Archive for the ‘Art Car Mania’ Category

The Art Cars

Friday, 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




Painting an Art Car

Thursday, 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!

How to Make Your Hair Bright Blue! Or Hot Pink!

Friday, March 8th, 2013

headshotOne of the questions I get asked all the time as I go around in my colorful car and wearing my brightly dyed hair is ” How do I do that?”

Jill Johnson from originally from Venus Salon in Houston, and now at her own shop on White Oak gave me the skinny back in 2008 when I made my first art car.

The first thing you have to do is bleach your hair platinum! Not blonde, not ash, but white as snow is best.

For me with my very dark brown hair with lots of grey, that means 5 one hour sessions of whitening over a week or more.

My hair is stubborn and goes orange, yellow, straw and finally white. The trick here is not to damage your hair. I do it at home but if you don’t have the know how, this part is best handled by a pro.

I usually spend a week as a platinum blonde as it is interesting to see how people treat me as a blonde as opposed to a brunette.

Next comes the color. I have tried many brands of color and love Rage N Color. It is very bright and lasts a long time. Manic Panic is also good but fades faster. But if you want color that really lasts try the new Ion Color Brilliance Brights Semi-Permanent Hair Color in all the bright colors. Warning! This stuff lasts!!!

Pink in all brands fades fastest of all the colors. After that in least fade resistance is purple.  Blue lasts fairly well and teal lasts longest.

After years of living in the suburbs, driving a normal grey car and living in a grey house, I love having colorful hair, driving a colorful car and living in a colorful house!

It makes me happy!




The Five Questions that Art Car Artists Get Asked All the Time!

Sunday, July 22nd, 2012

1. Can you still DRIVE that thing?
2. How are you going to get that OFF your car?
3. What does that DO to the resale value of your car?
4. Can you get this THING inspected and insured?
5. Why did you do THAT to your car

These five questions are music to my ears when I am out and about in my art car. The answers always lead to fun conversations. To me, it seems the answers are fairly obvious, but given how often I am asked them, they must not be.
“Can you still drive that thing?” Well, of course I can. That’s what makes it an art car, not a sculpture. It can be driven. There are many variations on art cars, but the goal is always the same: to have a vehicle that drives. Some are Mutant Vehicles and are driven in the dessert at Burning Man. Some are parade vehicles driven in parades. Some are daily drivers and are driven every day.
“How will you get that off your car?” is a question that always baffles me and makes me laugh. I have just spent 4 months gluing this stuff on and you think I WANT it to come off? Just the opposite is true! I have researched how to make this stuff stay on as long as possible!
“What does that do to the resale value of the car?” Well, I used to wonder about that as well. When my car was flooded during Hurricane Ike, I got a settlement worth MORE than the blue book value!
“Can you get this thing insured and inspected?” As a daily driver I must be insured and inspected, so I researched the laws in my state and made sure I didn’t cover up my license plate, head or tail lights or exceed the height or width limits for driving on the roads. Getting the car inspected is usually another fun outing, with the inspectors taking pictures of themselves and the car. I make sure that my vehicle is maintained just like any other car and understand that safety is always important.
I keep insurance on the car. Those with parade vehicles who do not routinely drive their cars can even qualify for inexpensive parade insurance. Susan Wingfield was driving her Miata that is a painted art car when someone rear-ended her. The insurance company of the other driver paid her to repaint the damaged portions.
The last question is my favorite. “Why did you do that to your car?” I made my first art car as a rolling advertisement of my artwork. But it in the end I found it was that and so much more. The art car is a smile generator of the most amazing kind. People wave at me as I go by. Teenagers stop to take a pic with their smart phone. Crowds gather around me wherever I go. It’s almost impossible to be in a bad mood when I am driving my art car.


