is nothing wrong with respecting the views of your neighbor. However, neighbors
should not be allowed to intrude upon your legal freedoms and self expression.
It is in-fact their reciprocal obligation to respect it! The
instinct of Americans to love and cherish their neighbors has not been
ignored by corporate America- it has become their most important
marketing tool. What would be sold if not for the American tradition of
"Keep up with the Jones's"? How many new cars would not have been
sold were it not for that other American tradition of concern for
"what would the neighbors think?"
I have had parents refuse to bring
their kids to my home because of my art. Even my otherwise
tolerant Lutheran pastor did not bring children to my house: "what would
their parents think?" This is intolerable discrimination. We as
cartists however, dont help matters by referring to ourselves in
negative terminology such as crazy and wierd or silly.....We have to do
our part as well. We have to pave the way for tolerance by refraining
from intentionally upsetting and creating hostility. I remember college
age cartists wanting to run through an antique car event just to
irritate the car owners exhibiting there. They did not realize that
antique car owners are our best friends and greatest resources when we
are trying to fix our cars! Once I explained to them that my art was
protecting the 1966 Catalina they became most supportive and helpful!
My good friend was forced to give me his perfectly good
1966 Catalina because of what his wife thought the neighbors might think
of them for owning a newer Toyota while parking the old car next to it.
Perfectly good cars have been taken to the dump to add to pollution and
landfill simply because they were not looking like corporate America demanded
they should look like. I think it is time for a change- if only to cut
down on the waste. Neighbors also do not say all that much! If
neighbors harass and persecute, they are the ones who have to change.
No one's personal rights and freedoms within the law should be at risk
because of their choice to create and drive an artcar. I have personally
lost jobs and opportunities. An artcar is like the color of one's skin-
it is the skin we drive and is no different. This is why we can have no
tolerance for those who describe artcars with bad words such as weird,
strange, odd, silly.....These words only serve to encourage those who
discriminate and persecute.
Perhaps my neighborhood is different but, most of my neighbors
say nothing beyond a few words concerning the weather now and then. In-fact
it was only after I created Stickercar that they talked at all! Artcars
connect with people and actually cause a sense of interaction to develop.
Worrying excessively about what your neighbors think
is also not in keeping with the American concept of "life
liberty and the pursuit of happiness". The common good needs to include elimination from intolerant acts and persecution for anything that is legal under the law.
Surely self expression is an essential goal and
right. Self limitation and confinement to styles and expressions promoted
and sanctioned only by corporate America and elite sub-cultures should be anathema to all residents
of a free society.
New Hampshire still promotes itself using a time honored
American expression: "live free or die". While I would not recommend suicide
I would suggest that this guiding principal should become more of a reality
in America today and the freedom to create an artcar is an essential first step
toward that reality.
In past times Americans were in awe and wonder at that
which came from the new modern era assembly lines. They began to worship
the wonder of the mass produced
form. They enjoyed dancing the dance and, marching to
the beat of the cultures created by the corporate empires. Self expression
was limited to a good wax job and car wash. (except in the cases of a few
brave souls -generally teen agers who applied stylistically rigid custom
paint jobs to their "Hot Rods") Rigidly enforced style was
important. It gave order to American social identity in an expanding era.
There was a time for that. It was new. Now, as we enter the new century
it is time to move on. We can continue to wonder at the mass
produced form and new designs but, we must try to move one step further
to recognize that these designs are just the first step-the framework.
These designs and forms are simply blank canvases provided for us to express
ourselves. The manufactured object is now and should be the starting point
for design. Manufactured goods are not ends in themselves.
An interesting manifestation of this recent trend is the
expansion of craft stores. Such stores make manufactured items and component
parts which are unfinished. One can
furnish one's home with objects that enter the home as
blank canvases upon which one
can exercise personal creativity and expression. So it
is with the automobile in the 21st century. We have an opportunity to seize
control of the canvas.
When one buys a new home the question asked is "how will you paint and furnish it?" the same should be said of the new car.
Car owners can and must be encouraged to complement and extend
the work of the corporate designers with our own expressive artwork and
individual visions. With confidence in our being and survival we
can break apart from rigid nationwide styles to create a multitude
of new soco/cultural entities those entities can find expression in our
automobiles. We can do more than a good car polish and wash to extend and
develop our own personalities and self expression.
As custodians of the artcar concept we must, however,
be very careful with our new medium. It is all too easy to let ourselves
create standards and nationally popular styles. It is too easy to think
that we are being creative only to find that we are purchasing our creation
from the marketplace of ideas rather than creating it ourselves. In America
we see this in gardens and homes. All too often people look to magazines
and stores for their inspiration. They rarely design a-new from the
heart. Today as styles of artcar are starting to emerge we must remember
to grasp our creativity firmly and resist selecting ready made ideas from
the marketplace. If it is anything the artcar must be the very opposite
of the ready made. It can not come "off the shelf". Artcars are free
on wheels and must remain that way!
Take up your freedom, act on it! Drive an artcar and
do you think? Send us e.mail click
Bladey ©1999, 2012