We visited the Art Drive exhibition and made our own (miniature) Art Car

Posted: in Design, Miscellaneous, Projects

Here at Diginate HQ we love art. We also love cars, so when we found out about the Art Drive exhibition just round the corner in Shoreditch we had to go and take a look. As it turned out, none of the art cars were actually for sale, so we decided to make our own.

The BMW Art Car Collection started in 1975, when French racing driver Hervé Poulain invited the American sulptor Alexander Calder to design a car that combined artistic beauty and a ‘perfect object’. Since then there have been a total of sixteen Art Cars by a range of great artists including Andy Warhol, Roy Lichtenstein, Jeff Koons and Jenny Holzer. All these cars were featured in an exhibition that took place in a multi-storey car park in Shoreditch, East London.

Here are some pictures from the exhibition:

Jenny Holzer’s V12 LMR (1999), featuring her trademark messages, in this case her thoughts on racing sport.

Alexander Calder designed the first ever Art Car, a 3.0 CSL, in 1975.

Matazo Kayama was inspired by traditional Japanese art forms when he designed a stylised snow covered 535i in 1990.

César Manrique’s abstract and colourful 730i (1990) was inspired by butterflies and dragonflies. The eyes on the wing mirrors are a nice touch.

Frank Stella’s graph paper 3.0 CSL (1976)

Roy Lichtenstein painted a landscape on his 1977 320 Group 5.

Andy Warhol spent 28 minutes painting his M1 in 1979, using a crude paintbrush and his fingers.

Robert Rauschenberg created an Art Gallery on his 1986 635 CSi, with reproductions of several famous paintings.

Michael Jagamara Nelson painted his M3 Group A Race Version as a landscape seen from a plane. The design includes a kangaroo and an opossum.

Esther Mahlangu was inspired by her South African heritage and painted colourful patterns on her 1991 525i.

Ken Done’s 1989 M3 Group A Race Version was inspired by speed and Australian parrots.

Sandro Chia’s 3 Series Racing Touring Car Prototype from 1992 is covered with disembodied faces staring back at you.

David Hockney turned his 850 CSi inside out and painted the interior of the car, including his dog Stanley.

A.R. Penck painted abstract signs and cave painting-inspired symbols on his 1991 Z1.

Jeff Koons’ 2010 Art Car is our favourite and features an explosion of colour and a real sense of the 300 km/h top speed of the M3 GT2.

Ernst Fuchs called his 635 CSi ‘Feuerfuchs’ (Firefox) when he created his flaming Art Car in 1982.

The exhibition inspired us to create our own art car. BMW weren’t returning our calls, which we took to mean they didn’t require our participation in the official project. Instead, we got online and bought ourselves a lovely pearlescent white E36 M3. Enthusiasts will remember this as one of the finest handling performance cars of the ’90s. Being a scale model, our version lacked the distinctive exhaust note and brutal acceleration, but we were none-the-less delighted with our purchase.

The inspiration for the graphics came from the water vapour that the engine emits and how this would look under a microscope. We took this one step further and imagined how it would look when the car is moving and ended up with a stylised, yet fluent and organic design. The colours came from the Olympic rings, which, as you may have noticed, takes place in London these days.

For the car decals, we used clear vinyl stickers.

Here’s our car, a 1/24 scale model of a BMW M3.

Out of the box with our clear stickers.

Peeling off one of the decal stickers…

…for the front of the car.

Roof sticker. We were very disappointed that the sun roof didn’t work.

Right hand side.

The finishing touch.

This is our finished car.


No doubt who owns this one.

This is the finished right…

…and left hand side of the car.

For more information about the exhibition and the BMW Art Car Collection, visit the Art Drive website.

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