Astounding Art Cars Downtown Right Now

Meet Camera Van. There are 2,700 cameras on it, and about 10 work on each side.
Meet Camera Van. There are 2,700 cameras on it, and about 10 work on each side.
Marisa Demarco

Traffic is slowing slightly outside our office. Drivers are pausing to gawk at the gorgeous art cars parked on Central near Fourth Street. It’s part of an exhibit and film that rolled into town this weekend called Automorphosis.

It was made by Harrod Blank over the course of three years, and cost about $75,000. Blank is a photographer from Berkeley, Calif.
It was made by Harrod Blank over the course of three years, and cost about $75,000. Blank is a photographer from Berkeley, Calif.
Marisa Demarco

The cars are from California, but they’ll be joined by local art cars in just a few minutes, says Hunter Mann as he cleans the windows of the Camera Van. He’s on the board of directors at Art Car World, a museum in Douglas, Ariz.

Note the mosaic eye.
Note the mosaic eye.
Marisa Demarco

The hardest thing about driving an art car, says Mann, is that you have to keep an eye on other traffic. Drivers pull out cell phone cameras to take pictures, he says, and they swerve right into you.

This is The Fantasy Van made by Ernie Steingold in Los Angeles. It cost $100,000 to build and took him 22 years. It’s worth an estimated $350,000.
This is The Fantasy Van made by Ernie Steingold in Los Angeles. It cost $100,000 to build and took him 22 years. It’s worth an estimated $350,000.
Marisa Demarco

The photo exhibit is tonight from 5 p.m. to 9 p.m. at 105 Studios (105 Fourth Street SW). It’s free. The film by Harrod Blank will show Saturday and Sunday at the Guild at 1 p.m. It costs $5. Some of the cars will be parked near there this weekend, as well.

There are 5,000 pieces of brass on this van and about $15,000 in coins.
There are 5,000 pieces of brass on this van and about $15,000 in coins.
Marisa Demarco

Detailed pictures below:

This is the Mondrian Car, named for Dutch painter Piet Mondrian.
This is the Mondrian Car, named for Dutch painter Piet Mondrian.
Marisa Demarco
Berkeley, Calif. artist Emily Duff put this one together. She’s also responsible for the Braball, a globe of about 10,000 bras that you can see at braball.com
Berkeley, Calif. artist Emily Duff put this one together. She’s also responsible for the Braball, a globe of about 10,000 bras that you can see at braball.com
Marisa Demarco
This is Pico de Gallo, made in San Francisco by Harrod Blank. It only cost about $600 to put together.
This is Pico de Gallo, made in San Francisco by Harrod Blank. It only cost about $600 to put together.
Most of the instruments on it work, and sometimes bands volunteer to play the car. The speakers work, too, and play mariachi or reggae music.
Most of the instruments on it work, and sometimes bands volunteer to play the car. The speakers work, too, and play mariachi or reggae music.
Marisa Demarco