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MINI Brings the Art Car Mainstream

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Posted On: Jun 9, 2011 By: Hildy Schott Category: MINI Cooper News

Have you ever looked at your car and thought, “this thing could use a new paint job”? What if the new paint looked like this?

MINI Art Car

Car art, though it has gained popularity since the 1960’s has remained largely under the radar as a mainstream art form, and certainly hasn’t caught on as a popular paint job. When’s the last time you saw a car like that driving down your street? Exactly.

Sure, the BMW Art Car Project has spit out a few eye-catching models, but their count only comes to 16 over the last thirty six years. Art car conventions exist but remain obscure to most who aren’t a part of the Art Car cult.

MINI, however, has brought art and personal expression to its own mainstream line of cars. The Mini Cooper has always had a distinctive look, but lately has taken the idea even further. Take, for example, the May 2011 collaboration between Kiss and MINI wherein several MINIs were painted to resemble Kiss members. Though they only made four of these cars, MINI developed vehicle wraps with the special Kiss designs on them so that any customer could personalize their vehicle’s appearance.

MINI Cooper car art

More recently, spy photos of the much anticipated 2013 MINI Cooper prototype reveal a new shape for the model, but hidden beneath an arresting paint design: white frenzied swirls washing over a black base tone. MINI often uses this design to disguise the altered contours of a new prototype, though honestly it doesn’t do a great job of this. Looks more like an Art Car to us!

Even the MINI website allows customers to creatively personalize their vehicle with the “build your own” section. True, a lot of other companies allow you to “build your own”, but MINI offers “tattoos” and “roof graphics” which certainly twist the conventional appearance.

Of course, if their designs aren’t cool enough for you, you could always hire your own Art Car artist (or “cartist”) to transform your MINI into an Art Car. Artists like Robynn Sanders and Rebecca Base have been hired for exactly this purpose. Their custom MINIs have made the rounds at various Art Car conventions, and the mastermind behind their projects, Stephanie O’Keefe of Momentum BMW-Mini-Audi-VW, hopes to eventually sell Art Car finishes designed by local cartists to Cooper car buyers.

Looking abroad, MINI Switzerland is releasing an Art Car book featuring some very artsy Coopers in celebration of Mini’s 50th Anniversary (both pre and post BMW ownership).

And if hiring your own personal cartist is too expensive, you could always design your own Windshield Art with plain old dirt. Check out what this guy was able to create on his MINI in lieu of a car wash.

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