this point, but extra special thanks is owed to the remarkable individuals that joined us each year (even ones who were only involved for a few months). Any project would be lucky to have had such dedicated, fun, and awesome people… without whom none of these adventures would have been possible.