Tag: Art

By on February 19, 2019

With the 50th anniversary of Woodstock nearly upon us, it was only a matter of time before Volkswagen released a commemorative vehicle acknowledging the Microbus. The Type 2, a staple of the hippie movement, was frequently found painted in psychedelic patterns and hues. Case in point is the “Light Bus,” which appeared in numerous photos of the 1969 Woodstock Art and Music Fair — including the official Woodstock album — and became emblematic of the moment.

Driven by (and named after) the Baltimore-based band that drove it, the vehicle eventually vanished into obscurity.

Three years ago, artist Dr. Bob Hieronimus and Canadian documentarian John Wesley Chisholm sought to acquire the van, hoping to restore it to its former glory. Unfortunately, a six-month search turned up no trace of the van, so the two made do with an unmolested 1963 VW Standard Microbus sourced via a crowd-funding campaign. It may not be the Type 2 that attended the historic music festival, but the attention to detail here barely makes that an issue.  (Read More…)

By on February 13, 2019

Lexus unveiled a collaboration with Nike and designer John Elliot at New York Fashion Week, celebrating both human and automotive footwear. The finished piece, titled “Sole of the UX,” is scheduled to make additional appearances across the country later this year, touring with a matching pair of Nike AF1 shoes.

After conducting a bit of research, Elliott appears to be a fashion designer specializing in the least imaginative streetwear ever to enter mass production. His beige drawstring pants, which run about $200 USD, are probably the most creative item in his entire catalog. The brunt of his collection involves plain shirts and lots of faded denim.

While not hideous by any means, it’s devoid of any unique style. The articles of clothing Elliot specializes in are the kind of pieces you’d wear while running errands or relaxing at home. They just cost a lot more. However, as Elliot openly describes his take on fashion as intentionally “basic,” there’s little reason to get ultra salty over how so much of his fashion line resembles a high-quality burlap sack. Instead, let’s focus our collective ire on Lexus. (Read More…)

By on July 29, 2018

Art cars kind of suck. Even though BMW has managed to produce a handful of stellar examples — models enhanced by Jeff Koons, Roy Lichtenstein, Frank Stella, Alexander Calder, and Andy Warhol — plenty of the brand’s artistic liveries have been far less appealing to the layperson.

Other companies have produced art cars as well. Last year, Lexus unveiled an incredible IS sedan covered in 41,999 programmable LEDs that created a perpetually changing and utterly hypnotic visual experience. However, its most recent example left me feeling a little empty inside.

Art is subjective, I know. But, when it’s slathered all over an automobile, you want it to be expressive of the car’s personality — or at least striking in a way that becomes transformative. The LFA Lexus brought to the Total 24 Hours of Spa race this weekend does neither. Frankly, it feels one step removed from purchasing some mass produced vinyl graphics off an online retailer and sticking them wherever.  (Read More…)

By on December 1, 2013

When I write about cars, my words are inspired by the works of Leonard Setright. While I haven’t actually read a word of what he’s written I know his writing and have educated myself about it and its significance.

Just how silly did that sound? About as silly as an artist saying that he’s inspired by a work that he hasn’t actually seen. What’s this doing on a car site? The work of art is arguably the greatest piece of automotive fine art in the world. (Read More…)

By on October 22, 2013

My worst moment at the College for Creative Studies was during Portfolio Review: a presentation of one’s body of work since the beginning of the semester.  So it comes as no surprise that my favorite parts of a LeMons race is judging the artistic(?) themes of the cheaty $500 race cars in attendance.  Let’s combine the two for this quick vignette into an alternate world of automotive design: come up with a moderately creative theme, say or do something idiotic, make me laugh and perhaps I’ll forget about that fancy header…or those super cheaty shocks that supposedly “came with the car.”

Did you really think that car design ends in the studio? (Read More…)

By on July 21, 2013

IMG_0024

Charles Maher, Bloomfield Hills, MI

We seem to be in a bit of a museum mood, what with Thomas Kreutzer’s report on the expanded Pierce Arrow Museum in Buffalo, NY., the continuing story about the Petersen Museum selling off part of their collection, and speculation on what will happen to the valuable art, cars and other items that belong to city-owned museums in the wake of Detroit’s filing for municipal bankruptcy. In the comment thread to our second post about the Petersen, the relationship between the world of cars and the world of fine art was raised by narcoossee, and 3Deuce27.

