Car Buyer Labs

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Artists in the Market for Used Cars

The market for used cars continues to grow. As the inventory of leased vehicles rises, there are more used cars on the market. Perhaps they’re being sold by a dealership or perhaps the drivers are selling them. Whatever the case, buyers are attracted to their low prices and good quality.

Sure, you’re advertising your used car for sale on Craigslist and other websites to potential buyers in your area. Maybe you’ve put a “For Sale” in its window. But who would ever think of artists buying used cars for sale? Believe it or not, artists use car parts or sometimes the entire car for their artwork. Here’s proof…

My Little Beast

Recently, Israeli visual effects artist Eugene Romanovsky turned his used car into an out-of-this-world, action-packed two-minute video to advertise its features. The old 1996 Suzuki Vitara SUV, which Romanovsky refers to as “my little beast,” is first seen driving in ordinary landscapes.

Then the video, set to the epic cinematic soundtrack, “Legends,” really draws the viewer in by making the car appear in famous movies and on the moon, in the jungle, and under the ocean. The Latvian-born artist used some amazing wizard editing to make it look like his “best friend for 10 years” was driving alongside dinosaurs, down snow-capped mountains, and on cliff tops. He even placed his beloved vehicle in a scene from the movie Mad Max: Fury Road and Jurassic Park. His goal in making the movie? Of course, he wanted to sell the car but he also wanted to show how special, iconic, and loved the car is.

Since it first appeared on YouTube in early April, it has been seen by more than 3.2 million viewers. Dozens of interested buyers from as far away as Argentina and here in the U.S. inquired about the 1996 Suzuki but unfortunately none of them lived in Israel. In the end, Romanovsky did sell his used car to an Israeli who had not seen the video.

Iconic Sculpture

If you happen to be in Washington, D.C. take a look at the used car at the Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden on the Mall at the Smithsonian. There in the museum’s main entrance is a large-scale sculpture of a 9,000-pound boulder smashing into a 1992 Chrysler Spirit. Entitled “Still Life With Spirit and Xitle,” it was acquired by the museum from celebrated artist Jimmie Durham last year. It is regarded as one of Durham’s most significant works.

So what does this sculpture have to do with a used car? Durham used the ancient eruption of Mexico City’s nearby volcano Xitle and a giant red basalt boulder from a nearby archeological site quarry to dramatize the outflow of lava that destroyed the ancient city of Cuicuilco. To do this, Durham had the boulder dropped by crane onto the roof of the used car. Then he painted the boulder with a snarky, cartoon-like face. Durham chose the used car because it “is the fastest and roughest on the road, used by both the police and crooks all over Mexico at the time.”

Durham will be on the lookout for another used car for sale as the current 1992 Chrysler Spirit disintegrates. His choice for the next car being crushed by the boulder would be one of the typical Washington, D.C. diplomat cars, something like a Cadillac Escalade from a police motorcade.

Dinosaur Car Sculptures

In northern New Jersey, Jim Gary has purchased used cars for sale to make art in his backyard. Specifically, this sculptor uses old car parts from abandoned automobiles to build giant dinosaurs. In Gary’s modest home, you’ll find a 25-foot-tall purple dinosaur and a pink, yellow, and green pterodactyl holding the mailbox at the end of the driveway. At Christmas, he decorates all of the animals with lights and puts Santa Claus riding a dinosaur. Gary’s automobile-made dinosaur sculptures have even moved beyond his home to grace a display at the Children’s Garden at the New Jersey State Aquarium in Camden. He created a 35-foot-long red Apatosaurus, a plant-eating dinosaur, for the children’s museum display.

Gary, who builds ”20th-century dinosaurs out of the refuse of modern society,” sometimes needs as much as parts from up to 50 cars to create each dinosaur. It can take him up to six to nine months to complete each sculpture. He usually finds the necessary car parts at a junkyard in New Jersey where he pays 50 to 90 cents per piece. The used car parts are taken to his studio where he builds the amazing creatures weighing up to 1,400 pounds.

Used car parts from American vehicles are preferred because they are heavier and sturdier than those from foreign cars. The body and motor from a 1960 Pontiac were used to build a crane to move his dinosaur creatures. Gary’s work has been seen at the Smithsonian Institution, California Academy of Sciences in San Francisco, and at Ripley’s Believe It or Not in Orlando, Florida, where one of his dinosaurs was used in a Ripley’s television show on unusual art. Since it became so popular, Ripley’s bought a 30-foot-long, 15-foot-high bright yellow dinosaur for its museum in Taegu, Korea.

High Line Car Art Sculpture

Along one of the most popular outdoor walks in New York City is the High Line, a converted railroad track for pedestrians. The walk features flora and fauna, views of the Hudson River, and amazing artwork. Last year one of the standout sculptures was called Smart Tree by Nari Ward, a Jamaican born artist who lives in New York City. It was a sculpture of a Smart car propped on cinder blocks and covered with a patchwork of cut tire treads that became a giant vase for an apple tree. Ward used images from his childhood of his father buying a used car for sale that he intended to fix but left sitting in his front yard. It eventually sprouted a lime tree. The sculpture has been praised as a mirror reminding viewers of the High Line’s history as a major transportation artery in Manhattan.

So the next time you are in the market for a used car, perhaps you’ll envision that same vehicle as a piece of art for an artist to use for visual effects.