Feature House: The Dreamliner Arts Club – No Roadside Assistance Required

The Talbot Dreamliner Vogue:  icon of the camper van world.  At home in cozy campsites in forests or along hillsides, or traversing the country side or sitting happily at a festival or by the seaside.  And now – a new page can be added to the history of this giant of vacation lore:  art gallery on wheels and home to the Dreamliner Arts Club during the Artists Open Houses Festival this May.

The Dreamliner Arts Club takes its name from the van and is comprised of an innovative group of artists including:  Tasha Island, Planet Slimeball, Frances Ibbotson, Jess Dadds, Lauren Halsall, Marianthi Aldridge, Monx the Cat, Nicky Walker, Eloise Walker and Jose Inglesias.

The idea to use the motorhome as a gallery space came out of the notion of working with something they already had but to use it a new way.  Tasha says as the group is mostly emerging artists working in a variety of mediums, the van offers a flexibility and fits with their ethics more so than the traditional white walls of a gallery setting.  “Being rough around the edges suits us, it’s true to us all.”

Currently the van is resplendent in its 80’s glory.  The interior is dominated by classic faux wood panelling complimented by a classic cook top, mini sink, dodgy shower and lots of nooks for storage and sleeping.  Beyond the 80’s decor are homey touches like lush textiles, skull twinkle lights, planet garlands and the obligatory mini disco ball.  No camper is complete without one.

But the Dreamliner’s role as camper is soon to be changed. Plans are well under way to convert this classic vehicle into a multi-purpose exhibition space that will welcome the public during the Artists Open Houses Festival.  Along with flat walls for 2D art, there will be shelves for makers’ displays and a unique dark zone for light based installations and fluorescent pieces.  There is also a plan to convert the driver’s cab into a mini two person cinema to screen short films.  The plans are ambitious, and very cool.

Beyond the conversion of the camper to an exhibition space, the other big challenge will be getting the van to Buckingham Road for the festival. Currently the van is parked in Portslade and as Planet Slimeball says, “starting it is always hopeful.”  It is a thirty year old vehicle after all, but he’s got a AA silver membership and the number on speed dial – just in case.

Look for the Dreamliner Vogue and the members of the Dreamliner Arts Club on Buckingham Road as part of the Central Trail and follow them on Instagram for visual updates now and throughout the festival.

Dreamliner Arts Club

near No.92 Buckingham Road


Words by Anne-Marie Olczak