November 25, 2008
When the average citizen thinks about art, they probably go with something traditional–Monet, Ansel Adams or even dogs playing poker. This past weekend I visited two museums that are more our speed: the Lane Motor Museum in Nashville, Tennessee, and the Barber Vintage Motorsports Museum, located just outside Birmingham, Alabama.
Both places are out of this world. The Lane museum’s collection can best be described as cars you have probably never seen: microcars, Western European cars, French cars, Japanese kei cars, amphibious cars, wooden cars and even a car driven by a propeller. The Lane museum houses one of the biggest Lotus collections, but their main focus is bikes: hundreds and hundreds or motorcycles. The collection ranges from the earliest bikes to new Hondas. I’d say both are worth a visit, either online or in person.
August 15, 2008
I don’t know about you, but when I think about people making art out of old tires, I picture something like the penguin which sits in front of Mr. P’s tires in Milwaukee. So when I saw the photo of this gorgeous stallion made out of old rubber, I was blown away. Is this thing gorgeous or what? Check out some more examples of killer tire art over at Pretty Cool Things.
July 25, 2008
This year marks the 60th anniversary of Jaguar’s XK series, and the storied marque is planning on releasing a special model, the XKSS, to commemorate the occasion. So I thought it was it was kind of cool to stumble across this fast-forward clip of an XK140 being painted—from scratch—in PhotoShop. As someone who can barely use that demonic bundle of code to resize a picture, I was pretty impressed. If you like what you see, head over to 5min.com and check out some more of the stuff posted there.
July 24, 2008
Artist Ian Cook has been at the British Motor Show this week, whipping up automotive portraits of some new GM rides, including the Beat and the Camaro. What’s unique about his stuff is that the paint is laid using remote-controlled cars and loose tires in various sizes, giving all the paintings their distinctive texture. More pics below the jump, and click here to see video of the guy in action.
July 23, 2008
This sculpture was commissioned to celebrate Land Rover’s 60th anniversary, and it was on display at Goodwood. Now, most of the time, I think automotive art is kind of stupid—especially when it involves destroying otherwise serviceable vehicles. But you have to admit, those Rovers look pretty awesome scaling the girders. Three more pics after the jump.
June 5, 2008
Anyone who works on even slightly older cars has probably noticed that the junkyards are going away fast. Cars that get put out on pick ‘n’ pull lots don’t get to stay there for long anymore before being crushed, and in a lot of cases, junkyard owners are closing up shop and crushing out their entire inventory for scrap. Blame the soaring price of steel, blame the glitchy real estate market, blame China… but the bottom line is that if you want your local yard to stay in business and continue providing you with cheap parts, you have to help make parting out cars more profitable than crushing them. I can’t emphasize this enough: support your local junkyard! The famous Pearsonville Junkyard of eastern California is one of those that has gone the way of the dodo bird—after its elderly proprietor passed away, it wasn’t worth keeping all those preternaturally preserved old rides sitting out in the Mojave Desert. Photographer Troy Pavia managed to get in there to take these eerie photographs one night before most of the cars were disposed of, using colored lights and extended exposures to capture the last of Pearsonville’s beautiful hulks. See the whole series on flickr, and see more of Paiva’s amazing junk-themed photography at Lost America.
May 1, 2008
By Gary Faules
NASA Mentor Director
I will be attending a La Carrera Panamericana Fiesta in a couple weeks for a BBQ with many other veteran drivers, navigators and fans who have competed in this historical event. Also on hand will be La Carrera Presidente Eduardo Leon and his wife Monica Grossmann, who I have had the distinct pleasure of getting to know while competing in last year’s La Carrera Panamericana. Besides a few original La Carrera cars that will be on hand, we will also be treated to a very special private race car selection owned by Ron Lee, which will include one of two ’55 Kurtis GT coupes, and a ’32 Indy car, plus many beautiful hot rod creations.
