Beauty and Performance: The BMW Art Car Project

BMW Art Car

Most car enthusiasts would agree that BMW make beautiful cars, both in terms of how they drive and their aesthetic appeal. However, in 1975, one of BMW’s race car drivers, Frenchman Hervé Poulain, came up with idea of inviting a visual artist to use a BMW as a canvas and create a masterpiece that could then be driven around a racetrack.

The first ‘BMW Art Car‘ as they have become was created by American surrealist and sculptor Alexander Caulder, a man who was close friend of Poulain’s. Poulain then drove the car, BMW 3.0 CSL, in the grueling Le Mans endurance race.

Since Caulder created his ‘BMW Art Car’ sixteen more renowned artists have lent their creativity and vision to the project, including some of the best known names in Modern Art. The results have been stunning, with each car becoming a true work of art that has graced museums all of the world as well as racetracks.

Although we personally love all 17 of the BMW Art Cars, here is a peek at our favorites:

Alexander Calder BMW 3.0 CSL, 1975


Philadelphia native Alexander Calder began his career as an engineer, following in the footsteps of both his father and grandfather, so the concept of working with cars was not necessarily a new one for him. He was also primarily, in terms of the art he created, a sculptor, and so quite comfortable working on such a solid canvas.

To create his art car Calder used brilliant color to, as he put it, ‘reshape’ the car to his own vision while still respecting its original lines.

The BMW was, sadly to be one of the last major works the world was gifted by Calder, as he died just a year after it was completed, at the age of 78. The car itself was driven by Hervé Poulain in the Le Mans 24 Hour race, but had to be pulled after just seven hours due to mechanical failure. Ever since, it, along with the other BMW Art Cars, tours art museums worldwide.

Roy Lichtenstein BMW 320i, 1977


Roy Lichtenstein was, of course, one of the leading lights of the pop art movement of 1960s and 1970s and his trademark ‘Benday Dots’ make the BMW Art Car he created rather easily recognizable as his work. Roy was not just recreating his work on a car body though, he had a distinct vision in mind when he began work on the project.

At the time he explained that vision to BMW; “I wanted the lines I painted to be a depiction the road showing the car where to go,”The design also shows the countryside through which the car has traveled. One could call it an enumeration of everything a car experiences – only that this car reflects all of these things before actually having been on a road.”

Once again, once Lichtenstein’s car was completed Hervé Poulain used it as his vehicle of choice for the Le Mans. And this time the car finished ninth overall and first in its class, marking quite a triumph for the both Poulain and the project he began.

Andy Warhol BMW M1, 1979


Two years after Lichtenstein, fellow pop artist and general media visionary Andy Warhol was asked to create a work of art using the first of the now legendary M class cars. As a man who had created art in so many different ways, painting a car was really ‘just another day at the office.’

Warhol surprised everyone involved in the project when he showed up for his first day of ‘work’ though. Previous artists had created a scale model and the made use of assistants to actually translate their design onto the body of the car. That however was not the way Warhol wanted to work.

Andy Warhol

Suiting up in mechanics overalls, Warhol painted every inch of the car himself, working for more than 48 hours until he was satisfied with his creation, which, he said “I have tried to give a vivid depiction of speed. If a car is really fast, all contours and colours will become blurred”. And fast it was. This time when Poulain, joined this time by German Manfred Winkelhock, drove the newest BMW Art Car in the Le Mans they finished sixth overall, the best finish Poulain had achieved for several years.

If you want to see, and learn about, the rest of the BMW Art Cars, which includes works by David Hockney, Jenny Holzer and Robert Rauschenberg, you can do so at the official BMW Art Car site.

Make Up As Art – The Face as An Artist’s Canvas

In many ways the cosmetics used by make up artists are very similar to the paints and charcoals used by visual artists and, when looked at in the right context, the human complexion is just as practical for use as a canvas as a piece of paper.

But while almost all of those who adorn humans with cosmetics for a living style themselves as make up artists there are some individuals who take that title to a whole new level, using the faces they make up as the canvas for visual masterpieces as intricate and striking as any painting you might see on the walls of an art gallery. Here are just a few amazing examples:

Valeriya Kutsan

Valeriya Kutsan is a Moscow based make up artist whose ‘day job’ is lending her skill to designers and magazine editors within the world of Russian fashion. But she has her own, even moe creative projects that have brought her worldwide renown as an artist, with no ‘make-up’ attached to the beginning of the title, although her only working mediums are the cosmetics she uses on a daily basis.


One of her best known works was a project, ‘2D or not 2D’, she undertook with photographer Alexander Khokholov. In it she presented a series of models whose makeup she based on some of the great art styles, and great artworks, of the 20th century. The results, as you can see below, were spectacular and certainly worthy of inclusion in any art gallery

Alexander Khokhlov photography

Valeriya does not just limit her work to female models though, as evidenced by a more recent collaboration with Khokholov dubbed ‘Angry Beards’, inspired, as you can see, by the popular video game series.

