The last thing you probably think about when you see a filthy van or lorry is that it has the potential for something artistic, but Robert Burden, a 38-year old bus driver from East London, sees a dirty vehicle as his canvas.
The guerrilla artist draws likenesses of rock stars and film stars or characters onto the sides of unwashed commercial vans, lorries or trucks that he finds around parked in his local area using a pencil wrapped in tissue. He uses this technique to ensure that there is no damage to the paintwork left behind after he has finished.
His previous work has featured pictures of Bob Dylan, Clint Eastwood, Cary Grant and James Dean. Burden has even provided his dirty works of art as presents, starting from about £70.
“People are often truly moved”, said Burden, who has had a very positive reaction from the vehicle owners and public in general.
“It’s making art out of dirt – something that’s usually seen as bad. These drawings are urban expressions from living and working in London.”
Here at Vardens we might be in the business of cleaning dirty commercial vehicles until they look as good as new, but we have to say even we think that these portraits are absolutely fantastic. We certainly think it is several steps up from the typical ‘Clean me’ jokes that you’d usually find on the back of the Capital’s dirtiest commercial vehicles.
His work is reminiscent of guerrilla artist Banksy who is known for creating artwork on all kinds of urban areas and bringing something creative to an otherwise unattractive space.
As well as these grimy portraits, Robert Burden also creates more traditional forms of art and paintings, as well as wedding photography. To find out more about him, check out his website at robertburden.co.uk.