I asked a good friend of mine, Paul Chenard, if he could whip up a little something special to share with everyone at this rare get together. Paul blew my mind when he sent me this awesome painting of the 1953 World Champion Juan Manuel Fangio, who won the La Carrera Panamericana for Lancia without winning one daily leg of the seven day event–his accumulated time over the entire event was significantly lower than his nearest competitor. He knew how to pace himself and conserve his equipment when others were slowed by mechanical problems. This amazing tribute not only says a lot about Juan Fangio but also about anyone who has ever completed La Carrera Panamericana. For those of you who are interested in race history but may not have heard of Juan Fangio, do a search on him and get ready to be blown away. For that matter be sure to learn more about the historical La Carrera Panamericana which is considered by the race world to be one of the top two most grueling races in the world second only to the Mille Miglia.
Paul has recently completed a limited edition series that captures the essence of the era of machinery used in Grand Prix cars, which boasted magnificent engines that were also mechanical works of art. You can see this series after the jump.
By Dan Strohl
Hemmings Motor News
Last year, both Jen and I wrote about artist Jonathan Schipper, a self-proclaimed artist who baffled us by one of his creations, a gear-driven machine that slowly pushed two 1/18th-scale muscle cars together in a twisted slow-motion Ballardian statement of some sort. I earned a degree from college in something I can actually make money at, not in art, so I guess I dont have the capability or pretentiousness to understand that statement.
What really made me cringe last year was the vague threat that Schipper promised to recreate the creation on a full-size scale with two actual muscle cars. And it appears he did just that recently in Belgium, though he used two cars that fall outside the bounds of the traditional definition of muscle: a 1988 Monte Carlo and a 1992 Camaro RS. Not to say that I dont appreciate late rear-wheel-drive Montes or third-gen Camaros, but at least he didnt use a second-gen Trans Am and a Hemi Charger, as he did in his first piece.
Still, I dont get it. He did all of this so he could take an elaborate time-lapse video and speed it up? And if hes going to make a statement such as he did in the title of the piece, then he should back it up with, ohidunno, an actual argument. Maybe this is actually some sort of stunt in which he shows how easy it is to get gallery space and, possibly, public art funding.
April 23, 2008
Tiny bonsai trees are meant to evoke the peace and tranquility of a Japanese garden. And what could be more peaceful and tranquil than wrecking a car in a Japanese garden? Crash Bonsai creates these miniature zen-inducing crash scenes by melting, warping and crushing die-cast cars and wrapping them around those tiny trees. Prices on these diminutive wrecks range from 50 to 125 bucks. I guess it’s nothing you couldn’t do yourself with a bench vise and a couple of Hot Wheels, but on the other hand there’s a lot of art you could say that about. See more pics below the jump!
April 17, 2008
The fate of the legendary "Spindle" of Berwyn, IL, has been in limbo since last summer, when greedy developers announced they’d be disposing of the 50 ft. sculpture to make room for a drugstore. (What, you mean they don’t want to keep a pile of junk cars skewered by a metal spire in their mall parking lot?). Anyway, now that it’s up for auction, eBay bidders aren’t exactly clamoring for it either. The lonely Spindle has been online for a week, racking up a total of 0 bids but reportedly thousands of watchers. Maybe that’s because, as is often the problem with people’s cast-off art projects, the starting bid is way too high: $50,000, which when you break it down by car, amounts to $6250 per vehicle (and remember, none of them run). But just look at the gems that you get:
1. 1967 VW, red
2. 1976 BMW, silver License Plate reads "DAVE"
3. 1981 Ford Escort, blue (this one’s mine–Ed.)
4. 1974 or 1973 Mercury Capri, green
5. 1978 Ford Mustang, white over blue
6. 1981 Pontiac Grand Prix, maroon or burgundy
7. 1980 or 1979 Ford
And don’t forget you also get that awesome metal skewer thrown in with the whole deal–just think, you could probably get like 400 bucks for that in scrap alone! Make the Spindle yours now.