Sunday, July 15th, 2012

A Paz… Galician

Abluka… Moonmadian

Achukma… Choctaw

Alaáfía… Yoruba

Amaithi… Tamil

Aman… Malay, Urdu

Amaní… Swahili

Amniat… Persian, Farsi,

Ashtee… Pashto

Asomdwee… Twi-Akan

Bake… Basque

Barish… Turkish

Béke… Hungarian

Däilama… Daiian

Der Frieden… German

Damai… Indonesian

Diakatra… Maranao

Emem… Efik

Ets’a’an Olal… Maya

‘Éyewi… Nez Perce

Filemu… Samoan

Fois… Scottish, Gaelic

Fred… Danish Fride…Swiss

Frieden… German

Fridur… Icelandic

Goom-jigi… Martian

Hasîtî …Kurdish

Hau… Tahitian

Heddwich… Welsh

Heiwa… Japanese

Hoa Bình… Vietnamese

Heping… Mandarin

Innaihtsi’iyi… Blackfoot

Iri’ni… Greek

Írq… Amharic

Isithangami… Zulu

Kagiso… Setswana

Kalayaan… Philippines

K’é… Navajo

Ketenteraman… Malay

Kutula… Fanagolo

Kwam Sa… Lao

La Pace… Italian,

La Paix… French

La Paqe… Albanian

La Patz… Aranés

La Pau… Catalán

La Paz… Spanish

Lapé… Haitian Creole

Linew… Manobo

Mabuhay… Tagalog

Maluhia… Hawaiian

Meleilei… Ponapean

Melino… Tonga

Mier… Slovak

Miers… Latvian

Mina… Wintu

Mír… Bosnian

Muka-muka… Ekari

Nabad Da… Somali

Ñerane’i… Guaraní

Nimuhóre… Ruanda

Nirudho… Pali

Nye… Ntomba

Paçi… Maltese

Paco… Esperanto

Pax… Latin

Peace… English

Pingan… Chinese

Pokój… Polish, Slovak

Pyong’hwa… Korean

Rahu… Estonian

Rangima’arie… Maori

Rauha… Finnish

Rukun… Javanese

Saamaya… Sinhalese

Saanti… Nepali

Sai Gaai Òh Pìhng… Yue

Salam… Arabic, Persian

Santipap… Thai

Shalom… Hebrew Shîte

Shiy-De… Tibetan

Shanti… Bengali

Shulem… Yidish

Síocháin… Irish

Sìth… Gaelic, Scottish

Soksang… Khmer

Solh… Dari, Persian

Sulh… Turkish

Taika… Lithuainian

Tecócatú… Nhengatu

Thayu… Gikuyu

Tsumukikatu… Comanche

Tuktuquil Usilal… Kékchí 

Ukuthula… Zulu

Vrede… Dutch

Vreugde… Afrikaans

Wetaskiwin… Cree

Wolakota… Lakhota

Wôntôkóde… Micmac

Wo’okeyeh… Sioux

Wook-Wook …Wookie

Yaaloo… Illyrian

Zenabo… Elvish

ZikZik… Zaruthrian


Or Just Say



Art Car Making and Driving is an Experience!

Monday, July 9th, 2012

Art car making and driving is an experience!

One of the unique things about building an art car is that it is hard to hide in the studio. I worked on my first car for four months in my driveway.  In process, I met many neighbors that I would never have met and got to talk to them about my work.

I also had to reach out to other art car artists about how to do what I wanted to do. That meant finding the art car groups on the web and asking questions about processes. When no one knew the answer one of my questions (how to attach fabric to the car without getting bleed through and how to protect it in the sun) I had to use my knowledge from art quilt making to solve those problems through trial and error.  I also found out there was an art car club, so once I had a start on the car, my husband and I attended a few meetings and made lots of friends.

I was not really prepared for the attention being a daily art car driver can bring. It’s a little like being a celebrity. Every time I leave the grocery store, I  find people crowded around my car. Teenagers look up from texting to snap a photo of me when I pass them at the bus stop.  I am a one-car parade wherever I go.

