KUZYK Diary | Art Cars in the 1970s

December 18, 2021 | Elizabeth Kuzyk

When I design, I think about function and I think of opportunity - the opportunity to enhance inner strength. Functional art and design are very similar that way - it makes us feel something. It lifts us up.

I am inspired by the unexpectedness of everyday objects as art. The art car movement in the 1970's is just that. When stumbling across these playful vehicles, I thought - "What is this? I want to play too." I love cars. I love to drive fast and far. That space leads to clarity and freedom for ideas and inspiration.

Race cars started being used for advertisement in the late '60s at Formula 1, and eventually color and decoration was introduced in the mid '70s. Hervé Poulain was the bridge between both worlds: advertisement and art. He saw the body of the vehicle as a canvas and enlisted his friend, artist and sculptor, Alexander Calder to create an 'art car' which was one of his final works.

In the late 1970s, Roy Lichtenstein followed. He wanted to have the car echo the race itself, and painted a countryside on either side of his 320 race car. He described his work, "I wanted the lines I painted to be a depiction on the road, showing the car where to go."

Andy Warhol was the final artist to create an art car in the 1970s, and it was arguably the most iconic. In 1979, the artist colored an M1 Group 4 with a thick coat of paint - that still looks fresh to this day.