Helen K. Garber

fine art photography

Miss Lucy is a 1955 Shasta Trailer that I found in the forest near Idyllwild, CA. With the help and support of my husband Stuart, Banning Discount RV, the members of Group SC 2009, An Intimate View of Southern California (a year long project that I conceived and directed in 2010), we turned her into the first ever mixed-media mobile projection hub, the center of the installation. 

Banning Discount RV recovered her from the forest, stored her, repaired her to be hauled safely and prepared her for her next role in life. Duce, well known graffiti writer and my collaborator on A Night View Collaboration, used her exterior as a surface to illustrate the economic conditions of Southern California in 2009.   In the meantime, 50 photographers documented their resident Southern California city over the course of the same year and our editor, Nancy-Louise Jones turned them into 20 image stories.

Miss Lucy was set up to sit in the middle of the installation, with 4 HD machines projecting images outwards through a window cut on each side of the trailer.  The images were projected on to 4, 8-foot diameter screens, each set 90 degrees from each other..  The 50 stories were divided geographically, East, West, North and South.  The rear-projection screens were designed by the internationally acclaimed architectural firm, MINARC. (please watch video below to see her in action).

Miss Lucy was meant to contain the components of the Group SC 2009 installation and then travel to all 50 locations that we covered in Southern CA.   We hoped that we would find funding so she could cross the country to the George Eastman House, International Museum of Film & Photography, Rochester NY, and set up Intimate View of Southern California at any interested Cultural Institution along the way.  And with enough funding,  invite all 50 project artists to join in the caravan for the full ride or segments and document the journey.  A very ambitious plan during the lowest point of the recession.  A concept impossible to execute when so many of the artists of the project were in such dire financial straights themselves. 

After presenting the  installation 3 times locally we ended the project.   We instead put our energies to find an appropriate permanent home for her.  One where she could be seen and our efforts appreciated.  Miss Lucy now permanently resides in the San Diego Automotive Museum in Balboa Park, San Diego.  She is presently on exhibit as an illustration of how artists use vehicles as components for their creations. 

She is named Miss Lucy after Lucille Ball because she was probably built in 1954, the year I was born and during the time I Love Lucy was originally broadcast on CBS.  But mostly to honor Ms. Ball's beloved character, Lucy Ricardo.  Each week she had another madcap, screwball idea and she always managed to convince her friends to go along and help make them happen ... I adored the television show and her character inspired my way of life...