Art On Wheels, Part Seven: And The Winner Is . . .

My editor, Edgar Reewright, couldn’t restrain himself when I told him last week that my next opus would be another entry in the Art On Wheels series.

“Neil, you’re straining my patience, not to mention your readers’ patience, with your ridiculous Art On Wheels stories!” Edgar shouted into his phone. “Good lord, one episode would have been enough, and yet number seven is in the works. What’s the matter with you? Can’t you think of something else to write about right now instead of trucks and vans that catch your attention? Sorry, fella, but I’m not going to edit this one. You’re on your own with it.”

Edgar paused for a couple of seconds before continuing. “Listen, Neil, I have to end this conversation. I’m about to head out to an appointment with my psychotherapist who, unbelievably and thankfully, is also a proctologist. He’s trying to help me understand why I deal with writers who turn out so much shit, such as you.” Without another word, he hung up.

Eh, screw Edgar! He’s a philistine. As far as I’m concerned there’s nothing wrong with spending some time now and then in search of snazzily-adorned motor vehicles. It gets me out of the house. It helps me pay attention to what’s going on around me. And it pleases my artsy-fartsy side. I’d rather look at works of art in museums, true. But I’m decently content to gaze at those that rest above axles and wheels.

I used to try to track down in a single day or two all of the good-looking vehicles that I would need for a story. And, by dumb luck or who knows what, I met the goal several times. But I missed the goal for episodes five and six (click here to read number six). And was even farther from it this time around, as I needed four days in January and February 2021 to encounter enough attractive vehicles for this story. What’s more, there were a few more days during those months when, on the prowl, I didn’t find any examples of vehicular art that met my standards or were capturable.

Now, capturable is a key point. Generally I locate my victims in the parking areas of supermarkets, strip malls and other businesses. And occasionally I run across them on residential streets. Usually they are making deliveries or service calls, so getting close to them and taking their portraits at those times is a relative snap.

However, sometimes things don’t work out. On more than one recent occasion, for example, I spotted fine specimens in parking lots that I was walking or driving around in, but they were pulling out and too far away for me to photograph. And, needless to say, I often see beauties on the road while I’m on the road. No way, though, that this ol’ boy is going to try and grab their pictures when he’s behind the wheel. If I were dumb enough to give that a go, I’d pretty much guarantee myself an ambulance ride to the nearest hospital emergency room or, even worse, a journey in a hearse!

I like the designs on all of the vehicles that illustrate this essay, some more than others. Big-Lil Heads is cooler than cool. Have green, orange, white and black ever looked better together than they do on that bus? And the Target truck’s design, so goofily minimalistic, is irresistible to me. I’ve never owned a dog, but if the Target dog should become available for adoption, I’ll be first in line to fill out the required papers.

Still, as much as those two ring my chimes, neither is my favorite. I have to give the nod to the W.B. Mason vehicle. The Mason design is, to me, perfection. Bright, solid and beautifully balanced, it is impossible to ignore and easy to love. W. B. Mason, as is noted on the truck, was founded in 1898. Based in Brockton, Massachusetts for its entire life, the company distributes office and janitorial supplies, and numerous other products, throughout the USA. Whenever I see a Mason truck I find myself attracted to it like a magnet. But I normally spot them when they are in motion, not when I can have a good long look at them. February 24, 2021, then, was my lucky day, because on that date a W. B. Mason truck was sitting quietly in the parking lot that surrounds the Wawa food market in my suburban Philadelphia town.

Yes, the W. B. Mason truck is number one in my book, followed, respectively, by the Big-Lil Heads and Target vehicles. I’d be happy to learn which of the artworks on this page you think are the best. Thanks for reading, girls and boys. Goodbye till next time!

127 thoughts on “Art On Wheels, Part Seven: And The Winner Is . . .

  1. Lynette d'Arty-Cross March 10, 2021 / 1:02 am

    Edgar has a proctherapist? Is that more of a fartsy thing or an artsy thing? 😉

    I like the Target truck, too.

