Gallery on wheels

Artist brings dream to life with mobile show

Jesse Hollett
Posted 1/4/17

MIDDLEBURG – Tuscarora Trail in Middleburg stands a paragon to the idyllic family nesting place with its driveways clad with minivans and lawns manicured to homeowner’s association standards. …

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Gallery on wheels

Artist brings dream to life with mobile show

Posted

MIDDLEBURG – Tuscarora Trail in Middleburg stands a paragon to the idyllic family nesting place with its driveways clad with minivans and lawns manicured to homeowner’s association standards.

One house sticks out, however. The wizard shack parked in Scott McGovern’s driveway.

Since April, the Middleburg-based artist has been assembling a tiny house with the appearance of a shack stolen straight from a different era. Using inspiration from medieval English and Gypsy architecture as well as magical inspiration from popular fantasy media, McGovern has nearly completed construction with what he says is his quintessential art booth.

Measuring 6 by 10 feet, McGovern plans to take the booth from art shows and renaissance fairs in Florida and beyond to sell his hand bound journals, carved wands and other artwork.

“People walk right up and I interact with them and it’s been an amazing crowd draw,” said McGovern, 34. “Having something like this is going to be amazing since we can take it from show to show, having that incredible style with us all the time. People have been just flabbergasted by it. It’s had an incredible reaction. I think I actually made one woman cry through just sheer joy and wonderment seeing this.”

McGovern, a graduate of Florida School of the Arts, designed and constructed the structure himself using revenue he and his mother could raise from his art sales and other income sources to fund the $10,000 buildout.

McGovern and his mother Sheila McGovern, who work together during art shows, took on the project without prior knowledge of construction, that is until they took a class about the basics of home building.

He said challenges came early and frequent.

Tiny houses are a minimized version of a normal home measuring between 100 and 400 square feet. It’s a home building fad which has gained popularity among those aiming to lead a more bohemian, bare bones life.

Many times houses are placed on wheels to meet zoning laws and facilitate the owner’s move from location to location. However, the majority of tiny house’s life is spent on land rather than on the road. Scott had to construct his tiny house with the reality that he would truck his shack between art shows weekly, and elected to construct it on a steel frame he designed.

From there, he framed the home with wood sourced from the home improvement store Home Depot and other materials such as faux cobblestone blocks to give the construction an authentic feel similar to a Gypsy vardo.

“I knew I wanted something kind of wonky, something kind of unique,” Scott said. “For the roof, I had an idea for kind of like a dilapidated, old, sagging, wizard’s cottage in the woods.”

The structure bows out as the wood beams ascend towards the ceiling, giving the roof a slanted and haphazard appearance to it that Scott said was a project in itself to design.

He said the project has been a long time coming.

“I’ve always been fascinated with fantasy since I was very young,” Scott said. “I was one of those kids that always played [Dungeons and Dragons] with his friends. It’s what I get a lot of inspiration for my art work as well.”

Before his father, Shaun, passed away during his first year of college, Scott would watch him build furniture, among other things, from scratch.

Shortly before he died, Scott and Sheila planned to move to a plot of land they had purchased and build a log cabin. But Shaun passed away before construction began.

“I don’t know if I’d be doing any of this if he was still alive, but he would have loved this, he really would have,” Scott said. “Some of the inspiration for some of these ideas – I have no idea where they came from. I like to say some of these ideas came from him in spirit.”

Scott and Sheila hope to finish the interior and electrical by next month, although that hasn’t stopped him from shipping the booth all over Florida already.

“It has been an amazing business,” Scott said. “And this trailer is just the next step for us. We’re hoping it will bring us to bigger and better things. Lots of higher end arts shows. We’ll be able to sell our work in it and then camp inside it instead of paying for hotel rooms.”

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