Confessions of an Art Car Owner: Highlights of the 2021 Houston Art Car Experience
The Kelley Blue Book blog offers a lot of information about cars. These blogs offer insight on subjects like buying cars in 10 steps and how to buy a car online, but the one we are interested in talks about the best colors for cars. Even though a 2021 list hasn’t been released yet, we can review the 2020 list, and it will suffice.
These are the colors that KBB lists as top colors for 2020:
- White (26%)
- Black and Gray (tied at 19%)
- Silver (12%)
- Blue (10%)
- Red (9%)
- Natural (2.5%)
- Green (2%)
- Other (.5%)
Here is a pictorial representation:
Take a look outside at your car. Does it fit into one of these color categories? Chances are fairly high that it does. We are more interested in what would be considered “other” in this representation, though.
What do you “other” might mean in this scenario? You could certainly fit orange in this category, but how about the art car?
What is an Art Car?
We figured you might ask this question, so let’s eliminate any confusion and discuss what these cars are. A car can fit into the “art car” category if modified for personal artistic expression. The art car revolution can be traced back to the 1960s and the summers of peace and love. Hippie-themed VW’s were very common, but one of the first recorded art cars is a bus – a 1939 International Harvester school bus named Furthur. Ken Kesey bought the bus and decorated it in 1964 to carry his band of pranksters cross-country.
During that time, additional cars that made a real impact were Janis Joplin’s psychedelically painted Porsche 356 and a Paisley-painted Rolls Royce driven by John Lennon. By the 1990s, the art car displays had become vital parts of venues like Burning Man. One of the more notorious art cars was used in advertising – ever heard of the Oscar Meyer Wienie Wagon? This vehicle was the predecessor to the later designed Weinermobiles.
Houston Art Car Experience
In past years, the Houston Art Car Experience has been the destination for over 200 art cars, but due to the current COVID-19 restrictions, the number of entries was reduced, with only 80 cars allowed to enter. The 2021 experience took place May 14-16 at the Orange Show Center for Visionary Art. The overall experience is not something taken lightly by art car enthusiasts. The Nighttime Experience sold out well before the weekend, with reserved VIP tables of four selling for $1,034.25 apiece. Individual tickets sold cost $43.25, which is a huge difference compared to the general daytime admission for an adult of $12.
List of Featured Cars in the 2021 Houston Art Car Experience
- Trump Lies by Frank Abbott
- Saint Arnold Caddy by Robynn Sanders
- Frankenkitty by Kimmi Bainter
- Pride & Joy by Heights High School
- Hen-a-Tron by Drew Bettge
- Women Rock Art Car by Bonnie Blue
- Char Car by Mark Bradford
- Eele by Mark Bradford
- Robot Chariot by Mark Brandford
- The Roachster by Kenny Browning and Noah Edmondson
- Kallisti’s Zombie Hunter by Mitchell Clemons
- Splinter by Isaac Cohen
- We’ll Get This by Darcy & David Creswell
- Red Hot Stuff by Charles de la Rosa
- Mane-Ly Musical Lion by Parker Elementary School
- The GLAM-Bulance by St. Francis Episcopal School
- Ghost Slipper by Ty Eckley
- Psycho-Delic Road Toad by Deb & Bill Elliott
- CVHS Houston Proud by Carnegie Vanguard HS
- Brunehilde by Meghan Freemantle
- I’m Just Another Dot in the World by MaryAnne & Charles Fried
- Alotta Dotta by Tricia Gernand
- Pop Art Cart by Harry “Bruiser” Goldberg
- The Gunslinger by Mark Green
- Phool Patti by Joe Haden
- Wakanda Forever by Kashmere Gardens Elementary
- Lady Dragon Wagon by Jessica Hanohano
- Cigs Kill by Alex Harrah
- The Fruitmobile by Jackie Harris
- Heroicar by Andy Hazell
- Captain America by Eliseo Hilario
- Rhinestone Catboy by Ken Hoge
- Terra Firma by HCC Art Car Cooperative
- Buttercup by Amelia Horner
- Greengo by Victor Jiminez
- Vincent’s Dream by Sam & Nancy Jones
- Bouma the Driving Owl by Arabic Immersion Magnet School
- BuddhaFly by Keith Kendall
- Shep the Rescued German Shepherd by Tom Kennedy and Beverly Hayes
- The PICK-up truck by Cliff Lee
- Save the Animals & the Planet by Jaki Lee
- Map of Space and Time by Rebecca Lowe
- Zebra Krew by Amy Lynch-Kolflat
- Opti-Car Lusion by Becky Morris
- Sunny with a Chance of Sprinkles by Spring Forest Middle School
- Flamingo Car by Becky & Georgia Mustachio
- MetaCarSkull by Texas Wheelbarrow Association
- HERMESillac by Rickey Polidore, Jr.
