Painter's block!
July 14, 2006 1:45 AM   Subscribe

I want to paint my car (even though 'artcars' are so '90). It is old and ugly. I need help with choosing a theme/design/inspiration.

I have done this twice before and the ideas always seemed to pop into my head. Why am I stuck now?? This car is an 88 toyota corolla - sort of a steel-gray, some rust and dents. I do not care about this paint job 'lasting a lifetime'. I am antsy to get painting -- just need ideas that help me match, reveal, reflect ... I want the painting to have some meaning.

Here is how I did it before:

My first artcar done with a friend, was an 'homage to Hokusai' (after painting this one I began surfing):

My second one was a '74 comet that I painted at the beach while fretting about the 2000 election (concentrating on the painting kept me from screaming in the streets)
The 'pollock' design on the hood --> my state of mind

Anyone know any links/books/meditations/exercises/?? that could help me unblock? I have been thinking about this nonstop for over a week. This 'nothingness' is maddening.
posted by Surfurrus to Religion & Philosophy (27 answers total) 2 users marked this as a favorite

Mediums aside, why not look at different artists' work for inspiration? You show enough talent for something challenging, such as Richard Estes' cityscapes, Wayne Thiebaud's still lifes, or somthing more abstract, similar to Kandinsky, or Miro. Hope this helps.
posted by Smart Dalek at 3:31 AM on July 14, 2006

Best answer: Julia Cameron's "The Artist's Way" is absolutely brilliant. It's her first and her best work on the subject of creativity in all its myriad forms.
Tools such as Morning Pages (journaling), Artists Date (a set specific 'date' once a week to do something, anything creative to feed your muse) dug me out of a very deep block and depression.

Love the Hokusai car.

Amazon Link here.
posted by willmize at 4:13 AM on July 14, 2006

What about the Mystery Machine?
posted by cholly at 4:30 AM on July 14, 2006

Best answer: Maybe the Art Car Museum can insprire you. They have a slide show of art cars.
posted by nimsey lou at 4:50 AM on July 14, 2006

You've gotten some great answers here, so I'd like to say that I love the Hokusai car.
posted by empyrean at 5:16 AM on July 14, 2006

Best answer: Dazzle painting.

Second the Hokusai's awesomeness.
posted by cardboard at 5:22 AM on July 14, 2006

What about gluing pasta on the car? You could make a pasta art(car).
posted by Mr. Six at 6:16 AM on July 14, 2006

I once saw a car "decorated" with the lyrics to Pink Floyd's "Learning to Fly"
posted by grateful at 6:31 AM on July 14, 2006

I will third the awesomeness of the Hokusai-mobile.

I've always wanted to do a vehicle in the Mondrian style.

As for brainstorming, try:
1. A color that you really like and that suggests some kind of theme.
2. Some event, aspect of your life, or current interest that can be developed into a theme.
posted by adamrice at 6:31 AM on July 14, 2006

Babylon 5 mural.
posted by Faint of Butt at 6:44 AM on July 14, 2006

I second the 'dazzle paint' idea... though it might take some time to get right. And if it works, it could get you in some nasty collisions!
posted by anthill at 7:00 AM on July 14, 2006

Best answer: I have been thinking about this nonstop for over a week. This 'nothingness' is maddening.

I read something recently that suggested embracing the wonder you have acheived: Zen monks work their whole lives to get to that, so turn the problem around and enjoy the quiet until what youre supposed to do shows up.
posted by yerfatma at 7:30 AM on July 14, 2006 [1 favorite]

Some event, aspect of your life, or current interest that can be developed into a theme.

a) Rasterbated photo of your family/the kids/Grandma
b) Your family's heraldic crest (imagined, real, in neon tones)
c) Everyone-on-the-risers class picture from first grade
d) High school yearbook signature/autograph page
e) The blueprints of your house
f) "Photo album" of imagined/real ancestors crossing the Plains in a covered wagon, etc
posted by mdonley at 7:42 AM on July 14, 2006

Another voice in praise of the Hokusai.

How about Van Gogh? Strong visual style, great colors. Starry Night, Starry Night, Sunflowers. Or, there's a front page post with astronomical maps that are very cool.
posted by theora55 at 8:16 AM on July 14, 2006

Best answer: If the artwork is just because the car looks like crap and you'd rather have it look somewhat normal, you can always try this (scroll down a bit).
posted by IronLizard at 8:36 AM on July 14, 2006

Matisse. (Late Matisse!)
Toulouse-Lautrec. (Or, just general Art f'ing Deco. \m/ )

An '88 Corolla painted all baroque-style with cherubim and trumpets would be brilliant.
posted by furiousthought at 10:17 AM on July 14, 2006

As the owner of an old VW van in need of a paint job, I am so bookmarking this thread!
posted by LarryC at 11:02 AM on July 14, 2006

Response by poster: Wow, wow, wow ... I just woke up to this thread. You folks are amazing! So many ideas. I will check out all these links now.