Tal Peleg

Israeli make up artist Tal Peleg concentrates her work on the windows to the soul; the eyes. Trained as a traditional graphic designer and photographer Tal began experimenting with cosmetic art in recent years and, once she began posting her work on Instagram became an instant Internet sensation and is now an in demand and respected visual and make artist:

Tal Peleg 1

1  Tal Peleg Art of Makeup 2

Lan Nguyen- Grealis

Lan Nguyen- Grealis is an Irish born, Vietnamese descended young woman of many talents. In addition to being a respected author, blogger and beauty editor of ‘Phoenix’ magazine, she is also an in-demand make up artist known as a ‘fixture’ at various Fashion Weeks across the world.




Lan also uses cosmetics to create impressive works of art for both runway and art gallery display and has created artistic editorials for a huge number of the world’s largest fashion publications, including Marie Claire, Vogue, Women’s Wear Daily and Cosmopolitan.

I feel like getting make samples to start painting!!

The Surprising Art of Sin City – Art Galleries in Las Vegas

What do you think of when you think of a visit to Las Vegas? Casinos, sure, nightclubs, check, trips to slightly tasteless malls and endless free buffet food too no doubt. But fine art? Surely not?

However in actual fact there are a number of wonderful art galleries and art museums in Sin City that will delight both the eyes and the soul of any art lover. Here are just some of the places you should add to your agenda for a trip to Las Vegas if you want to be thrilled by great art as well as by the roulette wheels.

The Neon Museum

Neon Museum & Boneyard - Las Vegas, Nevada

The Neon Museum is perhaps the art museum that one would expect the city to house, as it is dedicated to preserving the visual splendor of the old Las Vegas strip. However this does not mean a visit here is not a wonderful experience for any art lover.

At the heart of the museum’s collection are hundreds of signs, all of which were salvaged from the old Vegas strip. Most of them are displayed in the open air ‘Neon Boneyard’, where local artists have spent a great deal of time and energy using them to create fascinating and striking tableaus.

The museum offers more than just exhibits and guided tours though. Working local artists and historians host an extensive and ongoing set of educational talks, exhibits and classes with offerings for everyone from kindergartners to senior citizens.

Big Springs Gallery

Big Spring Gallery

The 180 acre Big Springs Gallery is devoted to the work of local and regional artists, both the famous and successful and the emerging, who have been inspired by both all of the glitz and glamour of Las Vegas as well as the sprawling desert which lies just outside its borders.

The exhibits range from traditional oil and water color works to sprawling sculptures to fabulous photo exhibits and beyond. Any visitor to this wonderful set of galleries will not only enjoy experiencing all kinds of amazing art but get to view Las Vegas in a number of very different lights.

Cosmopolitan’s P3 Studio


Several of the big hotels along the ‘new’ strip house impressive galleries themselves. One of those galleries is the P3 Studio at The Cosmopolitan. Located next to one of the hotel’s largest bars it’s retail store like interior hides a surprisingly extensive collection of modern art pieces and hosts a rotating selection of live art performances and artist at work demonstrations.

Bellagio Gallery of Fine Art


The Bellagio Gallery of Fine Art, located within the hotel of the same name, has garnered the most press of all of the Las Vegas art institutions. This is because it is a magnet for travelling art exhibitions featuring some of the best known artists, and works of art, in the world. For example, the institution’s Picasso restaurant is not just named after the Spanish master but is also adorned with more than a dozen of his works, turning a standard meal into a lesson in art appreciation!

Also on permanent display are works by Pablo Picasso, Pierre-August Renoir, Joseph Cornell, Vanessa Beecroft, Alberto Giacometti, David Hockney, Yoshitomo Nara and Roy Lichtenstein, along with rotating exhibitions of works on loan from the likes of the MOMA in New York City and Boston’s Museum of Fine Art.

So You Want to Become a Tattoo Artist?


Art comes in many forms and one form that is admired (and worn) by millions, while also being very misunderstood by millions more, is tattoo art. How old is the practice of body modification with ink – i.e tattooing? Well, just a few years ago a Bronze Age mummy nicknamed Otzi the Iceman was found in Italy and his body has over 57 visible and identifiable tattoos.

In fact, to show you just how prevalent, and important, tattoo art has been throughout history take a quick look at this Ted-Ed talk given by Addison Anderson:

So as you can see, anyone with an ambition to become a tattoo artist is following in a great many storied and talented footsteps. But just what does it take, especially since the art of the tattoo is one rarely taught in conventional art colleges? Here is a little about some of the basics:

Becoming an Artist


There is a reason tattoo artists are given that title; because they are artists, in every sense of the word, they simply have a rather different canvas on which to work. Therefore a love of art and an ability to translate that love into something beautiful is at the heart of tattooing in the same way it is with any other branch of art.

