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Every year at the Seattle Fremont Fair, in a nearby parking lot, a collection of very weird cars appear. The Seattle Art Car blowout has been going on for many, many years now — and some of the cars are pretty…astonishing (choosing the right word is difficult in this case.) Whether you like some of them or not, you must admit that the owners of these creations have put a great amount of effort into such activities as turning a poor, plain, Subaru into a sort of creepy dental museum on wheels.
This is a post I wrote about some of my favorite Seattle art cars from the 2018 event. You’ll see some of the same cars returning year after year, and some new ones in the mix each year. For the next dates for this event, click here.
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The neighborhood into which we moved from a private, wooded, property came complete with HOA. The manual laid out for us, with badly Xeroxed images, the things which weren’t allowed in our yard: windmills, pink flamingos, gnomes. A big “no” symbol was emblazoned over the images — just in case we didn’t understand that these tacky decor could offend a neighbor. Something about this incited my husband to small rebellions — one of which was stealth-placing a bunch of miniscule gnomes throughout our property. Ten years later, I still find the occasional gnome lurking in a bush.
Something tells me having a gnome wagon sitting in my driveway would not be approved..
But just that — a gnome wagon — was one of many decorated vehicles at the 2018 Seattle Art Car Blowout at the Fremont Fair. Cars ranged from the fun to the somewhat disturbing. Here are a few of the best ones (in my opinion.)
The Gnome Wagon
This demon-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 long DarkRide “making of” video below — the car’s not quite finished. At the 2018 show it had a completion date of that 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! 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. 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.
Chalkboard Volkswagen 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.” “Iz” was in our house at one point. “Was,” because “Iz” had to go, being one of those posessed toys that would start randomly talking in the closet at night and didn’t seem to have a working off switch, short of breaking it. So we passed along the evil to Goodwill. You’re welcome, recipient!
So it was that I tiptoed past the front of the Toynota with extreme caution. Fortunately Iz was, blessedly, silent. But the back of the vehicle was a joyful buzz of activity, 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.
License Plate Madonna
This Seattle art 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 of the Seattle art cars. I like to avoid responsibility, so I’ll blame it on my camera. Here are a few more Seattle art cars that my camera did catch: