About Jonny Hannah: Darktown Turbo Taxi

Artist Jonny Hannah was born and bred in Scotland and now lives by the sea in Southampton. However, he also resides in Darktown, a mysterious coastal town not found on any map and peopled by pin-up girls, jazz artists and tattooed sailors.

In 2015–16, Hannah invited visitors to take a stroll down Darktown’s  Main Street, the artist’s largest exhibition to date. This vintage-inspired homage to the independent trader was made entirely from the artist’s 2D and 3D artworks, on display throughout YSP Centre.

This alter-reality hinterlands, where Monsiueur Hulot runs the Hotel de la Plage, and Slim Gaillard is the proprietor of the second-hand emporium McVouty’s, was created as a response to the lack of individuality on the modern UK high street, and became a regular retreat for the artist.

The artist helps makes sense of his fantasy popular culture with Greetings from Darktown: An Illustrator's Miscellany, a monograph published in 2014, and a series of artworks inspired by the town’s characters and locations. Darktown becomes a place you feel you could actually visit. And perhaps now you can, in the Darktown Turbo Taxi!

Hannah purchased a second-hand Saab 9-3 and customised it in his studio. One week later, the taxi was ready to take fares in and around Darktown. It’s been taking Jonny and Sharon (the Queen of Darktown) and their Cakes & Ale Press to print fairs and gallery events across the UK ever since. The Turbo Taxi acts a mobile advert for some of the emporiums and establishments that can be found on Main Street, luring the public in and hoping people will find Darktown as inspiring and exciting place to visit as the artist does.