From a practical standpoint the ability to sketch is a must as a client needs to be able envision what you plan do before you actually permanently mark their skin. So if you think that taking a few conventional art classes will help you improve in that area then by all means go ahead.

Auditioning for an Apprenticeship


Tattooing is a skill that is usually passed from one artist to another, and almost every successful tattoo artist began as an apprentice to a skilled master or mistress. Can a person ‘self teach’, making use of a purchased tool kit and resources like books and online videos? Possibly but there is no replacement for the experience that an apprenticeship will give you.

Because they understand the ‘give and take’ nature of the artform, and because someone needs to sweep the floor, answer the phone and clean up all the ink, most established tattoo artists are more than willing to take on apprentices. You will need to prove you are up for such an honor though.

Creating a portfolio of your sketches will help a great deal but more important is demonstrating a knowledge of the basics of tattooing and a willingness to work hard as you learn, which yes, may mean simply making coffee and sweeping up for months before you ever get a chance to tattoo fruit skin, let alone the human stuff.

A People Personality


A painter can sit in a room and craete masterpieces by themselves all of their life if they so desire, but that is hardly the case for a tattoo artist. Their work involves spending hours and hours in intimate contact with strangers, some of whom are inevitably doing to be scared and nervous, and so a tattoo artist needs to be a real ‘people person’ to succeed, as well as the kind of individual who is capable of being patient and calm. Without these traits it is fair to say that a person is not going to succeed as a tattoo artist.

A Commitment to Life Long Learning

Even a successful tattoo artists is always learning. Technology advances, inks change, fashions and style trends mean that the artwork clients request will change all the time too. As any working tattoo artists can tell you what really separates a good tattoo artists from a great one is this ability to keep learning and never ‘rest on their laurels’.

How to Stand Out on DeviantArt

Browse Art   DeviantArt

Until fairly recently showcasing your art, in whatever form it was created, was an ongoing struggle for even the most of talented artists. How many stories are there about wonderful visual artists who spent their lives living in squalor, literally starving for their art, only to have their work appreciated after their death? Thousands is the answer.

Then along came the Internet. Visual artists could create their own websites and upload photos of their art, creating their own online ‘galleries’ and even selling their creations online. But with so many of these websites out there getting noticed in this way is still an uphill struggle, especially as to rank higher in search engines one has to be adept at something called ‘search engine optimization’ or ‘SEO’ and what working artist truly has time for that?

But in 2001 a site came along that changed things up for both amateur and professional visual artists; DeviantArt. Created by a loose collective of digital artists looking for a way to really get their work noticed. As the site grew it began to allow its members to add all kinds of art, referred to as ‘deviations’ and to offer it for public use under a Creative Commons license.

DeviantArt 101

As the community has grown in leaps and bounds in the decade+ it has now been online getting artwork noticed is still something of an uphill struggle sometimes. As it is a community though there is help at hand and because the site is devoted to visual beauty the quality of your art will speak loudest. But there are some other things you can do to help make sure that you get the most you possibly can out of a DeviantArt profile. Here are some suggestions:

Make Sure Your Profile is Complete

People love to know who is behind the art they admire and DeviantArt does offer users all kinds of ways to showcase themselves as well as their work. Make sure that you take advantage of as many of these as possible, especially the journaling feature as that allows you to literally speak to your potential audience directly.

Post Often

Once a browser becomes interested in an artist’s work they will naturally want to see more. Post new work as often as possible, once a week if your schedule allows. If it does not at least make the effort to create a small journal entry, just so that anyone who is interested in your work knows that you are still active and they can expect to see something new soon.

Reply to Comments on Your Work

As is the case for any other online community users can comment on the works they like (or sometimes dislike) These comments, good or bad, are a great opportunity for you to interact with admirers. So rather than being lazy and just commenting ‘ty’ on positive messages and ignoring critical ones take the time to start a conversation, even if it is to ask a detractor why they did not like a piece.

Participate in Community Projects

DeviantArt is a community and as community projects are constantly in action. The projects are simple to understand; a theme is presented and artists are asked to create around that theme. These are often based around popular holidays and events (Valentine’s Day, Christmas, The World Cup even) and so attract a lot of views, something that you really need on DeviantArt.

Take Commissions

Many of the people who use DeviantArt as non artists have come looking for something specific, often to use for themselves. But even if they like your work in particular you may not be displaying quite what they were hoping to see. To satisfy these people, and to push yourself as an artist, offer to take commissions. Users post commission requests all the time, so get into the habit of checking the noticeboards for requests that may suit your talents.

As is the case for anything else, a satisfied ‘customer’ is very likely to tell others about their positive experience, essentially publicizing your work for you without you having to do a thing.

Go Premium

If you are serious about your art the you have to be willing to make an investment in it. A standard account on DeviantArt is always going to be free, but there are advantages to a premium membership that you should consider, especially as it only costs $29 per year.