During the 2011 Manly Arts Festival, I did a series of local sketches. The Man on the Tyres was one of them
I remember this iconic landmark at least 30 years ago. He was there across the road from where my Studio now is, atop about 80 tyres, peering down at us, wearing his top hat and red suit. And we’d all peer back at him, out of the car window as we whizzed down the hill and knew we were almost in Manly.
I’d forgotten completely about him till I started this sketch series, and John from up the road, whose house is directly opposite the spot, where Sinden’s Garage was, told me he was still there.
Wow. Really! Sure enough, there he was hidden in the trees in the place he’d always been, on a cut down pole and no tyres. Trees all round, it was quite hard to see him. It was a bit tricky, but I did enough rough sketches to get a final one I’d be happy with.
Last week the council took him down. He’s lying down in a council space awaiting a decision on his fate.
This week, I saw pics in the Manly Daily of him in his hey day in the 1920’s. Amazing to see him up so high. Amazingly my Studio building is there too, and so is John’s house. There is a massive response to the fact that he’s gone. Even though most people didn’t realise he was still there, everyone wants him restored and given a new place. I think he should be standing above the Manly Art Gallery as a marvellous piece of history. He brings such happy memories back for people. You have to smile when you see that face.
So with the 2012 Manly Festival coming again in September, I’ll do some prints which will be available then.