Chillin’ by the river

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By now, anyone passing by Glasgow Square will be left with two questions — where is the other half of that Beetle, and why’s that guy always there?

While he looks a right lurker, the unnamed individual and his multipurpose Volkswagen are actually a first of their kind art installation created by local artists Todd Vassallo, who is known for his metal fabrication work, and Carolyn Bedford, known for her sculpting. The piece was unveiled Sunday at the Sale Along the River Artisan Fair, in conjunction with New Glasgow’s Culture Days.

The piece, however, is actually still in an early stage. Bedford revealed that there are plans to incorporate solar power into the piece, which will allow for a USB charger to be installed in the backseat of the halved VW and a panel light on the sculpture’s smartphone. Additionally, the car’s real number plate will be replaced with an acrylic one bearing the name of the project’s first sponsor, Nova Sun Power, which will be supplying the solar apparatus.

While the dual purpose of the car is fairly obvious — it’s both an object to look at and a seat — the sculpture also has a certain duality to it, featuring a youthful mode of dress coupled with a face showing a few more miles than expected. Additionally, Bedford said, the sculpture’s texting stance draws the eye of the young, while the Beetle appeals to an older demographic.

The man and his phone are made out of concrete, Bedford said, and the VW’s seats have been Scotchguarded to stand up to all sorts of weather. She said she’d suggested painting the car a bright yellow or red, however Vassallo reasoned that the dull original paint was a better choice as it would blend in with its surroundings more, while a flashier colour would eventually become “tiresome”.

As for where such an idea comes from, aside from the fact that Vassallo had access to a Beetle to chop, Bedford said it is a tricky thing to explain.

“I can tell you where it happened,” she said, “it happened at the launch of Creative Pictou County which Todd was at. He was wandering around talking to everybody and just got this idea that New Glasgow, with all these creatives in the room, so many artists, yet we don’t know who they are what they’re doing hidden away. Why isn’t some of their artwork out? So he got the idea that we should put a piece up, and with the pads here at the riverfront he went to Jake Chisholm (of Glasgow Square) and Jake loved it.”

From there, Bedford said, the town was approached and the idea received a second round of positive support, all of which culminated in the piece being installed where it is today.

Dignitaries of the day join the sculpted man and mimic his cellular pose.(Cameron photo)

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