Artist Jonny Hannah lives by the sea in Southampton. However, he also resides in Darktown, a mysterious coastal town not found on any map and peopled by pin-up girls, jazz artists and tattooed sailors.
Each of his exhibitions gives a glimpse into this mad world – including his latest, the Darktown Turbo Taxi.
In 2015–16, Hannah invited visitors to take a stroll down Darktown’s Main Street, a vintage-inspired homage to the independent trader, that was made entirely from the artist’s 2D and 3D artworks. For Turbo Taxi, the world of Darktown leaves the studio to take to the streets.
The installation began life as a Saab 93 Turbo, bought from Shane in Millbrook via Gumtree. Hannah says, “The first in the fleet, our very own Darktown Taxi. Available for pick-ups now & then. Weddings, but especially funerals. Summer & winter too. Stick your hand out, & the Queen of Darktown will see if she fancies stopping, or not. Because the irony here is… I can’t drive, but luckily the Queen can. So I sit in the passenger seat, changing the tunes, & making quick assessments of the punters on the streets of Downtown Darktown, seeing if they deserve a ride in our bespoke motor.”
The car is emblazoned with mobile adverts for the seedy emporiums and dark establishments that can be found in Darktown’s Main Street.