Armageddon Beach Party

In a society that is obsessed with the end of the world, we are reminded that we are but passing tourists in this experience called life. When traveling as a tourist, one should make the most of their experience with the limited time they have. Armageddon Beachparty reminds us to embrace every moment, a name that represents the epic celebration at the end of the world. “If the world’s going to end, why not enjoy ourselves, and if it doesn’t, why not live life like it is?” co-creator Elena Smith explains the concept behind their artistic brand while sitting next to her collaborative partner, Aubrey, in their newly opened brick and mortar store of the same name. 

Nearly everything in Armageddon Beachparty is designed by the duo, each piece created as a full collaboration. The store includes a small stage for events, various collectible vintage items such as comic books, and a plethora of clothing and accessories printed with their painted designs. Their new store is meant to be a hub to connect the inner-city and subcultures of Detroit. All people and backgrounds, all forms of expression are welcome in this very personal and expressive multi-purpose art shop and venue.

Aubrey and Elena are living an arts-fueled love story that has been layered with synchronicities along the way. People refer to them as “one soul with two bodies.” This power-duo in Detroit has been together for ten years, creating collaboratively as self-employed artists for the last six. The most interesting proof of their cosmic connection came when they discovered matching birthmarks on their opposite hips, a symbol of their singular soul parting at birth.

These two self-made party professionals have built a micro-empire of artmaking and immersive event production that has progressed through their abilities to build community, brand their ideas and launch creative ventures with a marketing mindset. They were among the early members of the Recycle Here Recycling Center and contributed to the development of the adjacent Lincoln Street Art Park, formerly an abandoned lot near the train tracks where people would dump their trash. After converting the lot into a sculpture and mural garden, Aubrey and Elena co-produced festivals in the park with their friends at Botanical Fortress, focusing their efforts to curating immersive environments through large-scale installations. The events were free to attend and they built everything with materials from the recycling center. The festivals continued for four years until they became too large for the small park. This opportunity for free creative expression built the foundation for amazing things to come.

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Produced as a graduate applied project by Malena Grosz, MFA, Arizona State University 

Intro music: “Moonlight Bounce” by Daniel T (with permission for use)

Podcasts edited by Corbin Garcia

Special thanks to Herberger Institute for Design and the Arts at Arizona State University for grant-funded support of this project. Immense gratitude to my applied project committee for their guidance: Dr. Daniel Bernard Roumain, Dr. Rachel Bowditch, and Dr. Steven Tepper.