A Steel and Found Object Sculpture with Flame Effects and Interactive Component

phoenix rising 1


About the Project

As a Burning Man Honorarium recipient, Lisa designed, created and presented this amazing work of art at the counter-culture festival Summer of 2019. Phoenix Rising is a propane fueled fire sculpture made of steel, found objects, and repurposed 55gal steel drums. This magnificent bird stands 12 feet tall and contains a flamethrower in its mouth similar to that of fire-breathing Draka the Dragon. We, as they say, passed the torch from the dragon to the phoenix in good old mythological fashion. It creates the illusion of the mythical bird, and is a hybrid between a rooster and a peacock. A flame effects system was also installed along its wings and tail, so that visually it appears to be a bird about to take flight and is literally on fire!

phoenix fire


While on exhibition, particpants partake in the experience of feeling the rush of their own heartbeat through the fire of the Phoenix. A pulse sensor placed on one's finger detects the heart beat and remotely triggers a signal to the sculpture’s flame effects system causing the flames of the Phoenix to pulse in unison with the beat of the participant’s heart. Designed exclusively for the Phoenix by Scott Gasparian, aka Gaspo.

phoenix night glo

The Inspiration

Based on our need as humans to shed our skin, destroy what is old, and regenerate through the mythos of the Phoenix Rising from it’s own ashes to reemerge anew... Historically, “Feng Huang” are mythological birds of East Asia that reign over all other birds. The males are called Feng and the females Huang. In modern times, however, such a distinction of gender is often no longer made and they are blurred into a single feminine entity so that the bird can be paired with the Chinese dragon, which is deemed male.

Dedicated to...

Loved ones who perhaps passed "before their time" due to illness or suicide... And especially to those we've lost within the Burning Man Art & DPW Communities. Their lives had an impact on ours, we hope they are here in spirit with us as this Phoenix Rises... to be born anew.

Special Thanks to my Crew Members
FROM the RUST TO the DUST! We got her done... San Antonio > Doyle, CA > Black Rock City

GaspoIsaac Favela, Vanessa Colon, Patti Hinkley, Dustin Gann, Jonathan Clingman, LT Mustardseed, Ktoe, Moons, and Chris Nigro. 


Phoenix Sketch Wing fromAbove Phoenix WIP Playa sm

Lisa welding the Phoenix head; Isaac on top; Bird Head in the air on playa, Black Rock City, NV August 2019.

Phoenix WIP DoyleCA sm

LT Mustardseed & Lisa; ; Examining midsection of the Bird; Isaac Favela welding the Bird Legs at our outdoor workspace in Doyle, CA Summer 2019. 

Phoenix WIP MissionRd sm

Lisa and Isaac Favela with Phoenix body; Phoenix Hanging; Emari cutting feathers at Mission Road Workshop, San Antonio Spring 2019.

Luis Lisa Van comp
Luis Rojas & Lisa working on wing design; Vanessa Colon at work; Lisa & Luis with wing panels at 10bitworks Maker Space, San Antonio winter 2018. 

Phoenix Rising also received partial funding for this project from FreezerBurn Texas in 2018. This Phoenix literally rose from the rust created in 2014 for Apogaea Festival and re-emerged in 2018 to fly in the dust of the Black Rock Desert in 2019.