Glowmobiles to light up New Year celebrations

A VAN covered in shining metal pillows will feature in an eye-catching parade on New Year’s Eve.

A VAN covered in shining metal pillows will feature in an eye-catching parade on New Year’s Eve.

Stephen Newby, Glowmobile

North-East artist Stephen Newby won a coveted commission to create his own “art car” to star in the celebrations.

It will be among 30 illuminated and decorated vehicles taking part in the parade, which is the finalé of the Winter Festival which has been taking place across Newcastle and Gateshead.

The colourful parade, which will include flame-projecting and music-playing vehicles, will stop at various points around the two destinations en route to a grand finalé and pyrotechnics display at Newcastle’s Civic Centre.

Artist Stephen has used metallic pillows to transform a Transit van to take part in the display.

Using a special technique he blows metal to create pillows of stainless steel.

His highly-acclaimed work has featured in exhibitions and galleries across the UK, as well as in many national style and fashion magazines.

Stephen, who lives in Newcastle city centre, said: “I weld two sheets of highly-polished stainless steel together which are then blown up with air – like blowing up a balloon, to create the pillow shape.

“I’ve had the safety checks done by a local garage and now I’m starting to piece together the 14 individual panels that will cover the van.

“Because it is so highly polished, the panels will reflect any light that hits it – amplifying it like a hall of mirrors and creating a dramatic, moving shining van, the Transition Van.”

Stephen’s glowmobile is one of three specially-commissioned vehicles which will take part in the display.

One of the other mobiles will feature images chosen by members of the public.

Artists Pete Hindle and Brian Degger also won a commission to create an art car.

They set up a website to encourage people to vote for their favourite image and the most popular will form part of their final design.

Pete and Brian have designed more than 20 different images ranging from the Angel of the North and The Sage Gateshead to Christmas images, stars and cartoon characters.

Using lighting kits designed and made in New York, the duo will create images within the spinning spokes of the wheels of their glowmobile.

The final commission was given to Bo the Clown, also known as Derek Carpenter.

He has created a multi-vehicle art car named Small World, which is 36ft long and made up of five handlebars and 14 wheels, all illuminated by pedal power.

It has been created with the help of youngsters at Kids Kabin in Walker.

Outdoor performance group Walk the Plank have also commissioned artists from all over the country to transform vehicles into mobile artworks.

Other vehicles taking part in the display on December 31 include the Brain Car which is visiting from Holland, the Crazy Golf Car and Tone Float, a musical milk float which plays a tune on its milk bottles.

Pit stops will take place throughout the day all over Newcastle and Gateshead including Saltwell Park in Gateshead, Baltic Square on the Quayside and Grey’s Monument.

The mobiles will gather at Monument from 1-5.30pm, visiting Saltwell Park between 1pm and 3pm and have a stop at Baltic art galley between 3.30pm and 4.30pm.

At 5.30pm the parade will depart from Grey’s Monument on its way to the Civic Centre, where there will be a performance and pyrotechnics.

For more information log on to www.NewcastleGateshead.com/ winterfestival.

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