What is it about the Volkswagen bus? Somehow it always creeps into my paintings. It is a beautiful shape, can take on any color, and carries meanings of many kinds. There are the generic metaphors: travellor, adventurer, hippie, bohemian and of course peace lover. To me the VW bus is also a memory of my childhood. After my dad taught in Spain for a semester, he travelled to Germany to buy a VW bus for our family. We travelled around Europe for a summer and then brought it back to Utah. It was our family car for several years, even when we had to start pushing it for a clutch start. My most vivid images, however, are our travels through Europe. They are some of the earliest memories of my life and have remained with me for so long because they are fused with the impressions made by travel and new places.
For example, I remember when my dad's friend Trevor caught his wool coat in the sliding door. He was stuck there for a very long time. Eventually the only remedy was to cut the coat. I had always admired that dark green wool coat, so it was very traumatic for me to see a chunk of it cut away so coarsely.
I also remember the games we played, long before car seats were required for children. We would sit on top of the back seat and wait for bumps to topple us over. Or when the middle seat was removed, we'd see who could stand up for the longest as the bus was driving around.
I loved the VW bus just as much then as I do now. It's a beautiful creature that can find its way into any painting. If they can't bury me with a viking boat, then I'd be just as happy to travel into the afterlife with a vw bus.