The Art of Transporting Tools

I’ve been travelling out to events of the outdoor festival persuasion, painting rig in tow, and there I’m paid to paint in various locations – on stages, in demountable galleries, in workshop tents. I can then sell the paintings. It’s getting to the point where I can say I do this professionally… I’ve made it!

It’s also gotten to the point that the question of transportation has become a thing that regularly crosses my mind. I mean, these brushes and canvases and easels are my work tools, and I want to treat them as such. But it’s hard to do that when you have to cram them in alongside a stack of finished canvases for display and somehow not damage these as they roll around untethered in the back of your station wagon.

Enter the idea of trading in the car for a ute with a custom removable service body. Melbourne: perhaps the only place in the country where an artist can drive such a vehicle without being laughed out of town. It really makes a lot of sense, though. I can have drawers with inbuilt adjustable straps to transport works safely, even over the rough terrain I sometimes have to cross to get to these events. I can have holsters for my easels and stool, and even a slide-out section for my camp fridge and stove. This all means I’m free to pack out the remaining space with camping gear without compromising the safety of my tools and equipment.

My husband thinks I’m going a bit far with the whole thing, but what of it? If it’s legit for an electrician to transport their gear in an ute-mounted aluminium tool box, Melbourne, don’t you think it’s fair enough for me to do likewise? I seem to cart just as much gear around, and through some fairly rough off-road conditions at that.

This is my trade, after all. Heading out to the middle of nowhere to paint portraits of trees is just another day’s work for me, and my vehicle should reflect that.