07 Aug The Art Cars are coming, the Art Cars are coming… to the Art Party 2016
You may have seen them at a Bay Area event. Perhaps driving around the grounds at the San Mateo County Events Center during the annual Maker Faire. Perhaps at the Art Car Fest in downtown San Jose. They’re highly imaginative, artistic vehicles: part art confection, part mechanical contraption, and 100% imagination. They’re created by inventive minds and crafty hands. They spur your own flights of fancy. They’re the Art Cars and some of them are indeed coming to Art Party 2016 in San Jose this September.
Just what is an Art Car? Truly, they defy group description because each embodies a personal artistic vision and statement, as unique as their inventor/artist/creator. Perhaps a rolling teapot or a gigantic Little Red Wagon with a V8 engine and chrome exhaust pipes. Maybe a shell-and-stone-encrusted Toyota with a Bernie Sanders 2016 bumper sticker. They might serve as a giant terrarium for a caveman dashboard diorama; or they may be a sports coupe covered with cursive poetry. Some are human-powered; some are solar-powered; and some are powered by the chemically-refined remains of defunct dinosaurs.
The latest Art Car sighting was at the 5th Annual Obtainium Cup Contraptor’s Rally and Art Car Jam held in Alden Park on Vallejo’s Mare Island during a mid-July weekend. Obtainium Works, a group of hardcore tinkerers and steam bohemians (aka steampunkers) who fabricate mobile art out of repurposed industrial detritus—“obtainium”—sponsored the event. (Mare Island is the site of the first permanent, west coast U.S. naval installation, established in 1854 by Commodore (“Damn the torpedoes, full speed ahead” ) Farragut.)
You really don’t know what you are going to see when the Art Cars flock together. You just know that you’re going to see something intensely interesting (or many somethings). That’s why some of these Art Cars are flocking to the Art Party in San Jose this September. So if you want to see them in person, make plans to attend now.
Here are a few photos of the Art Cars and people present at the recent Art Car Jam in Vallejo:
Some Art Cars transcended display; some raced in the Sunday Obtainium Cup Contraptor’s Rally—a 4-mile course around Vallejo’s Mare Island while contending with Flying Monkeys, Zombies, Robots, and a Mad Tea Party designed to impede the race and challenge the racers. Members of the Sacramento Seampunk Society created a Mad Hatter challenge for rally participants, presenting them with tasks including: reading to the Dormouse, playing croquet with the Queen of Hearts, sipping tea with other characters, avoiding grinning cats and large birds, answering riddles, and figuring out word puzzles.
Here are a few photos from the Obtainium Cup Contraptor’s Rally (photos by Donna Eck):