When we moved from private, wooded property into our neighborhood, one thing we received was an HOA manual which laid out for us things we could not put in our yard: gnomes, pink flamingoes (accompanied by a badly photocopied photo with a big “NO” symbol just to make sure we understood), windmills… My husband went out and bought a bunch of miniscule gnomes and stealthily placed them throughout our yard, a small act of defiance[footnote]I still, sometimes, find gnomes.[/footnote] So something tells me putting a Gnome Wagon in my driveway would be right out.
A “Gnome Wagon” was one of many of the art cars this year at the Seattle Fremont Solstice Fair. Cars ranged from the fun to the somewhat disturbing. Here’s a few of this year’s best[footnote]In my opinion[/footnote]:
The Gnome Wagon
This demonic mobile attracted the most attention from curious onlookers. Featuring monkeys, faces that seemed to be souls of the damned, and a head topper spouting a waterfall of blood, among many other imps, skulls, and faces, this one would definitely raise the ire of our HOA. You can #DarkRide in social media or if you’re really an art car geek you can watch the DarkRide NOW YouTube video — a “making of” video — the car’s not quite finished. It’s due to be completed this September.
Barbie Dream Hearse
In life, you go from the Barbie Dream House to the Barbie Dream Hearse. These are the wheels of choice for my last ride. But, wait — it looks like the interior is equipped for the not-yet-dead and I can actually rent the dream hearse so I don’t have to wait for my final exit to ride in it. If you want to know more about the “why” of the Dream Hearse, its creator, Kat Taylor, was interviewed on the KNKX podcast Sound Effect.
A bumper sticker on the roof of the Chewbaru states “You have to be real secure to be seen in a car like this.” That goes for many of the art cars, but this one in particular. The Chewbaru features 70 lbs of dentures and partials, along with creepy doll heads and vintage dental ads. How does a Subaru become a Chewbaru? If this question plagues your mind, along with the question “Is this guy a dentist?” (The answer is “no”) the Chewbaru has its own website.
Chalkboard VW Bus
Chalkboard art seems to be a popular Pinterest thing lately…so why not use chalkboard paint on your VW bus? I always wanted a VW bus to paint, so this incites a bit of envy on my part.
This colorful car brought back some haunting memories. On the front of the roof is a toy called “Iz,”[footnote][/footnote]which, fortunately, is out of production. I swear this thing was possessed. It would start making its infernal noises in the closet in the middle of the night, leading us to run screaming, covering it with blankets, removing its batteries. I was worried that it would end up being like the evil dummy in Twilight Zone…so I passed along the evil and donated it to Goodwill. I passed the front of the car with caution, but Iz was, blessedly, silent. But the back of the vehicle was joyful, drawing happy kids to it with its working bubble machine.
If I can’t put flamingos in my yard, can I put them on my car? I loved this festive and fun SUV.
Beauty on a Budget
This shoe-covered car features a paper-doll hood design.
Burn, Baby, Burn
I wasn’t sure what to call this southwest themed car with its skeleton grill, gas nozzles, vultures, and spoons. The front of the roof reads, “Burn, Baby, Burn,” so I’m betting this art car has been to Burning Man…I didn’t get a chance to ask its human.
1948 Diamond T GPT
If I had to pick an art car to actually drive I think this would be it. This car was commissioned by Colin Case for the 1948 Gran Prix Truck racing series.
License Plate Madonna
This car, made by Harrod Blank who has made a number of other art cars, features a Madonna made of license plates. It apparently used to have a hydraulic lift so it could be stood up, but during the Fremont fair, the Virgin remained supine. If you’re interested, there’s a much better photo at this website (along with photos of some other art cars).
My camera missed a few cars, I know (I like to avoid responsibility, so I’ll blame it on my camera. Here are a few more art cars for your entertainment: