BURLINGTON – Whether covered in multi-colored jewelry, flamingos, sunglasses and shoes, or flags and political messages, each art car expresses the personality of the owner (and artist).
Twenty-two unique art cars were on display Saturday at the Art CARnival, a fundraiser for the Rick Epting Foundation for the Arts in Skagit County. The event was co-sponsored by Dwayne Layne’s Skagit Subaru and was held outside the Burlington car dealership.
“These are essentially the best (art) cars in the Pacific Northwest,” said Ranger Kidwell-Ross, a resident of Algiers and secretary of the Epting Foundation, a non-profit organization.
He said that to his knowledge, Saturday’s event was the first time an art car event has been held in Skagit or Whatcom counties. The nonprofit chose to host the event because it matched the organization’s mission to improve community through the arts.
Kidwell-Ross said he launched his own toy-themed art car, “Toynota”, during the Great Recession to boost people’s morale.
“(Art cars) are just as varied as people,” he said. “They really reflect people’s personalities.”
At Saturday’s event, guests could vote for favorites in categories such as “most confusing” and “most likely to be saved by the crusher”.
Julie McGuff of Seattle estimates her 1998 Honda Civic is dazzled by thousands of little blue and green gems, adding around 200 pounds to the car. She started the project in 2013, first covering the car in fridge magnets before deciding to attach the jewelry permanently.
The car is as much a work of art as it is a means of getting around.
“It’s my one and only everyday car,” said McGuff.
Dennis Brandt and Jim Wilson, also from Seattle, made illustrations from two of their vehicles.
The first is a 1965 Chevrolet van named Gilda Van GoGo, which both described as a glamped camper van. The second is a 2002 Kia Rio decorated in a blue and white theme and with ducks and tea cups, among other things.
Brandt said he prefers to let the cars speak for themselves. “It’s a lot easier to take a step back and let the cars take the glory,” he said.
He too uses the car as an everyday vehicle.
“There are a lot of people who notice and look away,” Brandt said. “I think that’s the exception. Most people love it.”