Our Tree Begins – Yggdrasil the Hymer Gets Painted
On Monday 26th August Yggdrasil the Hymer motorhome woke up in a lay-by off the A21 to Hastings. (50.992884, 0.478419) It was a decent overnight spot, with a path over the fields, and easy walking access to the little village of Robertsbridge.
I would have loved to explore, but there were two things stopping me this morning.
The first was my cold, which had not been improving any during the night. Unless waking up convinced someone had beaten me all over with a club while I slept is improving. Not to mention the evil goblins who had sandpapered my throat raw, and replaced all my leg muscles with runny jelly.
All those things apart though I practically leapt from the bed in a flurry of eager enthusiasm. Because the second reason for not exploring, was the reason we were in this lay-by in the first place. It was quite handy for the workshop of graffiti artist extrordinaire Luke Brabants. And today was the day that Iggy the Hymer, finally, got painted.
We’d mostly spent the day before lazing around in Ely trying to stay cool in the 32 degrees of heat. I had absolutely no desire to try and fight our way round the M25 on a bank holiday weekend. There was almost bound to be big hold ups and Marley would melt if we got stuck on the motorway in these temperatures.
So instead we commando dived our way to the park, then the river. Dodging from one pool of shade to the next. Stopping only for dog water dishes outside shops and ice cream. There’s always room for ice cream on a hot August Sunday, lazing by the river in Cambridgeshire.
At eight, as the day quietened, we said goodbye to pretty Ely and trundled off for an effortless , and cooler, night drive down to East Sussex.
The forecast had promised today would be a couple of degrees cooler, but I think they might have underestimated a bit. It definitely didn’t feel cooler as we pulled up at Luke’s place and stood in the blistering ten a.m. sun discussing the job ahead.
Luke had very kindly agreed to let me film and take photos while he was working. But he had a lot of preparation work to do before the painting began. His workshop is in a gorgeous rural location, with lots of nice walks, and a pretty village just two miles away. And with a few helpful hints about where to visit he expertly packed us off out of his way so he could get on with it.
So with promises that Luke would let us know when the good stuff was going to start off we set down to the village. It was a beautiful walk, and most of it had decent amounts of shade. But we did seem to keep having conversations about deserts for some reason. That famous scene in Beau Geste where they are all buried up to their necks in the sand kept swimming, like a mirage, before my burning eyes.
Maybe it was just my cold that made it feel like such an epic adventure. Or the sound of Marley panting like a steam train beside me. Or, maybe, it was just really, darn hot!
But there were blackberries galore, and beautiful views, and shade. And at the end of half an hour or so a delightful little village, and sitting under a huge tree with an early lunch from the little post office.
All in all a much better way to spend the morning than baking to death at Luke’s workshop while he did “all the boring stuff”
With a head’s up that he was grabbing a quick lunch then good to go we took Marley for a splash in the lake and headed back over.
This was it. Three years after I first designed my Tree of Life. Since I first had my idea for the Our Tree – Pictorial Diary project. I had found the artist I was looking for. And Yggdrasil was getting Inked!
Luke had prepared a mask for painting by drawing our design freehand on a prepared surface. He then painstakingly cut out the shape of the design. Now, with the rest of the van safely covered, he would begin to paint.
For Luke this took the rest of the day – and honestly, I can’t believe he can create such beautiful work so quickly – but you can see the whole thing happen before your eyes in our time-lapse video. Such a privilege to have the opportunity to watch an artist at work like this.
The Travel Malarkey “Our Tree” project. Fi made a tree of life logo for our van Yggdrasil (The Norse Tree of Life) and in this video graffiti artist Luke Brabants, paints it onto the van.
And so it was done. Three long years of waiting, and the “Our Tree” project was finally begun. As I looked at the beautiful painting it was hard to know how Luke’s interpretation of my design had so perfectly mirrored my feeling of how this would all look. It was, absolutely, perfect.
Now three people had worked on this communal Tree of Life. Myself, with the original concept and design. Friend and Graphic Designer Andy Damiani, who tidied it all up and made it print and internet ready for me.
And now Luke. Street art for the streets. Grafitti in action as we take Yggdrasil on the road and invite the people we connect with to add to our tree of life. Our Tree. Their Tree. Everybody’s Tree.
Now if we can just try and not scratch it as we go find some place to sleep tonight. It sure has been a long day.