The Everywhen is showcasing artists, dreamers, visionaries and creative people who love to create magic and bring it to the playa. For our second Artist Showcase we interviewed Angelo Taylor; owner, operator and proud poppa of giant mechanical housecat/mutant art car, King Mahtusah. Check out what he had to say below!
EW: What’s the concept behind King Mahtusahn?
AT: The King Mahtusahn is a mishmash of my obsession with sci-fi, war aesthetics and video games. This military APC comes from an alternate reality where humans are fighting a losing war against house cats. The greatest minds left on earth have banded together in a desperate attempt to create a rescue assault vehicle to search for other survivors in a desolate litter box.
EW: What distinguishes King Mahtusahn from other mutant art vehicles on playa?
AT: This vehicle has a lot of interactivity. Its main draw is the rear turret that is open for anyone to climb aboard and control. It actually rotates 360 degrees, and the cannons recoil at high speeds which gives the operator the feelings of firing actual rounds. There are some creature comforts too like USB chargers for passengers, and comm system so we don’t have to turn down music.
EW: Is your mutant vehicle finished? If not, what motivates you to continue to improve and refine King Mahtusahn?
AT: I often compare this art car project to those times you’ll walk down the street and see some older adult working on some classic car. Years will go by and it seems like they are never finished. I'm that adult now I guess. The project is never really done.
EW: Do you think mutant vehicles are a legitimate form of art?
AT: I never really considered my project an art project but everyone else does. To me the King Mahtusahn is an engineering puzzle that really tickles my creativity and problem solving skills.
EW: How many years have you been working on it? Was this build the original idea or did King Mahtusahn evolve from something else? What is the base vehicle underneath, and where did that come from?
AT: I started this project in February of 2015. The original idea was more focused around the rear turret but the DMV denied it due to the front cart not being mutant enough. Its currently in its 3rd iteration and have completely rebuilt it twice. The base vehicle is a 2006 John Deere Gator TS I bought used on craigslist.
EW: What is your proudest achievement with this car?
AT: I got invited to bring the King to Yuri’s Night LA in 2016. The turret was set up right next to the space shuttle Endeavor and Buzz Aldrin came over to express how amazing the creation was. I was starstruck and also bewildered to get such a compliment from an American hero. Also some cute Instagram models asked me to move out of the damn way so they could get their cool shots on the cat. I’ve made it in life….@3:08 Richard Picardo from star trek Voyager sitting in the turret.
EW: Do you have a standout memory related to King Mahtusahn on the Black Rock Desert playa?
AT: I take the King out to the playa about 3-4 times a year. It is amazingly entertaining to hop in the art car and just drive in a random direction in the middle of the night while blasting epic movie theme songs.
EW: And lastly, what advice would you give someone who dreams of building an art car for the playa?
AT: The hardest part is going to be motivating yourself to get started. Lots of people will scoff at your idea or flat out say it is stupid. We live in an amazing time and as long as you have internet access, only you are preventing you from getting a job done. I didn’t realize till after I built it, the journey taught me electrical engineering, mechanical engineering, welding, and programming. The project gave me the confidence to tackle any challenge.
EW: This is amazing. Thank you Angelo for taking the time to share a bit about King Mahtusahn with us. This truly is a remarkable piece of work! We look forward to seeing it at The Everywhen!