Fixing the Monstrosity

Mary Anne Coleman

Two years ago (Nov 2018), the monstrosity came into my life, in need of repair. It had been in storage for quite some time, covered in plastic sheeting. Previous to this, it must have been out in the rain and wind; we could tell this because the paint was peeling off, the faces were damaged, and parts of the internal structure were showing, where the plaster had decayed, leaving the chicken wire and frame exposed. It was in a bad way.

It was too big of a job just for me, so The Artbusters! were called in for emergency repairs. These two amazing ladies (Anna and Manda), travelled from Malvern in Worcestershire to London on a very cold and rainy November morning. I met them in an equally cold warehouse in North London. They had arrived before me, I had never met them before this, and at first, they were dealing with the shock of not only how much repairing would need to done, but also the sheer size of the Monstrosity. It’s huge!

We set to work.

The damage

The guys at the warehouse set up platforms for us, using forklift trucks and wooden pallets, so that we could reach the very top of the structure.

Platforms for repair
Sanding Down Gove

We sanded down all the rough edges, got rid of any dry, flaky paint and began to repair the exposed areas. We used ModRoc (which is like a bandage form of paper mache), to cover the holes, using  water to make the ModRoc smooth, so that we could paint over it once it set and dried.

Missing Glasses

We noticed that on one side of the Monstrosity, Gove’s glasses were missing.  I had no idea how to make new glasses. Anna and Manda already had this covered, pulling an old yoga mat out of their magic bag. Manda drew the shape of the glasses on to the matt, cut them out and painted them black. It was such a genius idea. They fixed them to Gove’s face with screws and hey presto, one more job done.

It was getting very cold and dark by this point. We were freezing in the warehouse. Our hands started to hurt and we realized the ModRoc wasn’t go dry anytime soon, there wasn’t enough heat. The warehouse guys lent us a heat lamp, and at that point, around 10.30pm we decided we would call it a night. We’d leave the plaster to set overnight, with the help of the heat lamp, and come back in the morning.

We returned early the next morning, and the plaster had set enough that we could commence painting. We set to mixing the paints to try and match the exact colours that had already been used. We gave Teresa, Boris, Gove and Davies some lovely makeovers, making them look fresh and bright again. I remember Manda painting Gove’s mouth and saying ‘I’ll have nightmares about this for the rest of my life’. Anna gave Boris some lovely yellow highlights in his hair, and I painted ‘the boot’, which was trickier than I expected but I think it turned out OK.

After painting, we had to spray the whole structure with waterproof varnish just incase of bad weather conditions whilst it was out on the road. We left the varnish to dry overnight and then our job was done.

To sum up, it was a challenging couple of days, however, it was an amazing experience.

The float was ready to go; float fixing mission complete! 

The finished product

Its Not a Done Deal