Introducing the strange and magical charms of Aidan Saunders’ Print Wagon

Marrying the itinerant nature of a van driver with the cheeky charm of a car-boot wheeler-dealer and some rather lovely illustrations, designer Aidan Saunders approached Design Week to chat about something of an unusual proposition.

Wagon-boot sale
Wagon-boot sale

Southend-on-Sea-based Saunders is the proud owner, driver and furnisher of his very own Print Wagon, a ‘personalised hand-painted VW caddy exhibiting (and freshly distributing) prints from the back’, he tells us.

We speak to Saunders as he’s on the way back from a wedding, pulled over in a service station having been driving his Print Wagon to and from the festivities.

‘I’m surprised it hasn’t broken down yet!’, he says chirpily. ‘My friend was scrapping his work van, so I bought it off him for £300’.

This little automobile is – as you’d imagine – cute, unusual and rather funny. It’s now clocked up well over 7000 miles, having toured the country to help show Saunders’ work in spaces such as Devon’s No Guts No Glory and the London Illustration Fair.

The idea came about while studying illustration at Camberwell College of Arts. One of Saunders’ art school projects was his Memorial Emporium – a cupboard full of prints, which he managed to sell in its entirety.

Aidan hearts print
Aidan hearts print

‘I thought, “I wonder if I can make my own shop”? But there’s no money in shops, so a pop-up was suggested. I thought about my granddad’s caravan, and looked into buying a camper van, but couldn’t afford one’.

Saunders ended up buying his van with his student loan, and set about touring his prints around the UK in April this year.

The Print Wagon touting its wares
The Print Wagon touting its wares

‘I still want to be a commercial illustrator, but I think I’ve become known as “the Print Wagon guy”. A lot of people have started to recognise me now’, he says.

‘People I don’t know outside of the graphics and illustration worlds always come up to me, even if it’s just to make fun of my bow-tie. But people are very understanding – a lot of the time I end up doing an impromptu workshops.

‘Some kids once came up to me and asked if I was a magician’.

Print Wagon tour poster
Print Wagon tour poster

The Print Wagon is set to tour Plymouth and Southport Colleges and will be showing at Rochfrod Art Train in Essex. For more information on Saunders and his wagon visit aidan-saunders.tumblr.com

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