Driving my car to an art opening or a local festival brings lots of photo ops and opportunities to hand out business cards, postcards and to talk about my work.  I am getting better about talking about my work as I have ample times to practice on the people stopping me in parking lots to ask about the car.

I also garnered lots of new invitations to art openings and other artsy events by having the notoriety of being an art car artist.  Art Car artists are unique even in a city like large city like Houston, which is the Art Car Capital of the World.  There are less than 100 dedicated art car drivers in Houston, even though the annual Art Car Parade in May rolls several hundred cars in the parade, many are temporary and just made for the parade by local schools and other groups.

Art cars are a standard feature in many local Houston parades, so those artists with permanent cars find many times to parade in their vehicles. There is now an illuminated art car parade called Gloworama.

Local schools and hospitals and retirement homes often ask for art car artists to visit and show off their cars while galas and other VIP events sometimes offer honorariums for the artists to bring out art cars to act as party props.

Because the art car is basically a rolling piece of art, it can reach a whole new audience. It can be taken to many unusual events like Renaissance fairs, and Burning Man type outdoor festivals.  One artist I know, Bonnie Blue, uses her car Women Who Rock as part of her booth when she sells her hand painted rocks and boots.

I have driven my car to local car events and well and have received warm receptions from the drivers of classic and vintage cars. My second art car “Along Came a Spider” has lace and lacing and lighting and is a 1982 Fiat Spider with a giant metal spider on top that my son Perry and a friend, Ben Gibson built.

The images I have collected of my car make great advertising. The postcards I printed with pictures of my art car on one side and my quilts and website address on the other side were very popular when I was an Artist in Residence at Houston Center for Contemporary Craft.

Other people enjoy capturing my car in photos and I have found my car on blogs and websites. I have been interviewed for the Houston evening News and I was even seen for a fleeting instant on a recent episode of America’s Got Talent in the opening section about Houston.

Making and driving an art car is truly a life changing experience. The total overall effect of the thousands of smiles I have gotten as I drive the streets of my hometown in my various art cars has made my life better.  The drudgery of a trip to grocery is transformed into an adventure.  And I  always arrive in style at every party if I come in an art car!  When my husband and I took my first art car out to a local Burning Man type Festival,  we found friends that we will have for life: people who live life with a real zest for fun and creativity. They drive their art cars out for Santa Rampages and for off the grid Illuminated Cruises.

But watch out! Because they are just so much fun, art car making is catching!

“You missed a spot!”  was the taunt that my husband and son made when I was making the Piecemobile.

But now a few years later after riding in my art car, my husband has created the Peace Expedition and my son has made the Kia Pet, both art cars. My son’s friend Jerred drives a new art car. My friend Chris has an elaborate first art car in the making, and entire group of friends in Galveston created an art truck that they drove in the last Mardi Gras Parade.

I have recently bought a VW Beetle that I am going to make into an art car. Should it become a Lightning Bug? A Lady Bug? These are the questions that keep me up at night!  Maybe worlds will collide again and it will be a Bed Bug.  Whatever happens, I am sure it will be magic!

PS…The Bug got traded in for a Mustang…..stay tuned!

Terry Brooks Peace Purse

Saturday, August 8th, 2009


Sherry Boram’s Peace Orbit

Friday, August 7th, 2009


Meena Schaldenbrand’s Peace Offering

Wednesday, August 5th, 2009



Friday, March 27th, 2009

Send something for the art car Peace Expedition. The Peace Offerings will be displayed with the car at parades etc. Make something under 12 x 12 x 12. If three d and a box or container would be nice too. Send to Kim Ritter
18727 Point Lookout Dr, Houston TX 77058 by April 30th. The work will not be returned but become of the Peace Expedition Collection. I don’t have funds or the time to return them. If at some point I decommission the car, I will donate the work to a good cause. I would like a photo release saying I can photograph the work because the artist will still retain copyright.