The artist creates the design on the car by either adding or subtracting materials of his or the owner’s choosing. They may also renovate an earlier model to revive a beauty and style that once was. The end result is a vehicle which conveys new meaning through design, mechanical or structural changes, renovation and/or the addition of new images, symbols or other elements.
One of the earliest examples of the Art Car movement is Sonia Delaunay’s Citroën B12 which she designed in 1925 with bold, geometric paintwork.
The art car subculture began with the influence of the hippie-themed VWs of the late 1960s, the lowrider, as well as a Merry Pranksters' creation, the decorated school bus known as Furthur.
Blank, who also published two books: Wild Wheels and Art Cars: the cars, the artists, the obsession, the craft, co-founded with Philo Northrup the U.S.'s second largest art car festival in the San Francisco Bay Area: Art Car Fest.
The art car culture, which was once strongest throughout Texas and the Southeast, now extends throughout the United States. Events showcasing art cars can be found in many major cities and small towns. Art cars have become popular throughout the world.
Art cars are an expression of the artistic need to create and the inspiration for their designs often come from popular culture or a need for artists to express their individual ideas and visions. The works of art can range from imaginatively painted vehicles to extravagant fantasies.
Definitely the most prolific are BMW’s art cars, the subject of our next post!