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Jellyfish and Teapot Join 6-Eyed Moon for Fly-Over of Anaheim

October 14, 1987|AMY MEDNICK

Commuters glancing at the sky above Anaheim Tuesday morning might have seen three gigantic forms: a red jellyfish, a half-moon with six eyes and a tongue, and a black teapot.

The "Flying Sculptures" were three hot-air balloons designed by Austrian artist Andre Heller of Vienna and here as part of a 30-city, North American tour.

The balloons took off from the Anaheim Convention Center at 8 a.m., hovered over Disneyland for a while and landed an hour later.

A pilot commanded each balloon, while a seven-member ground crew chased them through the streets of Anaheim and helped them land in three parking lots near Disneyland.

"Heller's idea is to put art in the sky," said Sean Byrne, the project director.

The balloons, he said, "always bring out the childness in people."

The 10-member team had hoped the 120-foot balloons would fly toward Pasadena, but because of poor wind conditions they made it only as far as Disneyland.

"Every time we make a flight, it is controllable but unpredictable," Byrne said.

Heller, 40, produces grandiose art aimed at attracting mass audiences. Most recently, he completed "Luna Luna," a modern art amusement park and open air museum in Hamburg. Heller collaborated with 32 artists, including Roy Lichtenstein, Salvador Dali, David Hockney, Philip Glass and Sonja Delauney.

The hot-air balloon project has toured Europe and is next headed for Houston.

Most of the crew are from England. Gregg Hammond is an Orange County native and has been traveling as a ground crew member since the tour began in August. Hammond, 27, of Lake Forest calls himself an "adventurer" who has flown hot-air balloons for 10 years.

Hammond said the "Flying Sculptures," are the most spectacular hot air balloons he has ever worked with.

"My mom and both my sisters came out, with (Tuesday's) chase, and packed the balloons away," said Hammond. "They thought it was fantastic."

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