Vancouver art-engineer collective eatART goes non-profit

The eatART collective and supporters celebrate their newly acquired charity status with a barbecue at the Hangar.

Credit: Jenn Perutka

With their newly acquired charity status, the eatART collective brings energy awareness to the masses through its giant mechanical Mondo Spider and other monster creations

Last Saturday night, the eatART (Energy Awareness Through Art) collective and supporters celebrated their newly acquired charity status with a barbecue at the Hangar, a cavernous studio located at the Centre for Digital Media’s Great Northern Way Campus.



The Hangar

eatART members and supporters sipped mulled wine and heard executive director Leigh Christie speak about projects like the Mondo Spider, a giant solar-power tricycle named Daisy, the bio-diesel-powered Dragon Bus and Heliomatrix, a massive solar-powered video display currently under development.




Formed by a group of artists, designers and engineers dedicated to promoting awareness of fossil fuel energy use, eatART is working with students at the Centre for Digital Media, Emily Carr, UBC and SFU to combine technical know-how with artistic expression.

On May 3, 2008, eatART hosted an informal press event for Vancouver’s mayor-elect Gregor Robertson, during which he gave a speech from Daisy and answered questions from attendees.

“After the kids kicked him off the trike, Mr. Robertson took the Mondo Spider for a test drive around the block,” said eatART co-founder and executive director Leigh Christie.

Disclaimer: eatART is a charitable organization with no political affiliation to the Vision Vancouver party or any other party.



Leigh Christie

“I co-founded eatART because I feel that we are at a crucial fork in the path of human history,” said Leigh Christie. “With both global warming and dwindling energy resources, we have no choice but to simultaneously change where we get our energy from and how we use it. As such, there is a strong need for energy awareness education in our society, and I can’t think of a better teaching tool than a captivating work of art.”

Mondo Spider


Mondo Spider

Audiences might have glimpsed the eight-legged Mondo Spider through the dust at last summer’s Pemberton Music Festival. The kinetic sculpture, originally conceived for Burning Man Festival, has also appeared at the Main Street Art Drift and Parade of Lost Souls.

Co-creator (with Leigh Christie and Charlie Brinson) and eatART co-founder Jonathan Tippett said the team is now working with UBC professor Andre Marziali’s engineering students, who are designing a gas-electric hybrid engine for the sculpture.

“Many of eatART’s founders, myself included, have attended Burning Man several times,” said Jonathan Tippett, “and a common theme of self reliance and leaving no trace can be seen between the two. eatART is bringing that awareness back home with radical artwork that gets peoples’ attention in a context where they’re not expecting it: their own backyard.” 




Weighting some 5,000 pounds, Daisy is the world’s largest solar-powered tricycle. Designed by Bob Schneeveis, the vehicle has been to Burning Man at least six times. It can be “plugged in” to charge but also houses a gas-powered generator in case power runs out.


SLIDESHOW: eatART’s pedal-powered dance party at the VAG

Community-wide dance party at the Vancouver Art Gallery ‘generates’ awareness about alternative energy.