Planets and stars, vectorial palm trees, shining diamonds, seagulls against a huge cloudless sky, an excessively cute dolphin diving into the hands of a blue princess wearing too much makeup, patterns, lines and “effects”, scary kids and a rather unsettling view of Bauhaus buildings. Welcome to the graphic world of bus painters — or, Welcome Back to the Eighties.
Don’t confuse Taylor Holland with Holland Taylor, the septuagenarian Hollywood actress who played Truman’s mother in The Truman Show and many other forgotten roles in U.S. sitcoms. He is her namesake, a different American, thirty years her junior. A photographer and graphic designer, Holland also dabbles in animation with an atmosphere fairly similar to the fragments we have been given to see: geometric and very colorful.
The Eurobus project started with a bike ride on the Champ de Mars in 2011, when Taylor Holland came across a rainbow-colored bus. A few days later, he could not get this bus, which he was never able to catch, out of his mind. He embarked on a desperate search for it through Paris. “If you see a guy on a bike in Paris about to get run over by a tour bus because he’s too busy taking pictures of it — that’s probably me!”
He collected about a hundred specimens (of which 58 had been published), each one bearing wilder graphics than the the next. “ There is no visual rules for this art form, so those work can land anywhere on a scale that goes from strange to transcendental.
Holland photographs these three-dimensial tableaux criss-crossing the highways of Europe by framing his images. The support is relegated to the background and often only alluded by a piece of tire, a headlight or the outline of a door, to the point where some of these pictures become paintings in their own right.
The fragments help to sum up and inform us about the identity that the driver was trying to put across when they started their tour or journey. The series form lets us navigate through the various movements in graphic art, from the triumph of the polished fresco by a painter who traded his canvass for a wall, to the insanity of digital art when it plays with lines and vectors, collages and gradients. Reading Taylor Holland’s blog, you sometimes wonder if an image belongs to the Eurobus series or another work. Play one of his videos, and it’s as if the patterns started to become animated — psychadelic and hypnotic.
If you type “ fresco” and “chassis” into Google, you’ll come across one of those artists who works with an aerographic tool and a computer. The web sites “Spraydechezvous.com”, “Aerodream.com” or “Aerofantazy.com” offer a good sample of their talents.
“I would love it if some of them would introduce themselves so I could credit them for their work and maybe borrow it for a day to make one of these buses.” Will the artists recognize themselves?