Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Art Car Caravan

We just got back from participating in the SW Art Car Caravan from Los Angeles, CA to Douglas, AZ. What an adventure! The Cadwac, our art car, had been with my brothers in Southern California for the past year so our friend Mark drove us out to pick it up. We tried to get there in time for the first event of the Caravan, an artwalk in Santa Ana, CA. Unfortunately, when we got to my brother's house, the battery on the Cadwac was dead and we couldn't revive it in time for the show.

We spent the next two days re-painting and adding art to the car. We also got the battery charged, all the fluids topped off, and got it ready to go on a long trip. The first event the Cadwac could make it to was on Tuesday night at the Petersen Automotive Museum in Los Angeles. About eight art cars were present for that event. The cars were displayed in front of the museum's entrance which is in their parking garage.One of the purposes for the caravan was for the organizer, Harrod Blank, to screen his new documentary about art cars. At each major stop a film screening was scheduled.

The next stop was the True World Gallery in Joshua Tree, CA. During the day we toured interesting sites around Joshua Tree. The most interesting, to me, was Noah Purifoy's art environment. It consisted of sculptures and building all made out of junk. We also did a photo shoot at Giant Rock. Giant Rock is supposedly a place where UFO's are seen often. It's a beautiful spot to shoot pictures. In the evening, Harrod's movie, Automorphosis, was shown at the True World Gallery. Afterwards we went out to a campground for the night.

In the morning we drove through Joshua Tree National Monument. On the way there, we stopped by the studio of metal, and junk, artist, Bobby Furst. His studio was amazing! He had such a delicious collection of objects all fairly neatly organized. What an inspiring place. Thanks, Bobby, for letting us visit. On the way through Joshua Tree, we stopped for a photo shoot. Then we blazed onward. Our next stop, Salvation Mountain, near Niland, CA.

Harrod did a special screening at Salvation Mountain for Leonard Knight, creator of this monumental art environment. Leonard is getting pretty old so it was a special treat to see him watching Harrod's movie. Unfortunately, I think he fell asleep during the part of the movie that he, and Salvation Mountain, are in. We spent the night in East Jesus with art car artist and iconoclastic visionary, Charlie Russell.

Early the next morning Harrod, with his two cars, and Nita and I, in the Cadwac, headed east across the desert to Yuma, for a brief photo shoot, lunch, and meeting with the mayor. Then on to Tucson. A full day of driving. We stopped at some really out-of-the-way gas stations and always drew a crowd. In Tucson several other cars joined us for Tucson's Second Saturdays art walk downtown. Harrod showed Automorphosis and the cars were displayed near the theater.

The largest event was next. Bisbee is known for having a lot of art cars for its size. There were eleven cars at Bisbee plus live bands and lots of fun. The Sierra Vista Herald covered the event and wrote a nice article with pictures. The last stop was at Art Car World. This will be a museum for art cars. There is a lot of work to do here, but Harrod has a great vision and I wish him success. He already has a small collection of art cars including one of my all-time favorites, "Carthedral," by Rebecca Caldwell.

We got back home last night. Now the Cadwac is leaking just about everything it can leak - oil, transmission fluid, coolant. I have a little bit of work to do to get it back into shape for another trip. It gets to rest awhile now, though. Winter is coming and that is not a good time to drive a car with no roof or heater.

We had a great time on the caravan. Click here for my pictures.

Here are some other people's blog posts and media coverage of the trip:
Cynthia's Hi-Desert Blog - about our visit to True World Gallery in Joshua Tree
Paintress Gretchen - photos of the Bisbee show