    Liked by 3 people

  2. Henry Lewis March 10, 2021 / 2:04 am

    Target is getting a lot of things right these days. I agree and love the simplicity and sheer fun of its design.

    Liked by 2 people

  3. Annika Perry March 10, 2021 / 4:49 am

    Neil, as a journalist I encountered some who would literally chase ambulances … this image came to mind as you’re chasing lorries down the road to snap a photo! Glad you’re not doing this whilst behind the wheel! I like the Big Lil best … is it an actual pub inside or are they delivering for a chain? Silly question probably but everything else seems to be miniaturised to fit in vans and lorries I thought this might be the new thing! 😀

    Liked by 3 people

    • Yeah, Another Blogger March 10, 2021 / 3:35 pm

      I’m not sure what the deal is with Big Lil. They have a few taverns in the burbs. But I don’t know what they use this vehicle for. Maybe it’s just to advertise the business.

      Liked by 2 people

  4. swabby429 March 10, 2021 / 7:44 am

    W.B. Mason reminds me of a circus wagon, so it’s the winner with Big Lil Heads bus coming in second for me.

    Liked by 2 people

    • Yeah, Another Blogger March 10, 2021 / 3:36 pm

      For the last two or three years I’ve wanted to get a W. B. Mason truck into one of my stories. I’m glad it finally happened.

      Liked by 2 people

  5. Basia Korzeniowska March 10, 2021 / 7:45 am

    I love ’em all. Because of your great stories I now look out for them too – but they are not nearly as interesting here in Britain!

    Liked by 2 people

  6. sloppy buddhist March 10, 2021 / 8:15 am

    Delightful art on wheels Neil 🤓 and I also appreciate your narrative ~ have a joyous day smiles hedy ☺️💫

    Liked by 2 people

  7. Helen Devries March 10, 2021 / 8:27 am

    I wish they were s much fun in Costa Rica….nothing worth chasing here!
    Target for me.

    Liked by 2 people

    • Yeah, Another Blogger March 10, 2021 / 3:42 pm

      Every time I see a Mason truck on the road, which isn’t too often, I can barely take my eyes off of it.

      Like

  8. Debra March 10, 2021 / 8:47 am

    As the Grateful Dead advised, Keep on Truckin’!

    Liked by 2 people

  9. Joyce Hamilton March 10, 2021 / 9:01 am

    Big lil heads and Target are my favorites but l enjoy seeing them all. Keep up the good photography!

    Liked by 2 people

    • Yeah, Another Blogger March 10, 2021 / 3:45 pm

      Big Lil was parked a short ways north of the Giant supermarket, on the way to Hatboro. It’s probably still there.

      Like

  10. eden baylee March 10, 2021 / 9:28 am

    Hi Neil,

    I vote the W. B. Mason as best combination of colours, nice illustration, catches the eye right away.

    The Target is best in design and reinforces its brand.

    Nice shots!

    eden

    Liked by 3 people

    • Yeah, Another Blogger March 10, 2021 / 3:46 pm

      Hey, Eden. My wife and I give a bit of business to Target. She was there yesterday, and bought a bunch of stuff.

      Like

  11. Paula B March 10, 2021 / 10:09 am

    I’m with Eden, and I would add typography to the Mason truck’s assets. The Target truck emphasizes the store’s relatability. Both do their job exceedingly well!

    Liked by 3 people

  12. Jacqui Murray March 10, 2021 / 10:47 am

    When you started this seven cycles ago, these decorated trucks were a rarity. I think you created a trend because they’re all over now.

    Liked by 3 people

  13. Sam Gridley March 10, 2021 / 11:26 am

    Agree with you about W. B. Mason, much as I dislike their marketing in general.

    Liked by 2 people

  14. Paddy Tobin March 10, 2021 / 11:26 am

    The W. B. Mason truck has the looks of circus vehicle about it; those same bright primary colours. A nice one!

    By contrast, I made a dash in the rain to collect daffodils from the garden and spent a pleasant half hour photographing them today. The weather is miserable, with worse to come overnight, so it was spent indoors – my bum is widening from all the sitting down.

    Liked by 3 people

    • Yeah, Another Blogger March 10, 2021 / 3:52 pm

      The predicted high for tomorrow where I live is 70 F (21 C) — my wife and I will be going to dinner at a nearby restaurant (we’ll be eating outdoors there).

      Liked by 2 people

      • Basia Korzeniowska March 11, 2021 / 7:15 am

        I cant wait to go out to dinner again. The last time was march 13th last year, justbefore the rde closed in oland and we had to come racing home.

        Liked by 1 person

    • Paddy Tobin March 10, 2021 / 6:10 pm

      How lovely to be going out for a meal, even if outdoors. Have a good time – and forget about the trucks for one evening and concentrate on hour meal and your good company!

      Liked by 1 person

  15. Laurie Graves March 10, 2021 / 11:42 am

    I’m going to have to with Target and W.B. Mason, too. Running with the pack. 😉

    Liked by 2 people

    • Yeah, Another Blogger March 10, 2021 / 4:37 pm

      Greetings. Big Lil for sure is an eye-catcher. And it has the correct color scheme for St. Patrick’s Day. See ya!

      Like

  16. J. Kelland Perry March 10, 2021 / 11:55 am

    Hi, Neil. I like the Target one best (no surprise as an animal lover), but they’re all pretty nice. 🙂

    Liked by 2 people

    • Yeah, Another Blogger March 10, 2021 / 3:55 pm

      Afternoon, Jennifer. I had lunch with friends in a beautiful park today, in Philadelphia’s Chestnut Hill section. This park is a favorite with dog owners. Saw lots of dogs there today, including a Bassett hound.

      Liked by 1 person

  17. Darts and Letters March 10, 2021 / 12:03 pm

    Is dairy pure….. an oxymoron? It’s a sad commentary whenever I see the stars and stripes or an eagle clutching something, I reflexively flinch. Ya never know what you’re gonna get, these days and times in the good old USA. What point of the Philadelphia compass are you? I have a good friend who moved to Philadelphia year and a half ago. Really looking forward to visiting her when the pandemic is “over”, whatever the heck that might mean, who knows. She lives in Mt. Airy.
    -Jason

    Liked by 2 people

    • Yeah, Another Blogger March 10, 2021 / 3:57 pm

      Mt. Airy is very nice. Loads of trees. Nice old houses. I live about 10 miles from Mt. Airy and about 15 miles from central Philadelphia.

      Like

  18. Dave March 10, 2021 / 12:43 pm

    Here’s the first vote for the Backlund Plumbing truck. They painted all sides of the truck (it’s a rolling advertisement, after all), but mostly I was drawn to the blues-to-white transition, especially for a company dealing with water services. Very clean and appealing. Even if you miss the words as you’re driving by, the big spigot lets you know what they’re all about. I’d hire them on the truck artwork alone.

    Liked by 2 people

    • Yeah, Another Blogger March 10, 2021 / 4:01 pm

      Hey there, Dave. I like that vehicle a lot too. They put plenty of thought into creating the design.

      Like

  19. Robert Parker March 10, 2021 / 2:25 pm

    Yeah, I’ve seen W.B. Mason trucks around, and like that old-fashioned look. I think that guy should adopt the Target logo, and go as “W. B. Mason & Dog”

    Liked by 2 people

  20. JT Twissel March 10, 2021 / 2:41 pm

    I like the minimalist Target truck although I wouldn’t adopt the dog who was the model – he’s got some kind of eye disease for sure.

    Liked by 2 people

  21. Alyson March 10, 2021 / 3:06 pm

    It’s WB Mason for me too. As someone else said, it looks as if it should be transporting circus paraphernalia. Nice pics.

    Liked by 2 people

  22. Becky Ross Michael March 10, 2021 / 3:36 pm

    Great finds, Neil! The WB Mason catches my eye because of the vintage appeal, but that Target vehicle is so darn cute!

