The Best Automotive Art in 2020 - Classic Car Art - Muscle Car

The Best Automotive Art in 2020 – Classic Car Art



Written by Elise

11th November 2020

The Best Automotive Art in 2020 – Classic Car Art
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The Best Automotive Art in 2020 – Classic Car Art

By Charlotte Iggulden

Since the arrival of the first automobiles, automotive design has become an art form and an indelible part of culture and history. Through the decades, visual artists and art collectors across the world have been inspired by their pleasing lines and curvature, as both machines and works of art. 

Nowadays, automotive art is everywhere. Think of those nameless engineers in the mid-twentieth century who designed and drew car shapes by hand, using rulers and compasses on translucent paper. Or the people who sketched the Mustang or Cobra badges for the first time before submitting them for approval. 

Now, cast your mind back to the last car advert you saw. Was that real film footage, or CGI? Is paintwork naturally that glossy? Who built the vector for the car’s blueprints, a computer or someone with a vision?

Art takes all shapes. Like cars, really.

Types of Automotive Art in History

Car art is created primarily for beauty or aesthetics, rather than utility. Traditional fine art methods such as oil painting, watercolour, pencil drawings, and bronze sculpture have expanded to include innovative creations in acrylic, pen, digital, metal, wire, wood, resin, and even ice. 

Like other art forms, automotive art has seen changes in style and forms since people started seeing the beauty and potential that lay beyond the gears and the powerful engines. Art tells stories, of course, and as car models changed so did our perception of them. 

One of the most mesmerising forms of modern automotive art lies in the BMW museum, where a kinetic car sculpture, comprised of 714 metallic balls in motion, continuously synchronizes into the shape of a historic motor vehicle before evolving into contemporary cars. Machine and art effortlessly coalesce, with each piece in its perfect place. A few YouTube videos have captured its movement to classical music, making it a meditative, relaxing experience:

Art Cars 

Art cars are vehicles that have been customised by artists since the 1960s, as a form of artistic expression or political statement. As part of the BMW Art Car project, Andy Warhol, Roy Lichtenstein, and Jenny Holzer created canvases for automobiles, with Warhol’s creation currently on display at the BMW museum. 

To make a comment on the establishment, John Lennon commissioned JP Fallon to paint his 1965 Rolls-Royce Phantom V in the style of a Romany caravan; his psychedelic creation is now in the Royal British Columbia Museum in Canada. As a way to immortalise American road travel, ten graffiti-spattered classic cars lie half-buried in a line at Cadillac ranch near Route 66. Created in 1974 by a group of artists, visitors are encouraged to bring spray paint and make their own mark on the vehicles. 

John Lennon Rolls Royce

Unintentionally, car manufacturers have even created a new art form by camouflaging prototypes with elaborate motifs to distract attention from their identity.

In 2020, Instagram is an ideal platform for visual graphic artists like Tim Layzell and professional automotive designers like Camilo Pardo to share their creations, followed even by Facebook itseld. You can find a myriad of unique automotive art, such as miniature model dioramas created by Michael Paul Smith and Eddie Putera. Automobile components like engines have even been repurposed as coffee tables. Not all established artists have social media, so fans have created accounts to share their work.

So, without further ado, here is a selection of the best automotive and classic car artists trending in 2020:

Noémie Marmorat/Gasoline M.A.A.B – Hyperrealist Drawings

Noémie, also known as Gasoline M.A.A.B., is a French artist, raised in a family of motorcyclists. She produces realistic commissioned drawings of motorcycles, and classic or competition cars in pencil and touchmark pens, taking between 10 and 20 hours to complete each one. Her work is so popular on Instagram that her hobby has become a profession. 

As a perfectionist, she pays great attention to mechanics and sees their details as an enjoyable challenge. She recently drew a Shelby AC Cobra, alongside the pictured 1968 Ford Mustang

Instagram @gasoline_maab.

Dexter Brown – Poster and Impressionist Art

The Automotive Art of Dexter Brown

Established British artist Dexter Brown, is regarded as one of the leading automotive painters alive today. Although he also paints wildlife and portraits, he is most known for his illustrated period race posters in the 1960s and ‘70s. In a combination of impressionist, abstract, and almost photographic styles, he captured the speed and dynamic motion of race cars. His distinctive designs have since influenced many contemporary automotive artists.

A selection of his paintings and vintage posters are available to buy online.

Benedict Radcliffe – Wireframe Cars

With an interest in bikes and cars from the age of four, Ben Radcliffe uses his background in architecture, engineering, and metalworking to create life size wire replicas of iconic automobiles like the Lambourghini Countach, Ferrari F40, Subaru Impreza and Plymouth Superbird. He brings their blueprints to life by carefully selecting their fundamental lines before constructing 3D transparent sculptures from steel bars. 

