'Mobile multimedia' rolls into town on tax day

By Robert O'Brien
Arizona Daily Wildcat
April 16, 1996

Arizona Daily Wildcat

The Doll Car, created by Phillip, Gypsy, and Cypress Estrada, can be seen this Monday at UA's Arts Oasis.


What image does the term "Art Cars" conjure up? Perhaps the subtle details that make a vintage Ferrari or Jaguar worth more than the GNP of a small country? A more grass-roots, literal-minded interpretation of the concept will be displayed at the University if Arizona's Arts Oasis, Monday, just in time to raise your flagging tax day spirits.

Denizens of Fourth Avenue likely have witnessed Bisbee artist Kathleen Pearson's astonishing "Love 23," a 1983 Ford LTD station wagon resplendent in pink leopard-spotted paint, to say nothing of the hundreds of plastic figures attached to the body. This awe-inspiring machine has graced the pages of "Rolling Stone" and will be joined by at least seven other examples of rolling sculpture, including fellow Bisbee artist Philip Estrada's aptly named "Doll Car," with its 300-plus decorated dolls prominently displayed. Even more gargantuan examples of the genre include the "Super Coupe," a Dodge Colt with room addition, and "The Host," a huge insect with full-sized van precariously attached.

Harrod Blank's 1992 documentary, "Wild Wheels," brought notoriety to this rather recent form of mobile multimedia. The film focused on the annual gathering in Houston, the Art Car Parade. The artists will be on hand to answer questions about their works before driving the cars to Texas for this year's gathering of the tribes. One answer to the obvious question "Why?" was provided by an art-car artist, who said he just did it to make people smile. So, on your way back from that harrowing trip to the post office, seize the opportunity to laugh and be avant-garde simultaneously.