    Liked by 2 people

      • Mellow Curmudgeon March 10, 2021 / 6:22 pm

        Yes, they are very different.  Mason is retro and ventures to the edge of clutter, but w/o quite crossing the line.  Target is modern and minimalist.

        On the other hand, both are playful.  Mason plays with the notion that “W.B.” might stand for “Who But” while Target plays with the way dogs enjoy car rides.  Both have bright colors.  Both are carefully composed, so Mason avoids a cluttered look and Target has the dog facing forward.  Maybe those similarities have something to do with the popularity of both images among commenters, including me.

        Liked by 2 people

  23. Ann Coleman March 10, 2021 / 4:32 pm

    Well, I for one enjoy your art on wheels posts! And for some reason, I like the old-fashioned one with the flags advertising WB Mason the best. I’m a sucker for old stuff.

    Liked by 2 people

  24. stargazer March 10, 2021 / 4:46 pm

    I love the dog on the Target truck, it’s a great design and fits well with the logo. But all the photos are nice and your editor, Edgar Reewright, clearly has no clue what he is talking about! 😉

    Liked by 2 people

  25. johnlmalone March 10, 2021 / 5:19 pm

    you gotta follow your obsession, Neil; the Target one works best for me: smart, simple and cheeky 🙂

    Liked by 2 people

  26. andrewcferguson March 10, 2021 / 5:32 pm

    You’d expect a Scot to like the one that had an association with drinking, and, yep, it’s the Big Lil Heads one for me! Sometimes you just have to roll with the stereotype.

    I remember once on a tour bus in Dublin passing a pub that was also a guitar shop. Think of that, Neil! A pub. And a guitar shop. Very dangerous combination. Perhaps fortunately I never tracked it down.

    Keep these up and to hell with Edgar – I’ve often thought of trying to emulate this series, but frankly lorry and van decorators this side of the Pond aren’t that creative…

    Liked by 2 people

  27. sniderjerry March 10, 2021 / 7:37 pm

    Hey there Neil, I vote for The Big and Little Heads. “Bottoms up!” Have a great day! Jerry

    Liked by 2 people

  28. cincinnatibabyhead March 10, 2021 / 7:44 pm

    I picked the same 3 as you. I had an uncle who had one of those vans back when that had murals painted on them. His artwork looked like a giant hamster with a set of antlers.

    Liked by 2 people

  29. Jeff the Chef March 11, 2021 / 10:27 am

    What a curious pasttime. Although I must admit, the Mason truck is pretty captivating. And I liked Big Heads a lot, too. I think you’re on to something here. Keep the series going!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Yeah, Another Blogger March 11, 2021 / 4:08 pm

      Howdy, Jeff. This series rears its head every now and then. I’ll probably do part 8 later this year. See ya!

      Like

  30. annieasksyou March 11, 2021 / 12:08 pm

    Dog-deprived soul that I am, I’d give first prize to the Target truck, paws down. But I must say, the minor wit on the WB Mason truck (Who But), which has either escaped me numerous times or is a recent innovation, earned it honorable mention for introducing an opportunity for Welcome Banter.

    Glad you don’t let your dopamine-deprived editor get you down, Neil. You’re doing just fine flying (or driving, or walking) free.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Yeah, Another Blogger March 11, 2021 / 4:14 pm

      Thanks, Muriel. By the way, in a short while my wife and I are headed to a restaurant. We’ll be in their outdoor area. We’re able to do this because it’s over 70 degrees F today.

      Like

  31. greenpete58 March 11, 2021 / 2:15 pm

    I like the W.B. Mason truck, too, with Big Lil Heads number two. Both are colorful and distinctive.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Yeah, Another Blogger March 11, 2021 / 7:30 pm

      Yesterday afternoon, while driving, I saw a gorgeous truck. It had a beautiful multi-color design. But there was no way I could take its picture.