His neon structures are reminiscent of the Tron films, with the boundaries of a computer program and physical world collapsing. 

Ben’s geometric structures have been collected by Comme des Garcons, Puma, and Paul Smith, in addition to being displayed at the V&A. In 2012, he was involved in Honda’s Dream Factory and was named as one of its twelve ‘Cultural engineers.’ 

Instagram: @benedictradcliffe.

Syd Mead – Film Artist, Visual Futurist, and Automotive Designer 

Syd Mead (1933-2019) was considered one of the first concept designers, known for his visionary work on science-fiction films such as Blade Runner and Tron, where he showed his unique skill at combining humanity and technology. His artwork for Blade Runner was initially produced as context for his vehicle designs, but they became the basis for the film’s overall look. He also heavily influenced the aesthetic of Blade Runner 2049. His retro-futuristic artworks are predominantly optimistic and contributed towards the term ‘Visual Futurist’.

Mead began his career as a car designer; his Sentinel 280 concept car influenced the wedge-shaped supercars of the late ‘60s and early ‘70s. At least two generations of artists and designers have been inspired by him, with fans regularly sharing their favourite seminal artworks.

Ernest Tsarukyan – Automotive Designer and Artist

After graduating with a Chemistry degree at the University of Moscow, Ernest studied Automotive Design, doing freelance work illustrating articles on the history of cars for several car magazines. 

During an internship at Audi in 2003, he worked on the development of the Audi A1 and his most significant project: the Lamborghini Aventador; his 1:4 scale clay model was chosen out of twelve competitors and forms the design roots of today’s Lamborghinis. As a Senior Designer, he was involved in the Audi Quattro concept in 2010, shown in Paris. Following this, he worked at VW on commercial vehicles before moving to BMW, where he works now.

Tsarukyan admires automobiles from different time periods and regularly visits classic car shows. In his spare time, he shares his hand-drawn sketches and drawings for fun on his Instagram and Facebook accounts. 

Tsarukyan is partly self-taught, having drawn cars since he was two years old. His style has a soft, energetic yet nostalgic quality. He is inspired by the world around him, from people to cars, sci-fi films, anime, manga, and visual futurists. His favourite aspect of his drawings is the ‘Future which never happened,’ where he explores his childhood dreams.

“Many designers and artists believe that to be creative you have to experience many different things in life, and sometimes not good things. I’m completely opposite. I believe that a strong family is the biggest part of your success and achievements.”

Ernest’s drawings are not available for sale, but you can enjoy his creations via social media:

Instagram @ernest.tsarukyan
Facebook @Ernest Tsarukyan

Woodworking Art – Sculpture Youtuber

The classic 1967 Shelby GT500 is recreated in wood by Youtuber Woodworking Art on their DIY YouTube channel. The viewer watches three weeks of work condensed into a few minutes, as the artist expertly sculpts, and chisels different blocks of wood into a finished Mustang. Both sides of the car are carved separately, alongside all its components, including a steering wheel which operates turning wheels. 

Watch on YouTube @WoodworkingArt

Charlotte Iggulden – Automotive Paintings and Drawings

Aside from enjoying writing articles and reviews for Muscle Car UK, I am also a professional fine artist and art blogger. I have been selling my paintings and producing commissions since I was fifteen, when my teachers began buying my artwork. I have since exhibited across the UK and internationally, including at The National Trust and Kensington Palace

I specialise in realistic art, mostly in oils, pencil, or charcoal. I paint a wide range of subjects, including portraits, wildlife, and landscapes, and I love discovering new ones. I have been raised in a family of classic car enthusiasts and have recently begun drawing and painting classic and race cars, muscle cars, and bikes. 

My family are mostly designers, so I am naturally inspired by design and engineering, both in nature and manmade. The cover image is my drawing of a 1959 Cadillac Coupé de Ville and the inset picture here is based on a 1958 Lister-Chevrolet ‘Knobbly’ that featured in the Goodwood Revival races in September 2019.

Find out more on my social media and website:

Instagram @charlotte_iggulden_art 

Facebook @Charlotte Iggulden Art

Turning a Work of Art Into a Work of Art

To paint, draw, or even sculpt an automobile an artist needs great observational skill to interpret its key design. In paintings or drawings, the artist is faced by many challenges, including reflections and shiny metal. Whether monochromatic or colourful, the vehicle should always be recognisable. As explained, not all car art has to be wall-mounted; sculptures, model diorama and even items of furniture have their place in automotive art.

Art is subjective, but in general, the best automotive art is a homage to the beauty of the classic car design, whilst creating a new way to perceive it.

Author: Charlotte Iggulden

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