By kind permission, I visited the Glastonbury festival Carhenge storage area to do a bit of painting. Here is where they store the dystopian sculptures, derelict aircraft and vehicles while the festival is not running.
I’m a bit of a fan of engineering so painting derelict cars and aeroplanes are right up my street. Not the conventional view of Somerset.
The site isn’t far up the road as I live in the village of Pilton, where the Glastonbury Festival is held. So, it was a treat just to walk down the lane rather than get in a car and troop halfway across the country.
Mutoid Waste Company and Carhenge
The original idea for Carhenge was by the Mutoid Waste Company way back in 1984, led by the counter-cultural hero, Joe Rush.
The initial concepts sprang out of the Mad Max films and of course Judge Dredd from 2000AD comic. What could be better?
Originally the MWC was a travelling group of artists and performers who held giant installation parties around the UK and Europe.
The installations were made of derelict vehicles, aircraft and machinery to build dystopian sculpture and vehicles. Things quickly grew and in 1990 he managed to get hold of a stolen Russian Mig 21 and a collection of ex-Soviet armoured vehicles enabling him to build in the sculpture garden on Potsdammer Platz, ‘Tankhenge’. Essentially, Stonehenge out of tanks
Since that time the MWC company has kept on moving and growing, and even took a central place in the ceremony of the Summer Paralympics in 2012.
Throughout that time it has always kept in contact with The Glastonbury Festival, where the WMC vehicles are common site at the festival. So common in fact that they have their own storage area.
The challenge for me here was that any view you chose was fantastic. Really the views do it all on their own.
I decided to make a wingless jet my focus. It was very large and very white so I could make use of the sharpening perspective.
I have not painted a aeroplane for many years. I used to work for The Ministry of Defence in my younger days so I would be painting planes all the time. Like boats, they need to be streamlined, so they can be tricky things to paint. They can look ‘odd’ very easily so I made sure I would work up the drawing carefully.
Once the plane was in the rest seemed to drop in quite nicely and I could get rolling in this irregular world of Martian scrap with lowing dairy cows for accompaniment.
I was there most of the afternoon before the low light and cold toes sent me packing. Once back in the studio I tidied it up a bit by getting the car hub caps right and pulling in a few tighter tonal values. Overall, I was happy with it, a real treat to paint.
Glastonbury Festival 2019
In the 2019 festival Joe Rush surpassed himself by building a traditional British seaside pier and have it poking out over the Somerset fields above a sea of tents.
Of course, it was called ‘Glastonbury-on-Sea’ and it was packed with traditional (sort of) entertainments. It was all wonderfully creative, so I took an opportunity to do a watercolour of it in between bands and beer.
Maybe i should do a large oil painting of it one day? I hope I can do it justice.
“A mutoid is like a mongoloid, a schizoid, a paranoid. And our method of life is living in a constant state of evolution”