Friday, January 7, 2011

The Woodstock Bus, painted by Robert Hieronimus

Why I paint automobiles, by Robert Hieronimus
The VW bus I painted in 1968 for Bob Grimm of the band "Light" which he drove with Rick Peters, Trudy Morgul and Walt Bailey to the original Woodstock in 1969. I was heavily involved in my mural commissions and in founding the AUM Esoteric Study Center at that time, and decided not to attend this legendary concert. But the bright colors and occult symbols I had painted on the "Light" bus caught the attention of several photographers in attendance and images of this bus continue to pop up in retrospective articles, CD compilations and other promotional pieces about Woodstock. Many of these photos can be seen further down on this page.
My purpose for painting vehicles was to develop movable "billboards" carrying certain teachings linked to the ageless wisdom teachings, or the perennial philosophy. In 1968 I postponed a commission from Dr. Chester Wickwire to paint a mural on a wall in the second floor meeting room of Levering Hall of the Johns Hopkins University, which eventually became "The Apocalypse". Instead I began a very interesting summer of visiting backstage with Elektra recording artists Jimi Hendrix, The Doors, Janis Joplin, and others who requested information on esoterica. In between I continued working on a series of commissions for "psychedelic" painted cars which were growing in popularity. I soon had my fill of backstage life with rock and roll legends and discussing with them earth changes, astrology, Atlantis, reincarnation, meditation, and UFOs, and in early August, 1968 began work on the Apocalypse mural at Johns Hopkins University.
But first I completed the "Light" bus that went to Woodstock without me. With hindsight it is interesting that the symbols I painted on this bus (or moving billboard) were very much in harmony with the theme of this powerful event. I have interpreted some of these symbols below.
Rick (drummer) & Trudy (vocalist) at Woodstock 1969.
Bob stitting atop the bus at Woodstock
Bob with the "Light Bus" and the artist's "bug".
"Light Bus".
The other side of the bus

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