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"The Flying Beetle", Wings by Chris MacKinnon, Shark River, N.J.

Chris' hubcap


The Story behind the "Hub-With Magnetic Connections"

It began once upon a time on Harts Lane, East Brunswick with East Brunswick Foreign Auto Sales and Repair. The owner, Atilla Soltez, invited artists to come up with a design for the fence skirting his property. As encouragement and inspiration, Atilla placed a Volkswagen beetle (which he had sliced in half, the front half) in front of the fence. (This beetle has been in the movies!!!

Atilla does not remember which movie  : (

We thought what a great idea! We will use what is on the other side of the fence as elements in the mural, an assemblage. We began by doing two things which diverged into separate projects.

The first was that we photographed the cut in half Beetle and extracted the color with Photoshop, turning it into a coloring book line drawing.


The very first e mailed beetle came from Esther Schloshberg, a teacher at McKinley School, New Brunswick, NJ.

We made 300 black and white copies and passed them out randomly and to 3 New Jersey schools, Joyce Kilmer School, Milltown; Hammarskjöld School in East Brunswick,  and McKinley School in New Brunswick. We got back 267 colorings, and not all by children.

The VW Beetle had stimulated the growth of another project -"The Traveling Magnetic Show".  For the next two years all the colorings were turned into magnetic pieces and rode around on the fire engine red Val Van, surprising people at traffic lights and curves in the road.

We had a contract with the Cork Gallery, Lincoln Center to bring the Hubcap show. The show would not be complete without the whole story, so we spent the months leading up to the show collecting discarded refrigerator doors of all kinds.

Here are the refrigerator doors & magnetic beetles when they made a second visit, this time to Quietude Sculpture Gardens, Fern Rd. East Brunswick.

Quietude Sculpture Gardens

Secondly, we began with hubcaps. Atilla supplied many of them, but artists found their own too. We began scouring roadsides. Dents and rust were a plus. 45 hubcaps were delivered to sixth grade classes at McKinley school, New Brunswick. Teacher, Esther Schloshberg finished the hubcaps by Thanksgiving ‘98.

Dahron Dickerson
Karenda Taylor
Michelle Pittman
Jasmine Brown
Hadisha Gordon
Maximo Miranda
Elyse Washington
Michael Gorrell
Latoya Landfair
Jannette Alexander
Kianna Cromedy
La Toya Pearson
Stanley Shields
Forest Van Liew
Willie Boswell
Hector Bruno
Daira Peralta
Jerry Freeman
Graciela Reyes
Pedro Rodriquez
Miquel Serrano
Sergio Suarez
Adam Summers
La Shawna Shields

 By then, the fence mural had taken a turn away from hubcaps and if you scroll down to the bottom of this page and click the link you can see what ultimately went on the fence with the flying beetle in place..

The background design for the hubcap show developed thru a design which came as an attached image via e mail from artist Sheila Barrera, (Gulf Coast, Florida)


Over 160 hubcaps have come from all over. The youngest person to do a hubcap is four years old, and the oldest is 93 (Sister Annie Forest, Canada.) Hubcaps have come from Paris, France; Caracas, Venezuela; Lake Charles, Louisiana; Virginia and local neighboring towns, Princeton, Edison, Hillsborough, Summit, Highland Park, South River, Metuchen, New Brunswick, and East Brunswick.

Little Bobby Duncan

The hubcap reads along the edge "Keep that one good eye on the road"

The Hub-With Magnetic Connections visited the Cork Gallery, Avery Fisher Hall, Lincoln Center December ‘98. It went on to visit the University of Medicine and Dentistry in Piscataway, NJ where it merged with another show and became UMD-500.

 It even visited the Seafood Festival in Atlantic City June 1999.

Three weeks before the New York show, word went out thru the Internet inviting web artists to participate internationally. Virtual hubcaps began to roll in. The hubcaps, both real and virtual have melded perfectly in a line up in cyberspace, one behind the other.

On the ValWeb site we have set up a framework to come together and create and nurture ideas.

View the Mural which was on Harts Lane, East Brunswick, NJ.


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