Art Car Making

October 8th, 2017



Art Car Basics by Kim Ritter
Spring Street Studios #134


Types of Art Cars/Bikes/Scooters/Motorcycles

Painted or Airbrushed

Mutant: A car that no longer looks like a car

Mixed Media: Cars with various things attached

Daily Driver: A car which is driven all the time, not just in parades

Art Car Painting

1. Start with a car that runs well and will last
2. Use materials that will last
3. Consider safety
4. Consider added weight
5. Clean the car well
6. Tape off parts not to be painted
7. De-grease with TSP
8. Lightly sand. Do not go down to the metal
9. Paint with 1Shot paint
10. Clear Coat with a 2-part polyurethane like Shop-Line
11. Use Goof Off to clean up hands and brushes and to pick up drips

Mutant Car Making
1. Cut off the unnecessary parts of the body
Weld or rivet on the mutant metal parts

2. Or use a mold and fill with expanding foam, and cover with fiberglass paper and then sand and paint

3. Or use dowels to connect Styrofoam to form a block, carve and use Bondo to cover, sand, paint, sand, clear coat. Attach to car.

4. Use large 3 D lightweight elements like mannequins, instruments etc., then cover with beads, tiles etc.

5. Almost anything goes! Use the skills you already possess to create something uniquely you

Mixed Media Cars:

1 Use magnets or silicone for lightweight objects
2 Use Amazing Goop for larger items
3 Rivet or weld large pieces of metal

Places to go in your art car

Houston Art Car Parade ( 4 days of fun!)
Burning Flipside
Burning Man
Local parades: Thanksgiving Day parade, Gay Pride Parade, St Patrick’s Day Parade, Mardi Gras Parade in Galveston and others
Houston Art Car Klub Illuminated Cruise Fall and Spring
Hack exhibitionat Traders Village
Tulsa OK Art Car Parade
Victoria TX Art Car Parade
Trinidad CO Parade
Art Togeau, Lawrence KS
Houston’s Art Car Museum
The grocery store and all your errands

Many of these parades offer travel stipends and lodging
Artists are also offered tickets, etc. to attend art events, film openings etc
You can get parade car insurance, if you do not drive your car daily.
You will need a safety inspection, insurance and a fire extinguisher to ride in parades.

1Shot paint: Texas Art Supply or on-line
Shop-Line clear coat: AJ Foyt
Costuming: Frankel’s, Arne’s, Party Boy, resell shops
Houston Art Car Klub

Arts Insight Interview

October 5th, 2015

Arts Insight TV

August 19th, 2015

Arts Insight TV, a Thursday night PBS series, was in my studio filming yesterday. My friend Fujio is a videographer with the show and he pitched me to the producers. They arrived at 1 and I learned that I should not have worn a Game of Thrones shirt that said Mother of Dragons. It seemed perfect given the fact that one of my latest series is called Dragonworks. But a trademark is not good for filming…guess I knew that…. but didn’t connect the dots.  After the interview the producer Laura and I spent a lot of time talking about Game of Thrones ad Fujio filmed my studio, art and art car. It should air in Sept or October and it will go on You Tube after that.



Abundance: A Retrospective of Art Quilts by Kim Ritter

January 9th, 2014

I will have an opening on Jan 17th at 7pm at Capitol Street Gallery 6701 Capitol Street Houston TX 77011


The Art Cars

December 27th, 2013

I made my first art car, the Piecemobile in 2008. It was a tribute to my passion for quilting and sewing and was made from a 1999 Sebring convertible.

It was ruined in Hurricane Ike, along with most of the stuff in my studio, and  the stuff in my husband’s man cave.

The second car was a collaboration between my husband and I. He came up with the idea of the Peace Expedition, using our 1996 Ford Expedition as the base.

The Peace Expedition

peace-expedition_PSpeace Expedition



AlongCame  Spider was next..a Fiat Spider was the base…it never ran worth a cr@p


Along Came a Spider Art Car 2010

Along Came a Spider Art Car 2010




After that I made my Mustang into an art car




More on the Opening

November 29th, 2013


November 2nd, 2013












































The Open Studio was success in spite of the rain. We had a great turn out and I learned a lot about doing a pop-up gallery for a night.

Ginny Eckley and Susan Ennis made it out to see my studio and it was great to hook up with old quilting buddies. We had 2 groups of people come up from Galveston for the night. People came from Spring and Spring Branch and Katy and Friendswood. Mayoral candidate of many times, Ralph Ulrich, spent some time around the pool chatting with old friends.