Mahalo, mahalo!!

posted by Surfurrus at 11:47 AM on July 14, 2006

LarryC: Here you go. Come on, you know you want to do it!

Anyway, that's one idea.

A deep blue with a star-ish/milky way-ish background would be great though, even if you don't go into all of the hippie stuff.

Also, two words: Mirth Mobile?
posted by devilsbrigade at 11:51 AM on July 14, 2006

Best answer: I'm really loving the Hokusai car.

A frind of mine had a 70's Volvo that has developed a fair amount of rust from being parked by the sea for a decade. Being a fan of H.R. Geiger and having an airbrush he decided to "enhance" the rust ever so slightly to bring out the organic aspects. He used a variety of rust-tones and clever shading to give the impression that the rust spots were higher, or deeper, or more contoured. It was a remarkable effect, similar in many ways to the optical illusions you see in "I Madonnari" street-painting festivals.

My point is that you might let the shape and detail of the car itself guide your hand.
posted by lekvar at 12:24 PM on July 14, 2006

Aw, LarryC, you KNOW you really want to do the van up as the Yellow Submarine...

As far as the other art car, I'd be all over a late-period Matisse theme. Or a takeoff of Ivan Bilibin, or Palekh iconography. OH! How about the Bayeux tapestry?

Damn, I think I need a few art cars.
posted by Vervain at 4:54 PM on July 14, 2006

The Miro/Kandinsky/Klee stuff would be wonderful and beautiful to look at, but while reading this thread I just had the most insanely silly idea:

Vermeer. Something along the lines of "Young Woman With a Water Pitcher" or "The Kitchen Maid." An honest replica would be hilarious and beautiful at the same time.
posted by brina at 7:08 PM on July 14, 2006

A mefite painted this car. It turns heads in a major way, and I've seen several people taking its picture here in LA.
posted by the_bone at 9:44 PM on July 14, 2006

yes, the louis vuitton car is mine...and i want to do nephew is gonna start driving next year and will be inheriting (from his step-mother) one of those horrid forest green range rovers...the plan is to paint it so that it looks like he drove it to the deer preserve, aimed it at a herd and floored it. another design i want to do is to take a truck and paint the sides with corvettes so that they share the same wheels...
you see a lot of flames, but you never seem to see a car with clouds and lightning all over it...

you could paint it to look like you've been in a horrible, horrible accident....

terminator 2 attack?

bullet holes?

multiple police chalk outlines on the hood?

omg! omg! omg! SNAKES ON A CAR!!!!!! omg!

You. HAVE. To!
posted by sexyrobot at 11:24 AM on July 15, 2006

Best answer: Make a mosaic. Any stained glass artist will have a bucket full of scraps they will probably give you, mirror works well too. E 6000 is a great adhesive. I had an old ford that was covered in surface rust, I spray painted, "Rust Never Sleeps" on the side. Got lots of smiles.
posted by haikuku at 5:39 PM on July 15, 2006

Response by poster: Mahalo again for all the kind words, folks! You have 'energized me'!

Ironlizard -- Mahalo -- your link for 'paint job on a budget' is really useful. Auto paint is so expensive; it is good to see a technique that makes the cheaper paint look just as good (tho, pretty labor intensive).

Re: gluing and mosaics (Mahalo, Mr. Six and haikuku): gluing is an art in itself. With the severe sun and salt air here, glued things can end up flying off easily. Not to mention the extra weight on the car (so much for gas mileage). Although, I am still musing about maybe incorporating a 'beach plastic' mural piece on the trunk.

Re: details and 'realistic art' (Mahalo -- multi suggestions!) I found with my second car that the 'block print' simplicity of Hokusai was much more easily accomplished. I actually tried to do an 'Australian Aboriginal' piece on my yellow car -- maddingly tedious. I think I will stick to graphic simplicity this time.

Re: 'nothingness' and 'organic emergence' (Mahalo, yerfatma and lekvar -- ;-) -- I am trying NOT to jump at the first idea. It is like trying not to think of the elephant. I so appreciate the reminders. I will have to swim on it.

BTW -- one of my latest ideas comes from a delightfully whimsical tee-shirt I found in a thrift shop years ago "Der Kuss - Thierry Noir". I finally looked up Thierry Noir and fell in love with this style. For me it is linked to the ache of the Berlin Wall -- the "flowers in the rubble" kind of thing. It feels like the right kind of art for the world today.

The art of the Berlin Wall (Thierry Noir):
posted by Surfurrus at 11:43 AM on July 16, 2006

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