- Carlagio by Chris Reinsvold
- Hope the Hippo by Sue Shefman & Rickey Polidor, Jr.
- Peace Expedition by Kim and John Ritter
- Carnew Convertible by George Sacaris & Family
- Pop Art Car by Cherie Smith & Sharon Neyland
- Corky by Kristin Smalley
- Green Man Van by Shelley Bushur
- Santa Car MK IV by Bryan Taylor
- Spanish Gold by Jose Valles
- Phoenix by Jay Weiss
- Deuce of Death by Jeremy Witt
- Auto Disco Dance Bot by Chriss Wollard
- Spooter: A Spider Scooter by William Workman
- Iron Maiden Truck by Vincent Ybarra
- Sunflower Car by Tim Young
- Rat Wink by Bob Wink
- Hippysaurus & Hippytortoise by The WatersFamily
- Force-mobile by Stephen Stelmak
- A Fish Called Juanita by Larry White
- Joy’s B’Alam by Joy Mullett
- Dumpster Fire by John Gregory
- Can’t Get Off the Loop by Brian Zeivert
Our Top Five Picks For Best Art Car at Houston Art Car Experience 2021
While we may not get to be official judges or spend a lot of time in art museums, we know cars. Since we know cars, we will share our top five favorite art cars present at the Houston Art Car Experience this year.
5. Ghost Slipper by Ty Eckley
Ty Eckley created the Ghost Slipper in 2013 from a 2009 Ez-Go Green. The car is listed in the contraption category, and for the last five years, Eckley has entered the Houston Art Car Parade with it. He created the car because he needed something to support Art Installations at Burning Man. He says the slipper of a giant Genie seemed appropriate.
4. Map of Space and Time by Rebecca Lowe
Rebecca Lowe created her art car in 2009, naming it Map of Space and Time, which is also the first year she entered it in the parade. The car is a painted 2009 Honda Fit and was recently updated with FinSails for extra power and maneuverability. She uses this car as her daily driver, too. She says that owning an art car brings a force of good and beauty, weirdness, and outside-the-box thinking to the world, filling it with fun and joy.
3. Pop Art Car by Bruiser Goldberg
Bruiser Goldberg’s “contraption” Pop Art Car is made from a 1980s Craftsman Lawn Mower, which he created in 2011. He has participated in the Houston parade for the last ten years, offering up his unique take on the popcorn cart. The best experience he ever had was when a police officer tried to cite him for not having a food vendor permit before realizing that it was just a lawnmower in the parade.
2. The Splooter: A Spider Scooter by William Workman
Not exactly a car, but listed as a contraption for the parade, The Splooter is made using a 2013 Yamaha Zuma and adapted to look like a spider. The Splooter’s first appearance was made in 2015 and was also featured in the parade in 2017, 2018, and 2019. Workman enjoys being a part of the art car community with The Splooter because of the creative atmosphere and overall appreciation and acceptance by the entire community for the art.
1. Opti-Car Lusion by Becky Morris
While other cars are certainly worthy of an honorable mention, the Opti-Car Lusion is the definition of an art car, distinctly reminiscent of the cars driven by Joplin and Lennon in the 1960s. Becky Morris has been creating art cars since 1998, with the Opti-Car Lusion created in 2009. The 1996 Mazda Miata is painted with optical illusions and offers a feel that is best described as “groovy.”
Get Ready For Art Car Experience 2022
All funds from the ticket sales from the Houston Art Experience 2021 directly benefit the Orange Show Center for Visionary Art. The Center also uses some of the proceeds to begin funding the next year’s Art Car Experience. Although the next Houston Art Car Experience has not been scheduled yet, dates have already been tentatively set for the next Houston Art Car Parade Weekend slated for April 7 to April 10, 2022. If you are in the Houston area, it might be looking into the art car shows and parades available throughout the year!