      Liked by 1 person

  32. selizabryangmailcom March 11, 2021 / 2:17 pm

    That’s funny–W.B. Mason caught my eye immediately too! Probably because the image is so old-timey, making me feel like I went back to the ‘;30s in a time machine (not that they had that kind of advertisement back then of course, but you know what I mean).

    Liked by 1 person

  33. snakesinthegrass2014 March 11, 2021 / 3:10 pm

    Screw Edgar! lol. Love the “Big-Lil Heads” one the best, though there is something nice with the simplicity of the alarm company van. Well done! – Marty

    Liked by 1 person

    • Yeah, Another Blogger March 11, 2021 / 7:34 pm

      I’m glad that somebody (i.e. you) has shown some love for the alarm company van. Hi, Marty. Many thanks for stopping by.

      Liked by 1 person

  34. tanjabrittonwriter March 11, 2021 / 7:08 pm

    As you responded before: Target really was on target with this design. I also like the Big-Lil Heads.

    Start looking for more art on wheels, Neil!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Yeah, Another Blogger March 11, 2021 / 8:43 pm

      You know, while on the road tonight I passed a Target truck going in the opposite direction. Its design was different than the one I photographed. There wasn’t a dog on it.

      Liked by 1 person

  35. Cindy March 11, 2021 / 11:23 pm

    W. B. Mason’s design is a standout–and they’re the “official office supplier” of the Phillies! What’s not to love??

    Liked by 1 person

    • Yeah, Another Blogger March 12, 2021 / 7:33 am

      Very true. And baseball season is almost here. The season starts in less than three weeks.

      Like

  36. yvettecarol March 12, 2021 / 12:29 am

    I agree, the W.B. Mason truck was the best of the lot. You got a great collection here!

    Liked by 1 person

  37. Americaoncoffee March 12, 2021 / 10:02 pm

    Very nice! If the world could exit for another 50 years, you cold have an invaluable mobile museum. 👌👍

    Liked by 1 person

  38. George March 14, 2021 / 12:52 am

    I think it’s the Big-Lil Heads for me.

    I’ve just thought, back in 1996, my wife, Sandy, had a job publicising the Year of the Visual Arts—a huge project responsible for commissioning and promoting many arts projects (big and small) across the north of England. Perhaps the most famous is the Angel of the North, a towering, aeroplane-like statue of an angel with outstretched wings, built from industrial steel. But another project was “Art on Trucks”, where a trucking company turned their vehicles over to a number of different artists to paint. The results turned the roads into a moving art gallery for many months.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Yeah, Another Blogger March 14, 2021 / 7:49 am

      I’d have liked to have seen that. It must have been beautiful. Every year should be the Year Of The Visual Arts.

      Liked by 1 person

  39. ckennedy March 14, 2021 / 7:21 pm

    Yay! Art on Wheels–I love the Art on Wheels segments! The green truck with the “Big n Lil Heads” makes me happy. I love those faces!

    Liked by 1 person

  40. Joe March 15, 2021 / 7:24 pm

    Hey Neil. Good to see you out walking around and looking at things. The Target truck is cute, clever and eye-catching, but W.B. Mason is my favorite too. It is bright, beautiful and has a nostalgic look. Even though W.B Mason is a Massachusetts company, the Phillies sponsorship logo shows a local touch of class.

    Liked by 1 person

  41. Crystal Byers March 15, 2021 / 8:31 pm

    And to think I haven’t even been to Target in the past year. Wow! I need to get out a little more. I’m attracted to simple.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Yeah, Another Blogger March 15, 2021 / 10:40 pm

      I just took a look via google to find out how many states Target is in. All 50, and DC too.

      Like

  42. carolinehelbig March 18, 2021 / 6:04 pm

    Big Lil Heads caught my attention! Wow! Is this a private RV or advertising for a pub? Both? Great observations, despite what your editor thinks!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Yeah, Another Blogger March 18, 2021 / 10:35 pm

      Hi. Big Heads is a small chain of bars in my region. As for the green vehicle, I don’t know what it is — probably it’s just for advertising.

      Liked by 1 person

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