The art cars that turned out were fabulous (who wouldn’t want to ride around in a giant 12 foot chicken like Smitty Regula’s Hen-a-Tron). Nicole Strine’s mirrored car twinkled, while Deb Elliot Pterodactyl car glittered. My art car Must Tangle is a painted peace vehicle while my husband John’s Peace Expediton lights up the night with rope light and a glowing dome and globes.

The inside gallery showed my newest dragon quilts, and two dragon quilts by Deb Elliott. Some of my glass work and jewelry was on display along with firecracker hats by Erik Kolflat, Terry Brooks, and Kenny Browning. Tisha Browning lent us three watercolors for the evening and installed her “Piece of Fly-Pa-Cat” giant glowing metal butterfly in the main gallery. Kelli Walker’s “Untitled” a mixed media painting, her beaded shawl and her Magpie Chandelier graced the main gallery as well.

The newest art installations for the yard we have commissioned glowed, literally. The Oil Barrel/Water Barrel change colors and give a nice ambience as they flank the residence steps. The giant Richard Cranium installation by Scrap Daddy with fire poi overlooks the pool, the 10 foot goat torch by Kenny Browning lights the back of the garden, while the new Time Ma-Shrine by Joseph Buttle stood by ready to beam prayers into other times and spaces.
Also installed in our yard, are the lighted Magic Mushrooms by Kim and John Ritter. The front gate, ramp and door are by
Dolan Smith. The 30thAnniversary Boat Fender was salvaged by Shay Fyre and Justin Khine, The Dancing Girl at the wooden gate is by Mark David Bradford. Inside the fence are the Horse and Dog on Side of Gallery by Mark David Bradford. Spot the Dog by the quilt studio door is also by him.
The Cement Women in back porch posts of the gallery are the creations of Dolan Smith. He also created the Dome, The Man of 10,000 Nails outside gallery back door and the Pillar by the dome . The Pet Cemetery Wallis is also by Dolan Smith. The Peace Fire Pit Cover was made by metal-smith Christopher Gorman
I appreciate all the artists who lent work for the night and look forward to having other open studio events. Thanks also to my volunteers Christopher Gorman and Shannon Abernathy.

Directions to Studio

August 24th, 2013


May 15th, 2013


3 lbs beef stew meat

Preheat oven to 325 with rack positioned on bottom third.

Spread meat on paper towels for 20 minutes to dry all excess juice.

Brown in very small batches on high heat in a 6qt Dutch oven, using a small amount of vegetable oil. Remove and drain.

Add vegetable oil as needed and add

1 chopped onion,

2 medium celery sticks

3 cloves garlic minced
1 medium carrot

and cook until softened 5-6 minutes stirring and scraping pot.

Add 1 bay leaf

1 teaspoon dried chilies

and cook for a minute or two more.

Add one cup red wine to deglaze the pan, raise heat and scrape pan, boil and reduce by half about 5 minutes.

Add 2 1/2 cup homemade vegetable stock and the meat. Cover and place in oven and stew for 1 to 2 hours

Add vegetables stew in oven, cover and simmer until everything is tender …about one hour.

Vegetables: parsnips turnips rutabaga, golden beet, carrot, celery, onions, potatoes.

Vegetable Stock

Use the peelings and ends of parsnips, turnips rutabagas, golden beets, carrots, celery, onions, and add some lettuce if you have it.

Add all to a big pot and cover with water. You can add a ham hock if you are not a vegetarian.

Add cracked pepper and a small amount of salt. You can add thyme and lemons cut in half if you wish or any herb. 1/2 bunch of cilantro is optional but good.

Bring to a simmer slowly and put on lowest setting and cover and cook for a few hours or all day.
Strain out the vegetable stuff and use as a base for vegetable soup or beef stew or it makes beans tasty with some cilantro in the broth.

Painting an Art Car

April 25th, 2013

I am repainting my art car and am writing this so I won’t forget what works for the next time!


This is my current paint job. The yellow and pink are One Shot, the blue is the color of the car. I used painters tape to mask off the areas. I wish I had masked off all the rubber, too. Most of the details were created using Sharpie Paint Pens. They worked great for a few months but eventually faded to white chalk. I Mod Podged them to make them more permanent but that didn’t work. The chalky residue washed off completely with Goof Off. Which is a nice feature if you want to make a new incarnation of your art car often. I used stick on labels to mask off the peace signs and the hearts before painting the car the first, so they are permanent.

Goof Off also works well for cleaning your hands and brushes and any mistakes while wet. I  mixed the One Shot 9 parts paint and one part hardener. The paint thickens slightly with the hardener and a skin will form overnight even in a small sealed container like the tiny mason jar I used. Mix the paint with hardener  in small quantities that you can use up within a few hours. Wrap your paint brush in plastic wrap if you are taking a short break.
I will post picture when I am finished!