(Read More…)

By on June 10, 2013

08 - 1987 Volvo 740 Art Car Down On the Junkyard - Picture Courtesy of Murilee MartinSince I’ve built (and daily-driven) what I consider to be an art car, I’m not against the concept of an art car. The problem is that you get 100 random-beater-with-army-men-hot-glued-all-over art cars for every brilliant Sashimi Tabernacle Choir. Because affixing random crap all over a cheap car is an accepted route to a certain segment of San Francisco Bay Area artistic circles, I’ve found a fair number of these things in Northern California wrecking yards. Here’s the first turbocharged art car I’ve seen in my travels. (Read More…)

By on May 16, 2013

03 - Nightmare Ford Expedition Tailgate Mural - Picture courtesy of Murilee MartinYou see a fair amount of customization among the inmates of a high-turnover, self-service wrecking yard; sometimes it’s a full-on time-capsule RX-7 and sometimes it’s the kind of thing Manny, Moe, and Jack would build after a week-long ether-and-DMT binge. Here’s a fairly well-executed, if puzzling, airbrush mural I spotted at a Denver yard a few months back. (Read More…)

By on April 9, 2013

Dodge Charger

They say that you don’t regret the things you do as much as you regret the things don’t do. I hope the auto manufacturers are listening, because when I look at so many of the fantastic looking four door sedans on the market today, I feel a sense of regret for what they aren’t doing, namely making two door coupes. I know there are financial considerations, probably tens of millions of dollars worth, at work behind the scenes. I understand, too, that there are likely to be engineering challenges and any number of other issues that a simple layman like myself can never really understand, but the fact that there are no really cool coupe versions of today’s hot sedans gnaws at me.

Thank God for artists like Casey Shain, a man of considerable talent who, like many of us, believes that today’s cars can be better. (Read More…)

By on April 5, 2013

Press fleet vehicles are full of little surprises.

A rap CD with a certain word used 200 times in a three minute song.

Then there are the unusual litany of condoms, leftover roaches (the smokable variety), and paternity results that no doubt tell you more about your peers than you ever thought possible.

Finally, there was a trade-in that topped them all. I called it the Thelma and Louise car.

(Read More…)

By on January 4, 2013

Believe it or not, C’etait un Rendezvous is actually Claude Lelouch’s second most famous film involving motorsports – but as far as we know, Un homme et une femme hasn’t come out on Blu-Ray yet.

(Read More…)

By on November 29, 2012

Some positions are dream jobs. Let’s say that you’re a car guy and that you like to paint and that you also happen to live in France. What could be a better job than being the official artist of the 24 Hours of LeMans race? François Bruère is that car guy and that’s his dream job. I first came across François while he was setting up his display at the automotive art show & sale that was part of the Concours of America at St. John’s festivities in suburban Detroit. Bruère has spent 30 years refining a style that combines hyperrealistic renderings of automobiles with sepia toned backgrounds, often historic, that give his work a distinctive, immediately recognizable style.

(Read More…)

By on September 28, 2012

In the ’72 Dodge Tradesman Junkyard Find earlier this week, I referred to the iconic custom-van airbrush mural with “jousting knights battling Aztec kings in a zebra herd at the Mars Base.” All of those elements were seen on the flanks of plenty of Chevy Vans and Econolines back in the 1970s (though you didn’t often see more than one per mural), and— now that we’ve got the benefit of nearly 40 years of hindsight— we can think about what could be done today with the art form of the custom van. (Read More…)

By on September 9, 2012

If you live in the San Francisco Bay Area and you need something to drive to Burning Man, you’ll find that the glue-a-bunch-of-stuff-all-over-a-random-vehicle art-car approach will let your ride fit in just as effortlessly on the playa as the soccer mom’s Voyager blends in at the mall parking lot. I’m not against art cars (I consider my 1965 Impala Hell Project to be an art car at heart), but I prefer the approach of the artists who built such fine machines as the Sashimi Tabernacle Choir or the street-driven Denver Pirate Ship to the type who feels contempt for the canvas disappearing beneath their hot-glue gun. Anyway, the upshot of the large number of Bay Area art-car types who glue 10,000 plastic army men or Lucky Lager caps all over their cars is that many of them wind up in self-service wrecking yards. Here’s a Toyota Master Ace aka Toyota Space Cruiser aka Toyota Van that I spotted last weekend at an East Bay self-serve yard. (Read More…)

By on August 15, 2012

The sink itself is a recycled oil sump

Israeli artist Ronen Wasserman turned recycling into an art form. Literally. For the Ronmen TinMan design studio, Wasserman creates on-off furniture pieces from recycled car parts. Says TinMan in its mission statement: (Read More…)

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